It’s gardening season here on the farm, with tomato plants abounding and green things on our minds. We are in the process of building a series of raised beds so that we can really get stuck into our veggie production and we’ve been planting fruit trees and bushes around our garden too; it’s gardenpalooza.
So it makes sense that it should also become part of our school work, after all the big advantage of homeschooling is that we can choose what to learn about and do it in an integrated way. For our family, raising and growing our own food is a big part of our raison detre and we really want to include the boys in the work it involves. We also want them to learn the skills they will need in their own lives, the skills needed to be less dependent on a food system that is, it seems to me, doomed to fail.
Without wanting to be scary-post-apocalypse-gardening-lady (no one invites her to their party) I believe that the future will look very different from what we are used to. Our food systems will be strong affected by the rapidly changing world we live in now and knowing how to grow food is going to be increasingly important. I could wax lyrical for many hours with my thoughts on food security and it’s importance, but I shall refrain and instead talk about tomatoes.
Is it possible to have too many tomatoes? I’m not sure it is and I tend to act accordingly. This year we’ve got about 140 determinates (bush varieties) on the go and I’d like a few indeterminates for the polytunnel too, but we shall see if that works out. We are bringing our tomatoes on in the tunnel and will be planting them out in June, weather depending. My life goal is to produce enough tomatoes (and manage to preserve them in good time) to see us through a full year, it is a simple goal but one I haven’t quite managed to achieve. This year we made it to about February on our own produce (we had tomatoes on the go from about July last year so that puts us at the 7/8 month mark) so we’ll see what we can manage this year.
As part of our school last week I did some gardening work with the boys, teaching them how to transplant seedlings and talking about what seeds need to grow. We set up a surprisingly efficient assembly line with Neirin filling the pots, Huwyl levelling and creating the holes and me transplanting the seedlings. We got 40 or so done (so more to do) which I was really pleased with. The boys were extremely enthusiastic about their involvement, organizing themselves to make the tasks easier and working very efficiently as part of a team. I hope this bodes well for future gardening activities, there are going to be a lot of them.
If I could hope to instil one trait in the boys through our homeschool (and family) journey, it would be confidence in their own abilities. I want them to feel able, resourceful and capable of tackling whatever life throws at them. And if my vision of the future is crazy nonsense, well being able to garden never hurt anyone.