With the weather improving and green shoots of life are starting to spring up all over our gardens and landscapes, the signs that spring is here are definitely visible. Spring is a great time of the year for families and here we look at some of the reasons why.
Green shoots and working for tomorrow.
It was William Blake who once called England a ‘green and pleasant land’ and this is no more clearly illustrated than in spring. Blossoms burst forth bringing the bees, lambs frolic in verdant fields and our humble gardens are ready to grow produce to take us well into the long, balmy days of summer and harvest time beyond.
Indeed, the ‘Grow Your Own’ movement is alive and well, saving precious pennies on groceries and promoting a unique, productive bond between family members – offering not only quality time with our own children but with grandchildren too.
Tending an organic, pesticide-free garden or an allotment of vegetables and herbs is a wonderful experience that can offer life-affirming pleasure for all generations.
Where to start and what to plan.t
Although spring is the season of birth and rebirth, of new beginnings after the long winter, the weather can still turn cold and the rain fall a little too heavy. Starting flower seeds and seedlings indoors, in a potting shed or greenhouse, can offset any adverse climactic effects.
Young children often enjoy the potting stage and watching for the first signs of green shoots, so will gladly help. Herbs, too, tend to fare best indoors first and those less green-fingered can delight in the simplicity and affordability of growing them.
Meanwhile, a garden’s existing rose bushes and shrubs can be fertilised.
However, the enjoyable familial part really comes with growing fruit and vegetables. Tomatoes, cucumber and broccoli should be begun indoors like flowers, but alliums (leeks, onions, garlic), as well as asparagus, broad beans and tubers are hardy enough for direct planting into soil.
One purpose of growing your own might be to facilitate independent living from over-priced supermarkets and dwindling greengrocers, but successfully sowing carrots can take a group effort. The resultant meal, where each member of the family has shared a part in preparing the produce, tastes unsurpassable.
The proof is in the eating.
Of course, all the work that goes into such self-sufficiency is rewarded at last on a plate and spring is full of seasonal events where cost-effective, home-grown produce can be enjoyed. A roast is nothing without its accompaniments: potatoes and mint, carrots and onion, all drizzled with gravy. If they’ve come from the garden tended as a family, all the better!
Then there’s also the post-Lent splurge. Many people find keeping chickens an attractive addition to adopting a Grow Your Own lifestyle, as eggs offer a nearly endless menu option in themselves and are a key component of many baked goods. After 40 days of symbolic fasting, a breakfast of pancakes or scrambled eggs is tempting for the whole family, from the youngest to oldest.
The ‘good life’ is within reach.
Social media is abundant with recipe blogs and inspirational lifestyle tips so it’s vital that families go online to find our more. For older individuals, you can connect with age-charities such as Age UK and retirement specialists such as McCarthy & Stone through social networking sites, allowing you to share tips and gain access to vital information.
Find McCarthy and Stone on Google+ for further insight into making the most of spring with your family this year and for other tips of retirement living.
Disclosure: This post is brought to you in association with McCarthy and Stone. Please see my PR and Disclosure Policy for more details.