Up until maybe three or four years ago, you couldn’t get me out working in the garden for love nor money. Too cold, too dirty, too many bugs- absolutely none of it appealed to me! It seems bizarre now to look back on my past self, and think of what I was missing out on.
I’m not sure exactly what the turning point was or why I changed my mind about the whole idea of gardening, but last spring, when Ottie was around six months old, I decided to try my hand at growing some vegetables in our little garden.
Two growing seasons, one move to a house complete with so much land I didn’t even know where to start with cultivating it, four beds (then four more…), more bags of compost than you could count, and thousands upon thousands of seeds, and it’s safe to say I’m addicted!
And it’s absolutely changed my life for the better, in every way.
Over the past two years I’ve taught myself, through knowledge gleaned from books, YouTube, and the incredible Instagram ‘allotmenteer’ community, how to grow enough vegetables to keep us from having had to buy any since around May of this year. The novelty of being able to wander down to the vegetable patch to pick some fresh beans or courgettes or cabbage for dinner still hasn’t become old, and we’re eating a greater variety of veg than ever before. In fact, there were times this summer when we couldn’t eat the produce growing in our garden fast enough and everyone who came to our house was sent away with a bag or basket full of veggies!
Possibly my favourite thing though about gardening and growing our own vegetables has been what it’s given Ottilie.
This summer as she’s grown, she’s learnt how to identify vegetables by looking at the shapes of their leaves and how they grow. She’s eaten her way through an entire season’s worth of raw peas picked straight from the plants, and almost every single plum tomato that our little greenhouse had to offer. She has unfailing faith in my ability to conjure up a fresh cucumber for her at a moment’s notice, and wants to stroke and hold every single worm, caterpillar, and frog we come across amongst the soil and plants.
To know that she truly understands where her food comes from, and that she’ll grow up with a connection to the natural world around her, makes me so very happy.
And if gardening with a toddler in tow has taught me one thing this year, it’s about the importance of speed and efficiency.
Ottilie loves being out in the garden with me and taking part in any jobs I happen to be doing, but as with any young child, her attention span is short! So I’ve learnt that in order for us both to have fun and also for me to get as much done as possible in a short amount of time, we need to work fast and efficiently when we garden together. And that means having the right tools for the job!
I’m so proud to be partnering with Fiskar’s for this post, a company who make quite possibly the sleekest tools for gardening I’ve ever had the pleasure of using! I naively had always thought that a spade was a spade and a fork was a fork, but I was so wrong!
The trowel that Ottilie’s using was so lightweight and easy to manipulate, and made planting out our rows of garlic such an easy job! I’d also used the cultivator tool to prepare the bed just before planting- loosening up the top layer of soil and working in the manure I’d spread on it a couple of months previously, and scraping out the many, many weeds too!
I’ve never owned or used a tool like that before, and it was honestly amazing and made such light work of a job I’d been putting off for ages!
The fork in these photos too is a dream to use- it’s part of Fiskar’s ‘Light’ range, and my goodness I wish I’d had it to use all this year instead of the super heavy one I inherited from my Grandma! It would’ve made easy work of all the prep work that went into creating and filling the raised beds back in January!
Also on my list of jobs was picking the last of the borlotti beans to have dried on the wigwam, and cut down the plants that have finished cropping for the year.
I can’t tell you how wonderful it was being down in the veg patch again with my hands (and trowel and fork!) in the soil, after being too heavily pregnant for the last 6 weeks or so to manage anything much beyond picking a few veggies here and there! I’d missed the gratification of preparing ground, sowing and planting, weeding and harvesting. It’s a wonderful, refreshing break from the all-consuming nature of keeping two small children fed, happy, and entertained (though granted Arlo needs nothing on that front just yet!)- a little bit of ‘me’ time I’m always grateful to have taken.
I’m so thankful to Fiskar’s for giving me pause for thought about how much gardening has brought to my life, and for the tools too! I’m ready to tackle that rather weedy, overgrown vegetable patch now and tame it ready for next year…
~ This post was sponsored by Fiskar’s. Thank you for supporting the sponsored content that makes Cider with Rosie possible. ~