I’ve nearly finished the garden prep now with just two more beds to dig manure into and the large greenhouse to wash. My energy levels are still not brilliant and so when Little Mudlet offered to help me over the Easter weekend, I accepted gratefully and we made our way into the veg patch. Obviously the digging in of manure was not a suitable task for my 9-year-old and so I asked her to weed the other beds I intended to dig in that day, a job she carried out both enthusiastically and willingly.
With the beds weeded and the manure dug in, the next task was to tidy up the strawberry plants, removing dead leaves, spent plants and filling in gaps with the harvested runners which were currently sitting in a plastic propagator lid and desperately needed potting up. There was about 30 or so plant pots holding 2 to 4 plants each, depending on size, dotted about the veg patch and each one had weeds and/or dead foliage which needed removing.
Little Mudlet listened carefully to my instructions and I surreptitiously watched her work on a couple of pots which she cleared without difficulty. Together we worked our way through all the pots, with Little Mudlet handing me those which she judged had room for another plant and I was impressed with the way she worked her way through each pot, removing the detritus, assessing the space available and deciding what to do with each: back in line with the others, or over to me for planting up.
By the time we had finished the last pot, the temperature was dropping, grey clouds were forming and I was feeling the strain, so we packed up our tools and went inside, leaving the strawberries in the large half barrels for another day. I consider myself very lucky that the girls want to help in the garden and I hope that this is a characteristic that, for the most part, they retain throughout their teenage years.
This weekend I hope to finally get the last of the manure down, the half barrels sorted out and parsnip and carrot seed in the ground. I also need to sort the big greenhouse out as the little one is filling up really quickly now, especially as all but a couple of the Mudlets’ seeds germinated and have now been potted on and moved into the little greenhouse.