Thursday, May 20, 2010

KinderGARDENS week 6 - New plan

When I first revealed our plans to create a kids' garden with a bean teepee and three sisters corner plots, the idea was to place it in the front field.

But since that post, the teepee has stood alone and naked.

I reasoned that it was too early to plant any seeds yet and besides, I've been too busy working in the garden to devote much time to this project. But once the garden was in, THEN I'd have time.

And if you believe that, I have a nice piece of swampland to sell you.

Then just the other day, when I was standing in the vegetable garden trying to figure out how to trellis this year's bean crop and where to put the pumpkin patch, I was hit by a flash of sheer brilliance -- move the kids' teepee INTO the garden.

I'm sure you're all impressed with my remarkable cranial acuity. I certainly was.

But here's the deal: I've been taking this year's food garden too seriously again. I've turned growing food into a political war against cheap tasteless imports and harmful pesticides, which it is, sort of. But that doesn't mean the vegetable garden needs to become a battleground with my kids drafted as soldiers.

Jack and Ella are naturally enamoured by the wonders of the garden... I've seen it time and time again. But only when I'm not nagging at them to weed or stay on the path or pay attention or simply take this whole thing a bit more seriously. Only when I'm giving them space to just be in the garden.

So instead of having yet another uber-ambitious project, this time to reclaim an overgrown hayfield, I've turned one of the larger plots of already prepared garden over the to kids and placed the teepee in the centre. We'll still grow the three sisters garden with corn, beans and pumpkins and of course, sunflowers.

Who knows what else we'll put in there. I'll leave it to the kids to chose this weekend.
Whatever they decide, it will be a part of the garden, not separate from it. And every time I visit this place and see the sunflowers and beans and morning glories, and everything else growing at the hands of my little ones, I'll be reminded that functional can still be fun... and to stop taking everything so bloody seriously all the time.


Erin said...

Good for you! I love it when you say "part of the garden, not separate" - it's the way it should be, even if it's a struggle to look the other way when part of your garden is tended by the less than professional little people - I should know, LOL!

laura said...

Love your confessions of turning your garden into political/social/environmental issues. I have the same problem. With everything. Which detergent I use, dryer vs. clothes line, wood stove vs. electric, local vs. regional produce, heirloom seeds vs. Monsanto-is-the devil.... It just goes on and on. Thank you for sharing your mental acuity with us, and love the garden pics! Your layout gives me ideas for my pathetic backyard space. I may have 5 acres, but less than 1/4 of an acre is clear due to deed restrictions. There, I think I have covered every point of admiration today.

Fiona said...

Erin -- thanks! And just so you know, the way you include your kids in the garden and make it FUN is such an inspiration to me :)

Laura -- I too have the same problem, with everything! I can turn baking cookies into a political action!! And thanks for the kind words re the garden -- it's come a long way... and there's still a long way to go!

inadvertent farmer said...

AMEN! Yes, yes...I tend to try to make my garden the same battlefield against the evils of chemical laden imported food too!

You have completely summed up the reason for our kinderGARDEN series...great post!

I put this post in the link party...Kim

Mama Pea said...

Another good part of all this is that you will all be working in the garden TOGETHER, in the same spot! I would think that the kiddlies would be more apt to putter in their garden space right along with mom puttering in hers. Great idea! It'll probably make them feel more like theirs is a REAL garden, too, because it's part of the real garden. (Hmmm, there must have been a better way to say that . . . )

Fiona said...

Kim -- thanks! And thanks for linking this post!
Signed, the technolically-challenged one.

Mama Pea -- you're so right! They are quite happy working alongside me... usually! I had good intentions, setting up the teepee in the field and giving them their "own" garden space, but moving INTO the garden was as much for me as it was for them. I tend to be a bit too controlling, too rigid sometimes -- this goes here, that goes there... and it's not a trait I particularly value. Gardening has taught me that weird and wacky things happen all the time in Nature and it's best to just go with it. Having the kids do their own thing in the real garden may not be "perfect" according to my now-thrown-out-the-window garden plan, but it'll be perfect in their eyes, and in the eyes of a proud mama.

Cathryn said...

Good thinking, keep it managable and then it will actually happen. Also, you and the kids will be in the same place gardening and undoubtedly more work will get done!!

Great photos!

Dawn @ 5 Kids and a Dog said...

What a fantastic teepee! It is just begging for pole beans! :) I don't have the same perspective as you on the gardening, since I'm allergic to everything outdoors and I'm a wimp when it comes to any hot weather... I NEED someone to keep ME going out there! But I want to be out there, and I want my kids to learn to enjoy gardening too. Your garden looks great so far!

Fiona said...

Cathryn -- I think you're right! I tend to over-complicated projects (and have WAY to long a 'to do' list) but I figure we spend so much time in the vegetable garden already, now we'll be working on common projects together!

Dawn -- thanks! You don't sound like a wimp to me -- you just sound like someone with great intentions for her kids who has some challenges making that happen. Personally, I think your garden looks great! Love those strawberries and your rhubarb, yum!

Jules said...

Fiona, Love your to read! I, too, have a big kiddie tipi smack dab in the middle of my kitchen garden outside my front door (the big productive preserving garden is across our creek and field and I am a wee bit more uptight about what is picked out there!) The children grow whatever they want in it and so far, they are SOOO into gardening with me. This year we are growing it with sweet peas for a perfumey hide-out! We also plant Teddy Bear sunflowers, Goblin's eggs gourds, and flowers called pumpkin-on-a-stick. Fun! What else do you grow?

Xan said...

I've got a trellis gate shaped like a teepee. Grew beans up it last year, and kids that visited my garden loved it. Will yours be "skin" covered, or will you plant something up it?

Fiona said...

Jules -- thanks! Oh, I'd love to hear about your preserving garden!! Ella and I just planted some sweet peas yesterday and we'll be putting the rest of the garden in this weekend. I love the names of the varieties in the kids' garden -- so fun!

Xan -- thanks for visiting! My daughter wants to grow beans and my son has chosen morning glories, so it will be a glorious green and flowery teepee!

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