How we…..Introduce Gardening

Each month, members of the Children & Families team will be sharing How We have introduced aspects of our community to our children. We will cover everything from the Aether to Zeus and we invite you on our journey.  We continue with How We Introduce Gardening

We don’t have a garden, but we are fortunate enough to have an allotment. My little dilophosaurus has grown up with our allotment. We had a travel pen down there when they would no longer stay put on the mat. At that age I would introduce them to aspects, allowing them to feel and explore safely. They are 5 now and as they’ve grown, they’ve helped with more. They have their own watering can to help water – I tell them which plants so they are learning those as we go too. They have their own tools and particularly love to dig and rake over the beds ready for planting. Helping fill the seed trays with soil is an easy job they’ve helped with for a while, then I dab the hole for them to put the seeds in – great fine motor and counting practise too.

They help with weeding- I show what to pull out and what needs to stay and explain about what is a weed – just a plant growing where we don’t want it.

Their favourite part though is harvesting. They get excited when they see it is finally ready to pick and half the harvest never leaves the plot- berries, peas, tomatoes, all eaten straight off the plant haha.

We also explain some of the great uses for the plants, they are learning to recognise the different plants and what you can eat, how to grow it, life cycles, wildlife and so much more.

We have an altar at the allotment, so we also do mini rituals for the festivals there and use it as a focus point for us to give thanks for the plot and the food we harvest.

Krys (They/Them)
Manager, Children & Families Team

Gardening is a big part of my family’s pagan path. It helps us connect with the land, the elements, the seasons, and the Wheel of the Year. Gardening is very much a seasonal activity so is a great way to keep you in tune with the turning of the year.

Herb gardening is a big element of our gardening, as are apples. We bless the apple tree in January and the herbs we harvest each year include lavender, clover, scented roses, and chamomile to name a few. We grow a small amount of other fruit and vegetables and as much as we can & will use the rhythm of the moon to plant.

There are four main periods to moon planting which are:

New moon to first quarter which is good for leafy crops such as lettuce and peas

First quarter to full moon which is the time for fruit crops including tomatoes

Full moon to last quarter is all about root crops such as potatoes and carrots

Last quarter back to new moon is not a planting period at all and other jobs should be concentrated on such as weeding or tidying.

This is a general rule and there are more in-depth aspects to moon gardening which include using the star signs and if you’d like to go deeper there are free moon calendars easily found online.

Mid-West & Wales Liaison, Children & Families Team

Gardening is a big deal for me, and I try and impart that passion to my kids – with varying success! They absolutely love the very real magic of planting a weird lump in some soil and watching it slowly grow into a plant, particularly if they get to eat it or part of it later on.

We’ve also had some failures – like the stubborn orange pips that just wouldn’t germinate. So, gardening is a lesson is perseverance and determination, as well as a masterclass in how to get over let downs! I also use the garden as a way to show that there’s a place for everything: weeds aren’t just weeds, they’re often food for bees and butterflies and even the less loved creatures like wasps and aphids that all have their place in the ecosystem.

As a result, I have kids that move snails off walkways and rescue worms – something I’m pretty proud and happy about! Our garden is also a place to gather and enjoy the outdoors in a safe environment. We have a lovely little firepit, and sometimes sit out and roast marshmallows, tell stories, and look at the stars. So many magical family moments!

Secretary, Children & Families Team