I am not green fingered and as such I have sadly failed to pass on any significant gardening knowledge to my children. This is not any fault of my mother - she and my aunt are keen gardeners and as a child I spent many happy hours mooching round garden centres, plant nurseries and playing in the mud with my cousins while they weeded and planted.
I'm not too bad with potted things - I have a grapevine going great guns and lilies I have managed to keep going for years. But even after 7 children I have so far failed to grow even one sodding sunflower past about six inches high!
So I was excited to hear that the folk at QVC, together with its garden expert Richard Jackson and child psychologist / family expert, Dr Pat Spungin, have launched a campaign called “Watch Them Grow” in a bid to get parents and grandparents to spend more quality time outdoors with children.
The aim of the kit is to remove the barriers to passing on the tradition of gardening with children in a way that’s fun, easy, geared specifically towards children and cost-effective.
The campaign follows research involving British parents and children, which found gardening is in decline, with almost a half of parents revealing they've never gardened with their kids (45%). Slightly worryingly, this could be leading to some of the misconceptions held by children as one in five kids believe flowers are made by people, while one in ten think flowers are made in supermarkets!
With this in mind, QVC has created "Watch Them Grow" gardening kits for parents and kids, which are available to buy online.
There is a choice of a flower growing kit or vegetable growing kit which both come with a “Watch Them Grow” guide, which includes useful tips and quick and easy tricks for gardening with children.
We were offered the chance to try one out and my youngest (5) was so excited when a huge parcel came with his name on it and literally could not wait to get his hands dirty and get planting!
Big brother offered to help and after unpacking the propagator, pots in varying sizes, seeds and compost we were ready to go.
It was so lovely sitting out in the garden with him talking about the different sized seeds, and explaining exactly how his veggies would sprout and grow. And the conversation carried on over the next few days as he asked how the different vegetables on his dinner plate had grown and where in the world they had come from.
We planted runner beans and sweetcorn and some tiny tomatoes - I'm not entirely sure we will manage to get them from seed to plate ( I really am death to anything green!) but if we fail I plan to hand the kit over to his primary school so they can have a go with it!
Back to the campaign -Dr Pat Spungin thinks that the natural outdoor joys of gardening are a good counter balance to the fast-paced, screen-based world they now inhabit. Plus, it’s a great way to stimulate a child intellectually and teach where food comes from.
QVC's research also found that gardening is British adults' number one childhood memory (27%), beating breaking up for the summer holidays and learning how to ride a bike. The reasons for this, unsurprisingly, included the chance to spend quality time with parents getting muddy(!) and being creative.
And reading that I realised it's true! Some of my happiest childhood memories feature mud, digging and picking fruit and vegetables and it's made me determined that this year we will at least visit a pick your own even if we don't succeed at growing our own. Keep you (green) fingers crossed for a healthy harvest!