Miss MBaF announced this morning she wanted to go to the allotment.
With the UK in the midst of storms bringing high winds and heavy rain, this isn’t the ideal day for messing about on the earth. But I’m keen to instil in her a love of gardening, not least so she’ll be willing to join me on the plot when there are lots of jobs to be done later in the year.
So I thought of an easy job she could help me with: mulching the dahlias with bark chips.
NB. I planned to do this weeks ago, hey ho, it’s not been very cold yet so hopefully they’ve survived up til now.
We got suited and booted, filled a bucket with the mulch, she hopped on her trike and we set off merrily. She/we got the job done (see pic above) and I showed her the raspberries I planted yesterday, explaining that she could help me pick/eat them in the summer. As we toddled off the plot, she said “We’ve had great fun at the ‘llotment!”. Mission accomplished.
Other toddler-friendly jobs we’ve found in the allotment and garden:
– harvesting potatoes. Miss MBaF loved finding spuds in the earth as I lifted the plants.
– picking strawberries. Who wouldn’t?!
– filling pots with compost. She spent ages happily trowelling potting compost into plastic pots. I would keep her occupied with that in the back garden while I did my own jobs.
– sowing seeds. Choose large ones that are easier for little fingers to handle, like sweet peas, beans, radishes, sweetcorn etc.
– transplanting seedlings. Miss MBaF is a particularly careful child, so she did a surprisingly good job gently lowering seedlings into planting holes for me. Make sure you’ve got plenty of extras if your toddler is boisterous.
– planting bulbs. I made the holes and she dropped them in, proudly instructing “pointy bit up, tickly bit down” as she worked. Now the daffs are poking through, it’s nice for her to start seeing the results of her work.
– going to the garden centre. Not a ‘job’ as such, but larger/more commercial garden centres generally have animal-shaped garden ornaments – and a cafe – to keep little ones happy in between waiting for you to browse the seed packets. One near us even has a playground and small petting zoo!
NB. there are some health risks to be aware of with handling compost, so make sure your toddler wears gloves, do it in the fresh air, and wash their hands afterwards. The RHS has all the info and great advice.