Start of the planting: the Kitchen Garden

planting the broad beansI’m sure it’s not just me who finds it difficult to go out and garden at the moment. As I write, the sky is grey and there is a hail storm. It’s been like that, on and off, most of the morning. Not motivating. Not one bit.

Earlier this week we did get out and start work on the kitchen garden. Each year, I sit down with the children, and we write down the food we would like to grow. It’s my way to motivate them (and myself) for the new growing season. They are more likely to eat the things they choose to grow.

kitchen garden book and beans

This year, I brought the The Allotment Kitchen: Favourite Recipes and Ideas book to the table. They flicked through and found recipes that they would like to try. Squeeeew! Our list soon grew.

This book is great. Instantly the illustrations grab your interest. One veg, fruit or herb is featured in each chapter. All of them suitable for our UK kitchen gardens and allotments.

This book is not aimed particularly at children, but mine enjoyed it. It is a recipe book and not a gardening book, but I’ve found that so many gardening books are aimed at younger children, that tweens and teens, like mine, can feel left out. Just at the very time that other distractions might be more tempting than gardening.

They already know about planting in yoghurt pots/egg shells and writing their names on marrows. To keep them motivated, I need a fresh angle, which these recipes seem to have managed. If they like cooking and gardening, then this recipe book is perfect to inspire them, as well as us older gardeners, of course.

The allotment kitchen book

At the beginning of each chapter and recipe, there’s a brief intro with interesting facts and anecdotes that really bring the book to life. I can already imagine the trug of harvested carrots and beans being brought into my kitchen, the fragrance of the basil plant being brushed against and dirty wellies at the door way. Followed by the satisfaction of seeing cleaned plates on the table after the meal.

Bring on the growing season.

planting broad beans and Totoro danceSo this week we planted our broad beans. It’s a start.

To encourage the little beans’ growth, the children performed a Totoro dance. If you’ve not seen the animation My Neighbour Totoro [DVD] (where have you been?), this involves a sequence of walking, jumping and bending down, while circling the planted area. In the film it makes the acorns sprout into seedlings. I hope it has the same effect on broad beans.

green caterpillarMotivation to garden can come from so many places. Now there is more daylight after school, the children are keen to make this a regular activity again.

Let’s hope the hail and rain holds off.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Disclaimer: I was sent the Allotment Kitchen book free of charge in return for a review. Thank you, Susan. All opinions and words are my own. The book can be purchased from the independent book store Topping (Bath, Ely and St Andrews) and also Amazon.

36 thoughts on “Start of the planting: the Kitchen Garden

  • Thursday 3 March, 2016 at 9:29 am

    That looks and sounds like a great book! I always have lots of enthusiasm for my garden at this time of year, I need to find a way to ensures it continues right through the growing season!

    • Thursday 3 March, 2016 at 8:32 pm

      I’m fine once I get started. I think its the vision of food from the garden that keeps me going.

  • Friday 4 March, 2016 at 12:38 pm

    Love the look of that book. Someday I’ll have a proper vegetable patch.

    • Friday 4 March, 2016 at 2:04 pm

      Mine has shrunk, but I’m determined to make the most of it.

  • Friday 4 March, 2016 at 2:24 pm

    I really want that book! Looks very pretty and informative. I love looking through plot to plate type books, gets me all excited about the new season. I planted broad beans about a fortnight ago now and already they are germinating. Look forward to following your gardening.

    • Saturday 5 March, 2016 at 7:20 am

      I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. Its really helped us to focus on getting the seeds in the ground so that we can make the recipes.

  • Friday 4 March, 2016 at 8:16 pm

    My little boy is only just approaching two, but I’m hoping he’ll be interested in growing things with me as he gets older. We’re just setting up a raised bed area now and we’re intending to try out a few things this year. I’m learning too, so he can learn along with me 🙂 I hope he has some enthusiasm for it at least while he’s little!

    • Saturday 5 March, 2016 at 7:21 am

      Oh! I really hope you enjoy your first growing area together. I don’t think you stop learning each year. I know I haven’t.

  • Friday 4 March, 2016 at 9:56 pm

    I find getting out in the garden difficult lately too. Not because of the cold, it’s just so wet all the time! We are going to sew broad beans at the allotment this year, they’re one of my favourite beans.

    • Saturday 5 March, 2016 at 7:23 am

      I know exactly what you mean. Really wet. I’ve enjoyed the recent blue sky and frosty mornings. Nice change.

  • Saturday 5 March, 2016 at 8:30 am

    Oh this book looks amazing. I too want to grow this year but I’ve never had any luck and we have loads of snails. I am going to nag Hubster this week to move my raised beds back (he moved them with the tractor). I’ve got garlic bulbs to plant 🙂 #countrykids

    • Saturday 5 March, 2016 at 9:29 am

      Hopefully your snails won’t like garlic too much. Love the idea of moving the raised beds with a tractor. The number of times I’ve moved ours, I wish I’d had a tractor.

  • Saturday 5 March, 2016 at 8:53 am

    That looks like a great book. I would love to have a garden where I could grow my own veg like that. Hope you get lots of broad beans #countrykids

    • Saturday 5 March, 2016 at 9:30 am

      Me too! Missed out on broad beans last year. Fingers crossed for this year.

  • Saturday 5 March, 2016 at 10:12 am

    I actually need to clear the pots so that I can plant new seeds but as you said its so cold and miserable outside that I cant start!

    That book looks amazing and inspiring and again I am so jealous of your garden space!


    • Saturday 5 March, 2016 at 11:21 am

      I have to wait for the sun to come out, or a good amount of blue sky, in order to feel motivated. Really being spurred on by the thought of all those wonderful meals I’ll be making.

  • Saturday 5 March, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    What a motivating sounding book and well illustrated too. I love this time of year for the hope that lies outdoors with new growth. My green house is waiting to be sorted but it always ends up being used for struggling baby animals in spring, you have given me the motivation to have a go and see if i can encourage my kids too. I hope your broad beans are a success. Thank you for sharing with me on #CountryKids

    • Saturday 5 March, 2016 at 2:56 pm

      Part of me expects them to say no to helping, when of course, they love the fun of gardening. I forget to ask them, which is my mistake. The older they get, the more capable they are and I really need to remember. Hope you get your greenhouse going.

  • Saturday 5 March, 2016 at 10:04 pm

    I love the look of that book, the illustrations are beautiful. I need to get my act together and get the kids planting, we’ve just had so much else on recently…! When we have planted together they’ve been so excited and eaten everything 🙂

    • Saturday 5 March, 2016 at 10:27 pm

      Oh that is so true. Now a days, they take over the whole job, before I have a chance to turn round. That’s help I’m very willing to receive! 🙂 Hope you fit your planting in.

  • Sunday 6 March, 2016 at 12:01 am

    I feel the garden related lack of motivation at the moment, it’s the constant rain and soggy grass that’s putting me off.
    As soon as I see some blue skies and pink blossom I’ll be far more motivated 😉
    That book looks great – perfect for reading with kids, I’ll look it up!
    Thanks for joining in and sharing lovely 🙂

    • Monday 7 March, 2016 at 12:06 pm

      Here’s to more blue sky and gardening, and less marshy underfoot.

    • Wednesday 9 March, 2016 at 3:29 pm

      Please bring on Spring. This year I am ready for it.

  • Sunday 6 March, 2016 at 7:19 pm

    What a lovely looking book! It’s so important to find something to engage the children and you’re right, if they grow it they are more likely to eat it! Can’t wait to see if that dance works too! #HDYGG

    • Monday 7 March, 2016 at 12:07 pm

      No signs as yet, athough I’ve not checked for a day or two. Might need to send them out and try again. 🙂

    • Wednesday 9 March, 2016 at 3:28 pm

      It works every time. The growing and eating, not always the dancing!

  • Sunday 6 March, 2016 at 7:23 pm

    Looks like a nice book, A friend bought me a good one called Roots,Shoots,buckets and boots. I haven’t succeeded in growing anything more elaborate than herbs. My veggies die or get eaten by bunnies.

    • Wednesday 9 March, 2016 at 3:18 pm

      That is a really good book. I hope you enjoy it. We have problems with bunnies and deer, but not every year.

  • Monday 7 March, 2016 at 2:03 pm

    That sounds like a great book and great how your children enjoyed getting involved. We only have a tiny space for growing veg, but I must think about ours soon to.

    • Wednesday 9 March, 2016 at 3:08 pm

      Every corner counts though, doesn’t it? I’ve seen some amazing container gardens that produce so much in a small area.

  • Tuesday 8 March, 2016 at 3:27 pm

    So cold here too – I always think of March as sping but so often winter throws its worst weather at us at the beginning of the month. I really want to get going more but it is just toooooo cold! #HDYGG

    • Wednesday 9 March, 2016 at 2:40 pm

      I’m with you on this one. Usually pot up in the shed, but contemplating moving it all into the utility room. It’s warm there.

  • Wednesday 9 March, 2016 at 12:05 pm

    having a proper kitchen garden is such a dream of mine. one day i say. one day….

    • Wednesday 9 March, 2016 at 2:39 pm

      Never let go of your dreams. Especially kitchen garden dreams.

  • Thursday 10 March, 2016 at 2:57 pm

    It’s great to get started growing things again isn’t it now there’s some light in the evenings? And often I find the thought of getting out there far worse than actually being out there, I just need to keep telling myself that when I’m inside 🙂 #hdygg

    • Thursday 10 March, 2016 at 3:30 pm

      Oh. I really couldn’t say it better. It’s not so bad once you are out. I’ll be reminding myself too.

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