Easy grow your own vegetables for children through the seasons
Have you noticed my carrot photos on Instagram recently? I’m so amazed! I grew carrots from seeds and they are giants! I have a couple of vegetable trugs in our garden and some pots in which we have been growing various fruit and veggies for three years now, ever since we’ve had our garden. I don’t find a lot of time to get out in the garden to tend to my crops as I’m a busy mum who tries to work full time around household chores and mum duties, so the easier the veg to grow, the better. I tend to pop the seeds in the soil and hope for the best! Ben is in the garden much more than me so he remembers to water them. Though the UK rainy weather often does a good job of this for us!
I hope as the children grow older I will find more time to grow a lot more and I’ll encourage them to help me. Reuben is only two, so a little young, but he can still help with digging around and dropping seeds in (if I can prevent him from putting them in his mouth first!) Bella is five and loves to help out with anything we are doing, particularly gardening. Children find gardening fascinating and love to watch things grow, especially if they’ve planted it themselves. I’m certain it encourages a love for the outdoors, wildlife and eating a healthier diet. There are plenty of vegetables and fruit that are very easy for children to grow and look after. By easy I mean popping the seed or plant in compost, watering daily and just letting nature do its work; easy for us adults and very easy for children to enjoy the pleasures of growing their own food.
Here are some super easy vegetables to plant throughout the different seasons:
Carrots from seed – teeny little seeds that can be left to their own devices. Cover with some thin mesh netting until the green tops are fairly long to prevent carrot fly. I sow my seeds quite early in spring after the last frost.
Potatoes from seed – plant your potato seeds half way down in potato sacks late February to March, once the green shoots start to poke through add more compost to cover them and keep doing this to the top of the sack. You’ll get a load of greenery up top with flowers, once this starts to wilt it’s time to empty the sack to find all your potatoes!
French beans from seed – these produce a great crop and it seems the more you pick, the more beans you get! They just keep popping out of nowhere! I sow these once it’s quite warm in late May/early June as they really don’t like cold weather. They wrap themselves around the nearest thing and climb, so create a bamboo wigwam for them to grab onto and climb high.
Courgette plant – I cheated with courgettes this year as the seeds I sowed in spring didn’t materialise, so the neighbour gave us a courgette plant ready to plant out in June. The more you pick, the more you get. I read once a courgette plant can give up to 30 courgettes! Yum! Just make sure they have a sunny spot.
Leeks from seed in summer / plant in autumn – the first year I grew leeks they didn’t work so well, but last year they were brilliant! They are slow growers, so if you plant late in the summer they will grow quite slowly and survive the cold temperatures of autumn and winter. Or pop the plants out early autumn. We had lots of delicious leeks last year right through to the winter months. They just seem to last in the soil forever and aren’t bothered by the cold.
Summer Garden? Why Not Have One That Lasts All Year?
As soon as the summer rears its pretty head, homeowners panic about their garden. Among the most common fright-filled questions is the phrase: ‘is it summer ready?’ Sure, it’s great to have a place to go and relax when the weather's warm. It’s also nice to let the kids play without having to worry. The issue is the theory that a garden is only good for the summertime. The reality is that one can be beautiful and practical all year round if you know the tricks of the trade. For those that are interested, you can find them underneath.
Most people think of evergreen plants like ferns and associate them with Christmas. And, yes, they aren’t the type of greenery that you want to fill your garden with, but they are not the only plants that will survive the autumn and winter. Flowers are sturdier than you think. The Ceanothus flower, for example, is a vivid blue colour that blooms from one spring to the next, while the Viburnum Tinus has a soft, subtle white hue. As long as you give them the attention they deserve, the colours will stay constant from one season to the next.
Don’t Fill With Clutter
Probably the main garden feature, once the summer goes, is the mess. Because people don’t use it during the colder months, it is a perfect place to store bulky items. However, you have to resist the urge if you want to maintain a year round garden. What sets summer grounds apart is the fact that they are fit for purpose. Yours, however, won’t fit the bill if there are garden tools and an old refrigerator taking up space. If you have rubbish, throw it in the bin or dispose of it properly, but don’t leave it in the garden.
Invest In Decking
Maintaining plants and flowers all year long is a hard task because they need a lot of attention. So, the trick is to invest in materials that can take the brunt of the punishment without any help. Decking, anyone? Quite simply, decking is incredibly sturdy and doesn’t buckle under pressure from the weather. In fact, the rain will make it shine better than before. What’s great about it is that you can use it regardless of the season. As long as there protection from the elements, there is nothing wrong with sitting in the garden in November.
And Invest Your Time
Whatever you try, the garden won’t look after itself. It isn’t an independent person – it’s a garden. As a result, you will need to roll up your sleeves and get to work. The weather might be bad and it won’t seem like a good idea, but it’s the only way to maintain the area. Anyway, it only takes fifteen to twenty minutes every week to keep it in tip-top shape. Plus, just imagine the feeling when summer comes around and you don’t have to start from scratch.
Welcome to my second installment of my monthly #blogtipslinky - a place to share all your blogging related blog posts, guides and advice. You can link up as many relevant posts as you like!
These tips can be anything that are helpful to a blogger. So not necessarily just blogging tips, but anything that can help a blog such as photography advice, small business guides, how to stay motivated when working from home. Basically any tips that relate to blogging as a hobby or business.
Thanks to those who linked up last month! Hopefully it will take off, but we'll see. I'm going to share all three as they're super helpful blog posts:
A Kid Free Weekend: Hot tub glamping and zip wire fun at Chepstow Quarry
It’s been two months since our last kid free weekend and night away camping in The Vale of Glamorgan. Although time is going so quickly, our last kid free weekend and camping trip seems a lifetime ago! We were definitely ready for another kid free night to ourselves and a more luxurious camping trip as it was Ben’s birthday.
Ben has often watched people doing zip lines on the internet, so I looked into somewhere not too far where we could do one ourselves. Chepstow Quarry popped up on Groupon with a half price deal so I booked it. Amazingly they also have camping pods which they call ‘wooden wigwams’ ranging from a standard selection with a shared toilet block to a deluxe and VIP package which includes an ensuite, bedding and a private hot tub on the cliff edge overlooking the quarry. It sounded perfect and as it was a birthday treat I booked the VIP package.
The Cross Inn, Aylburton
On the way through the Forest of Dean we decided to stop for lunch at The Cross Inn, Aylburton. This wasn’t planned, but it had gone midday and we usually eat with the children by 12pm, so our tummies were rumbling! We used trusty Trip Advisor to find the nearest pub and this came up. I’m glad it did as I had one of the tastiest roast dinners I’ve ever enjoyed! I had a nut roast which was homemade with roast potatoes, mash, veg and onion gravy. It had the tastiest parsnip I’ve ever tried! I picked this as it hopefully had no refined sugar. Ben went for the lamb and he was equally as impressed. I’ve even left them a Trip Advisor review, only my second review there ever, as we thought the food was so good.
Beautiful Chepstow Quarry
It’s strange how something manmade that has really destroyed the natural land that was there, can actually be so beautiful. We were amazed as soon as we saw the quarry. We parked and climbed up some steps to see the view and were instantly exclaiming lots of ‘wows’! The thing that struck us most was the colour of the water. A luscious teal colour which almost didn’t look real for water in the UK! Normally we are used to seeing murky brown water in rivers! I’m not sure if it’s the limestone causing the beautiful colour, but it’s really amazing to see. The view of the water deep within the rugged rocks is something else. With wild flowers all around the tops of the carved out rocks, it really is very picturesque.
The Zip Line at the NDAC
Our zip line was in the afternoon and after a temperamental day of cloud, dry weather and the odd light rain, it decided to absolutely hammer it down as we queued for our turn! Typical! We realised we have always been unlucky with our kid free weekends and remembered it has rained on almost every single one, as well as our family holiday to Cornwall last year! The Wire, as it’s called, starts at 70m high and runs 700m across the length of the quarry reaching up to 40mph. It was pretty exhilarating jumping off above the quarry and I loved whizzing down. I tried to not go so fast as I wanted to take in the views, but the rain kind of pelted me in the face forcing me to look down! Ben tried his best to whizz down as fast as possible! He wanted to feel the speed! I’d love to go back and redo The Wire on a dry day to experience the difference.
Offa’s Dyke and Devil’s Pulpit
We had over one hour until we could check in to our wigwam, so looked up walks nearby and discovered the Offa’s Dyke path which led to the Devil’s Pulpit – an area where the limestone juts out and there’s an incredible view of Tintern Abbey below. It rained the whole walk, until we got back to the car!
Glamping in a Wooden Wigwam
Once back we picked up our key for the wigwam. It’s more a pod, but they call them wigwams for some reason. We parked the car near the wigwams as you get one parking space nearby. We walked up the wooden steps and along a wooden path amongst the trees to number 10. There are 12 deluxe and VIP wigwams in a row along the cliff on one side of the quarry.
For glamping, we were very impressed! The only other glamping trip we’ve experienced was this yurt in Wales, which was also amazing, but a very different experience. I much preferred having our own ensuite and the luxury of a hot tub on our own private balcony!
I also had an amazing night’s sleep. The bed was surprisingly comfortable. Perhaps it was the few hours spent in the hot tub totally relaxing beforehand, but I slept like a baby. That’s actually a really weird saying as most babies I know wake up constantly through the night! But I slept really, really well.
The wigwam was clean and had everything we needed for one night’s stay. We even had a robe and slippers for our hot tub spa experience! There were a couple of minor things wrong that I noticed. The shower gel had not been topped up so this was empty and the TV did not work. We thought it might be fun to find a film to watch whilst in the hot tub as the TV twisted round so you could see it, but the internet connection did not work. These are only small complaints and as we were only staying one night they did not matter. If we were staying longer we would have said something so they could rectify them.
The hot tub was amazing. They have set up the wigwams so one balcony wall is fenced off so you can’t see the other balconies and get a lot more privacy. I’ve never enjoyed my own private hot tub before, so it was great to have some quality time with Ben and not be surrounded by several people like we usually are in a spa!
Cooked Breakfast at The View
In the morning we had a cooked breakfast at The View café overlooking the quarry. Check out was by 10.30am and we also grabbed our complimentary bottle of prosecco! Not to drink with breakfast, but because it was included in the VIP package and we hadn’t picked it up the night before. I don’t drink so this was a great gift to give to my Mum. If you do drink then you can grab it the night you stay and enjoy it in the wigwam or whilst hottubbing!
Krazy Golf in Lydney
As it was Ben’s birthday he wanted to go and play crazy golf! He had found Krazy Golf in Lydney so we headed there next. There are 15 themed holes and it was only £4.50 each. You can play as many times as you like and even leave and return throughout the day if you wish. We just had the one game as we were meeting Ben’s brother for lunch. It’s always fun to do an activity and release a bit of the kid in us, as well as our competitive streaks! Ben thrashed me by about 20 points. I tried to reclaim victory by playing giant checkers which was at the end of the course, but to no avail! I also tried to beat him at giant connect four, but he won again. I’ll beat him one day!
A Café Lunch in Coleford
Ben’s brother lives in the Forest of Dean so we met him for lunch at Kaplan’s Café, somewhere we’ve been a few times before. It’s always busy which is a good sign and they do huge well-cooked breakfasts which Ben loves! They’re also very accommodating as we always want to customize our menu choices.
The Aztec Village (aka Titanic Steelworks)
Ben’s brother recommended a walk in the forest afterwards to find the ‘Aztec Village’. He stumbled across it when out cycling one day and thought he’d discovered some ancient ruins! Turns out it’s actually remains of Titanic Steelworks.
Until Next Time
That just about rounds up our kid free weekend. We did also pop to some recycled furniture shops and picked up three mirrors to upcycle for our home, but that’s about it! I think we did manage to do quite a bit in two days. I expect our next kid free adventure will be after the summer holidays and once everyone is settled back into school routines. So until then.
Make money in your free time with RedWigWam (perfect for busy mums)
As a busy mum to two young children I’m always trying to find new flexible ways of working that fits around childcare, school runs and household chores. I blog full time, use mystery shopping apps and dabble in a little matched betting to make money on the side, but I’ve always wondered if there is something else I was missing. I think I’ve found the solution - an online recruitment agency called RedWigWam.
RedWigWam are different to other recruitment agencies. They take the hassle out of applying for temporary work, with no long application forms and simplify the whole process from start to finish. They have an app so you can receive job alerts on the go and if you ever have any questions just use their live chat to talk to a real person. RedWigWam always pays at least the minimum wage and you’ll even receive holiday pay!
Truly flexible working
RedWigWam offers part time truly flexible working solutions which are perfect for us busy parents, but also retirees, students and anyone else keen to make cash in their free time. From mystery shopping checks, to an hours work here and there, to part time roles, you really can fit work around your lifestyle.
They take the hassle out of applying for jobs by sending you emails, texts or app notifications (you choose) for jobs that match your criteria. Only suitable jobs will be sent so your time is never wasted. Jobs are allocated on a first come first served basis and there is no obligation to accept any work. Choose only the work you want to do.
The best part is there’s no long wait to get paid – you’ll be paid in one week. Not only that, but RedWigWam pay via PAYE meaning all your tax and national insurance contributions are taken care of. That’s one less thing for you to worry about.
There are a huge variety of jobs, so you’ll never be bored again. Complete a mystery task undercover as a secret shopper, do a spot of cleaning in the morning, hand out coupons in your local supermarket or complete admin tasks for a nearby small business. Meet new people, share your skills, keep your CV up to date and make some money in the process.