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Baby in Garden

Gardening and All About Me!

Lindsey stuck in tree trunkHello, this page is all about me, Lindsey, and the creator of the gardening Kiddie Gardens website. Let me introduce myself:

I am a single mum of four, now all teenagers (!), work full time in a secretarial position and hence love being outside and getting my hands dirty when away from the office or spending time working on my various wbsites, but that is another story!

While growing up in a small country village, we had a large garden which needed quite a lot of maintenance, so mowing lawns, trimming hedges, raking leaves, composting and generally learning all about fruit trees was just a normal part of life. In the autumn I would often pick a couple of apples off the trees in the garden on the way to the school bus, and a lot of our meals would include produce from the fruit trees, eg apple pies and crumble, peach and apricot jams, cherries galore, and mint and other herbs were right outside the back door.

But my real love of growing vegetables can only be attributed to my grandfather. Poppa loved his veggie patch and greenhouse, and I used to wonder at the neat rows of vegetables and salads of all forms and descriptions. Entering the greenhouse was the most magical experience with the almost overpowering aroma of tomatoes and seedlings of all sizes lined up neatly in their trays on different levels. At dinner time Granny would ask me to pop out and ask Poppa for some carrots or onions or spring greens for her to cook and within half an hour of being in the ground, these wonderful fresh vegetables would be steaming on our plates and taste delicious.

Even at a young age, probably about 7, I wanted my own veggie patch at home, so my holding a young Kune Kune pigletdad kindly converted the sandpit into my very own vegetable bed. I planted radishes and strawberries, only to find that the slugs had eaten the lot of them as soon as they started coming up Check out the page on Slug Control if you do not want the same experience!. That was probably my first incling that growing veg and salads was not quite as easy as my grandfather made it look! But I had more local teachers. Every day I would wander down to the local farm and help out with herding the cows in from the fields and milking them, feeding the pigs and mixing up fodder for the young calves. The farmer's wife also kept two large vegetable patches to provide fresh food for their own table, and she showed me how to tend the young vegetables to help them grow, which plants and herbs to grow together to keep the nasty predators away and which flowers and herbs to grow which would attract bug eating gardeners' friends! I also spent many Saturday mornings earning a few extra pennies by helping out in the local nursery, which also bred rabbits! I also earned a few more pennies during the harvesting season, helping out n the farms bringing in the hay, cherries, plums and damsons and sorting out the good from the bad apples. I still love pigs, btw, and one dream is that some day I will be able to buy a smallholding and breed some rare breed pigs.

Over the years as I got married and had my own children, we moved house frequently - too frequently really. The con was having to start each garden from scratch again to ensure it was kiddie friendly, but the pro was having a blank canvas to start creating the 'perfect' outside area for whatever age the children were at that time. When the children were younger, the main aim of the garden was to provide a safe environment for them to play, so plenty of grass lawn, some terrace with shade for cycling and putting the paddling pool and some makeshift play equipment. With 4 children in 5 years we were not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination, so play houses were made of old pallets nailed together, windows sawn out in strategic places and a bit of old tarpauline acting as a door. But the kids loved it! Although I kept a few herbs in pots, the garden was more geared toward providing safe, entertaining and educational outdoor space for the little ones.

Charlotte and David enjoy a treetop activityAs they grew (and we moved another few times) we added various equipment, some purchased, some home made, for their entertainment. We built tree houses, dug sandpits and then later converted them into ponds, put up swings and hung old tyres from trees, and created make-shift agility courses for both the children and the dogs. Slowly I was also able to devote part of the plot to veggies and started gardening with the children, by fencing off securely the play area from the veg area.

We have now lived in the same house for the last 8 years and we are in the very fortunate position of having a garden on 3 tiers. The lower tier is devoted entirely to play, with football nets, trampoline, swings and a basket ball net. The middle tier is my prized vegetable patch, which my youngest especially helps me to maintain, and the top tier is simply for relaxation, sitting down with a cup of tea and a good book or just soaking up the sunshine and view. Admittedly, the greenhouse is also on the top level - I wanted to keep it as a far away from flying footballs as possible!

During this - eventually - little more restful time, we have also spent a fair amount of time exploring different areas and all my children love pursueing outdoor activities - from hiking and generally exploring areas, to tree-top agility courses and kayaking down rivers. Actually, that is not quite accurate. My eldest son can only be convinced to venture outdoors to either play football or with a book!

Lindsey reading and drinking teaAnd just incase you are wondering, yes, I have also done a lot of research on gardening generally, especially vegetable growing and also completed several courses on how to grow and maintain edibles, as I appreciate that no matter how invaluable personal experience in a given area is, being able to back that up and gain further understanding by study is also a must.

I hope you do enjoy this site and that together we can encourage another generation of young humans to grow and eat their own foods, and feel that connection with nature that we have all been born to find. Bit by bit I am trying to make Kiddie Gardens more interactive, so that it is easier for you to share your experiences, both good and bad, with everyone else - so keep an eye out for those opportunities when you can add a comment or even a picture!

Look forward to hearing from you,


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