Real Men Sow

Lewis’s First Year on the Allotment

Posted on by in Lewis with 2 Comments

My little boy Lewis is one year old today. I know everyone says this, but I honestly don’t know where the last year has gone.

I’m feeling rather soppy today, so please forgive the baby blog diversion, but I can’t think of a better way to mark Lewis’s birthday than a few photos from his first year as a veg patch kid.

I’ve been keen to try and get him into the garden as much as possible, especially since I’ve found that simply stepping outside seems to calm even the most stroppy of his tantrums.

Here he is pulling a smile whilst watching me sow seeds at two months old…


Encouraged by this, I started popping him into the baby carrier and watering the plants during the summer.


I guess it’s the new environment and different colours that stimulate him, but he’s always enjoyed being carried around the garden. Lewis loves touching foliage too, and from about 3 and a half months, he’d pull, push and rip at the leaves. The bay tree and sage plant proved particular favourites.


Of course, my favourite part of Lewis’s veg growing indoctrination has been feeding him homegrown food. We began letting him play around with food in June, and after a cautious start, he gummed to death his first garden-grown mangetout on the night of the summer solstice.


He may or may not have said ‘dad, this organically grown mangetout from the garden tastes so much better than the out of season alternatives in the supermarkets’.

Little finger foods like mangetout, carrots and cucumbers have been great fun to feed Lewis; cut up into bite size slices and left for him to suss out.

Gradually, we’ve weened Lewis, and he’s eaten plenty of homegrown produce since. So far, Lewis has gobbled down (in various guises) leeks, pears, apples, peas, mangetout, squash, potato, carrot, cauliflower, parsnip, tomato, cucumber and melon.

Butternut squash has been my favourite veg to grow for Lewis. They keep for ages, and make a tasty snack mashed up with some parmesan grated over the top.

We bought the River Cottage Baby and Toddler Cookbook, which has allowed us to cook meals using produce from the garden that we can all eat. It’s a great book, and I’d thoroughly recommend buying a copy.

Lewis is now happily walking, so hopefully 2014 will see him wandering down the garden to check out what I’m doing, and I’ll be able to feed him veg straight from the plant. I’ve also bought him a brilliant Muddy Puddles all in one waterproof suit, so he’ll be able to roll around on the allotment to his heart’s content.

We’ve tried the suit out already during a unseasonably mild January afternoon, and he seemed very content!


I can’t wait for this year’s growing season. I appreciate it’s a cliché, but growing for an extra mouth has added a whole new dimension to the GYO adventure, and I can’t begin to articulate the joy I’ve experienced from feeding my son homegrown food from the garden.

Happy Birthday Lewis.

P.S. You’ll be old enough to try the strawberries this year…


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  1. ScottFebruary 10, 2014 at 11:14 pmReply

    Just remember as the little man starts helping, everything takes 3 times as long and looks 4 times messier. And it won’t matter a damn to you.
    I still remember sowing spinach with the little one. Less straight line and more huge clump of seed all within a 2 inch circle.
    That cookbook is pretty good too, got it when it came out and have cooked a LOT of the stuff from it.

    Enjoy year 2 Lewis, give the old man hell!

  2. HelleFebruary 11, 2014 at 9:25 amReply

    Aw so cute, doesn’t look stroppy at all :-) ) – I don’t have children, but can imagine it must add so much being able to give your little boy all this delicious homegrown veg and fruit. And now that he can walk, you’ll probably be spending more time stopping him from ripping everything out than actually growing stuff!

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About Real Men Sow

meIn 2007, I took on a redundant allotment plot with my gardening-mad mum Jan. As all good mums do, she went along with it, but I don’t think she held out much hope. However, over a decade later, and she now lets me do stuff without watching over my shoulder, so I must be doing something right. [ read more ]

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