7 May 2009
EDUCATING MY NEPHEW
I spent three hours on the plot this morning with my soon-to-be eleven year old nephew. We did some of the important jobs of the day. When he arrived at 8am, in need of supervision because his mum had an appointment out of town, I immediately sent him up town with written instructions to fetch a loaf of bread. It was lightly mizzling when he returned but, undampened in spirit, we stayed outside and I showed him how to harvest individual lettuce leaves from around the outside of the plants. They, and a bolting over-wintered Electric onion, constituted breakfast for me. My nephew had a honey-filled bagel his ma had popped in a bag for supplies.
Then into the elements again. It had cleared into an overcast but warm morn, the sort where time seems to stand still and the natural sounds of life being lives are enhanced by the peaceful calm. I instructed how to lift self seeded nasturtiums then let Sam do it. He carried over a tray-load and I popped them in amongst the Brussels sprouts. The two plants make excellent mutually beneficial companions.
The lad did well. Once he took on board the instruction not to run, employ more haste less speed and do a job thoroughly we had a wail of a time. His family has an allotment next to mine so we ventured down there once finished in the garden.
By the end of our session he’d learnt how to properly hoe between broad beans and lettuces, earth up Jerusalem artichokes and use shears to cut long grass in a wildlife friendly way that avoids danger to frogs. He assisted with the sowing of beetroot; marking out a row, making and flooding a drill, handling individual seeds, pressing them in, covering over and labelling! All good stuff and vital lessons in life to learn.
You might argue that the lad should have been at school. Well, he wasn’t and that’s that. But this was a proper education for a budding young gardener.
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