Anyone else find gardening when you have small DC completely impossible?

(19 Posts)
Rhubarbgarden Mon 01-Jul-13 14:05:54

Can I also suggest joining us on the 'Flaming June' gardening chat thread? I find that rabbiting about gardening when I can't actually get out there and do it is a nice alternative. Lots of friendly plant mad people.

Rhubarbgarden Mon 01-Jul-13 13:55:32

I have to admit I've found this to be one of the biggest challenges of having children. I was a professional gardener before they came along and it has just killed me to see garden tasks gone undone. As others have said, lowering your standards is the first step and accepting that for a few years your garden is going to look a mess be a bit au naturel.

When dc1 was tiny I tried raking and hoeing with her in a sling. It didn't work very well. Sometimes I could get away with five minutes pruning while she 'watched' me from her pushchair. When dc2 arrived I gave up trying, except for during naps and after they've gone to bed, or on a weekend if I can get dh to take them out for a couple of hours. Some things, like hedge trimming, I've ended up getting people in for because they just wouldn't get done otherwise.

Dc1 is now 3 and is starting to be properly interested in gardening. I've given her her own flower bed and helped her sow hardy annuals. As a result, she understands about not damaging plants and is learning the difference between weeds and the plants we want. She is fascinated watching me mow and strim (from a safe distance).

I do find the limitations immensely frustrating though and I don't mind admitting that I am counting down the months till dc2 starts preschool so I can finally start to get on top of things. Repeat the mantra: it's only temporary!

funnyperson Sun 30-Jun-13 23:46:34

Also did I mention the sheet over the washing line to make a 'tent'. (the idea came from a children's book). And the rope swing. And the garden hose, which seemed to provide endless scope for mud.

funnyperson Sun 30-Jun-13 23:43:00

Perennials, no pruning, and a sandpit which DH made for the DC meant the garden was nice to be in when they were toddlers. The sandpit was shaped like a flat bottomed boat, so the sand was in the bottom of the boat, and the seats of the boat were what the DC sat on to play.

partyondude Sun 30-Jun-13 22:05:50

DD is nearly 4 and pretty reliable. She has her own garden full of flowers which she likes to water plus a slide and sand pit to play in. DS (21mo) likes to empty anything containing water, and wash stones. It keeps him occupied and mostly stops him emptying the flowerbeds onto the patio...

This year is the first year in 3 that we have a functional veg patch. The flower bed is self sufficient but there's a tonne of weeding to do which I'm ignoring. Its amazing how pretty 3' tall buttercups look!

Liara Sun 30-Jun-13 21:43:18

Actually, gardening is one of the few things that I find the children can be helpful with from an early age.

I've given them tasks from when they could stand up, they started out as make work but soon enough they were actually being helpful. Watering, weeding (by hand, and asking me if things were weeds beforehand), hoeing empty areas, moving things back and forth on a little wheelbarrow when I couldn't think of anything else.

They are now 3 and 5 and are both keen gardeners and genuinely helpful around the garden, even though I have ended up with many a plant (and plant combination) that I would not have chosen myself.

FrameyMcFrame Sun 30-Jun-13 21:33:06

My DS loves gardening, he's got a big bit to dig in and he's grown peas and radishes and carrots in a pot and sunflowers. He likes sweeping up and cleaning windows too so I can always give him a job. I think you've got to lower your standards, they are going to tread on seedlings and over water stuff. I find if I grow enough of things then there's usually enough that survives his 'helping'
He loves watering with the hose too, a but annoying when he sprays me in the face... he's 4 but been into gardening since he was 2.

Grumpla Sun 30-Jun-13 21:20:44

Ds1 is 4 and ds2 is 1.5, we have JUST got to the stage where I can do maybe 15 minutes of weeding before all hell breaks loose. Installing sandpit and playhouse has helped. I also make sure everyone has weed, snaked and had a drink BEFORE we go outside. That makes a big difference.

Own tools etc just tend to be used as weapons...

Murtette Sun 30-Jun-13 21:17:03

Its a nightmare! Our garden needs a complete overhaul and serious hours of gardening and I just don't have it. Am I a really bad mother to be counting down to when DC2 starts school in Sept 2016 as, if I continue to work part time, I'll then have two days a week in which to get on top of the garden (and lose a stone!)?
I did manage to prune the honeysuckle earlier as that was close to the trampoline so I could chat to DD at the same time but I then moved onto the rose at the fair end of the garden so DD got annoyed that I wasn't admiring every jump and I then realised DS had gone a bit quiet and found him looking at a drippy snail which he'd clearly just been licking/sucking Yes, they both have their own tools, patches of garden etc and are relatively good at playing by themselves but they do not allow me to just disappear into the garden for hours at a time (garden not that large but there is a LOT to do).

Idislikemymil Sun 30-Jun-13 21:15:47

Yes! I put the baby in the carrier, whilst my eldest collects snails/worms etc and my 2 year old brings her teddies and dolls outside.
But it doesn't last long before the baby is crying or the eldest 2 have fallen out/need a drink/have tripped on the steps. I can only do the bare minimum.

mummy1973 Sun 30-Jun-13 21:10:23

Been there...garden in the eve when they are in bed is my only suggestion. I did the bare minimum till they went to school!

ProphetOfDoom Sun 30-Jun-13 21:05:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mamacoffee Sun 30-Jun-13 21:00:40

I give 3yo jobs to do to keep him busy he has his own set of tools and gloves which he loves smile I put 1yo dd on my back and she's happy to watch and learn!

Goldrill Sun 30-Jun-13 15:48:06

Yep. 8 month old and two year old. I have three brilliant courgette plants a colleague gave me last month and they are fruiting in their pots because the creeping buttercups have taken over the bed!

Meglet Sun 30-Jun-13 15:40:41

Yes. Although when they were still having naps I used to be able to mow the lawn while they slept.

Now they no longer have naps, but can't be trusted when I mow the lawn (won't stay away from the mower / can't hear them fighting when it's on), the garden looks a state sad. Even the trick of putting the tv on so they keep away doesn't work.

gaggiagirl Sun 30-Jun-13 15:30:28

We got our 2 year old her own little wheelbarrow,watering can and tools so she mostly puts stones in her barrow and drops them off some where else and we have a little Argos sand pit that she can play in outside.

Thurlow Sun 30-Jun-13 15:30:01

18mo here and the garden is a state. It's barely even been mowed this year. I have no tips, other than lower your standards grin

EauRouge Sun 30-Jun-13 15:23:52

It's bloody difficult. I've got a 2.5yo and a 4.9yo. I've learnt to never do any weeding because they 'help'. Giving them their own jobs to do is very helpful, they're especially good at watering but their favourite job is collecting snails and rehoming them in the green bin. I've also let them pick their own seeds (lurid pink sweet peas for DD1 and lurid orange sunflowers for DD2) and then they look after those while I get on with whatever I can.

My shed has one of those swivelly catches out of their reach so I just shut the door.

FlatsInDagenham Sun 30-Jun-13 14:58:23

It's so frustrating.

If I turn my back on my 4yo she's trying to pull a rake 4 times the size of her out of the shed, or she's pulling unripe plums from the plum tree, or 'weeding' the beds (which involves stamping and destroying everything green) or tring to move bricks or dropping things into the water butt. Or something.

And the baby ... don't even get me started on the havoc she wreaks now she's a crawler. Not to mention the fussing and crying if nobody is playing with her.

Just needed to vent but tips very welcome .

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