"where there's a will. . ."

v "the best laid plans. . ."

so the other day I invested in a trowel and fork (not with bent handles as above, but I do like those watering cans!) and left them out, rather subtely, on the kitchen counter. . .
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. . .it was a hint to The Teen that the time has come for him to put his plans into action and make some progress on the roof terrace. . .
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he's off to Borneo in 18 months time, to help and work with under-priviledged children, all arranged thru a self-development scheme at his school (which is a little like The Duke of Edinburgh Awards scheme, but slightly different); the participants each have to raise a huge sum of money thru sponsorship to pay for the whole thing
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he was initally very excited and we chatted about how to raise the money and I ended up making those helpful suggestions that mothers make (have a yard sale, a second hand book sale, I'll make cookies and cakes and you can sell them on Boat Race Day, for example - wouldn't raise much but it would be a start); the one he liked best was my idea that if he wanted he could turn the plant containers on the roof terrace (currently full of dead bamboo, dead grasses and dead lavender because noone watered anything when I was in hopsital last summer) into vegetable plots, then I'd sponsor him for his time in exchange for the vegetables - and if he planned his planting carefully and produced more than we need, he could maybe sell the excess to the neighbours. . .
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so, for xmas as part of his present, I bought him a guidebook to basic vegetable gardening and a whole bunch of seeds. . . now comes the difficult part - he has to find the time to actually start the work (or I'm going to do it, as I quite like the idea of a vegetable garden on the roof!). . . of course, a teen brain is very different from a mother's brain. . .

where I see windows of opportunity (it's light now for a couple of hours when he gets back from school - he could start with an hour an afternoon) he doesn't (he's tired when he comes home from school and wants a break before he starts his homeworks)

he's with his father at the weekend or out with his mates, so weekday afternoons are really his only chance. . .

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so, my dilemma is - how long do I leave it before I tell him his time is up and I am going to do it myself instead. . .
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we discussed planting the seeds indoors back in the new year and he decided that he'd rather just plant things straight out as it was easier (no "hardening off"). . .



and now it's March already and I just know that a whole bunch of those little seeds need to be in the ground pretty soon. . .
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then again, perhaps, if I made a start he'd then decide to help and would get going himself. . .

I guess I do know that if one of us doesn't do anything, nothing will get done. . .
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and none of those lovely vegetables will be growing on the roof later in the summer. . .
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and I do so like fresh vegetables. . .

10 comments:

Dave said...

I've already started some seeds off in the greenhouse. It's probably a little early for outdoors planting - although in London you probably don't get much rooftop frost, do you?

I, Like The View said...

how I envy your greenhouse! we have space on a different flat roof for one of those smaller half-size lean-to greenhouses that you took down from your shady spot recently, and I'm very tempted to get one (can't really efford it tho) - don't know what the people at the back would think, of a greenhouse half way up the property. . .

what I omitted to mention was that the boy needs to do quite a lot of work taking out the dead plants from the containers and working some new soil/compost into them, before he gets around to actually planting the seeds (and that - the "donkey-work" - is the bit I need him to do for me! lugging the dead stuff down three floors and carrying the compost up four flights of stairs. . .)

but no, I don't think there is a huge amount of frost - altho it would be singularly annoying to plant seeds, have them develop a little and then have a cold-snap

one of us just needs to get going basically. . .

. . .it's looking like it'll be me!

katherine. said...

wrangling teenage boys for "donkey work" is much easier when you have teenage daughters

laughing...

I, Like The View said...

I need to borrow someone else's teenage daughters. . . in fact, if I could find a few girls to sunbathe on any of the other roofs around here I suspect he'd spend more than enough time up there. . .

Donn Coppens said...

TA-DA!

Getting a few girls to sunbathe on any of the other roofs proves that you still have your wits about you.

If he grew something else that he could sell at school, with ridiculous profit margins I might add, he could prolly pay for the whole bloody trip?

No eh? Is it still illegal in the UK? My-my, how quaint and utterly common.

OK well you'll need to come up with a plan C then.

What is the most expensive spice that most people use?

I, Like The View said...

there are probably all sorts of exotic things he could plant up there. . .

(. . .but I naively like to think that the fact I smoke cigarettes has put him off smoking anything)

(ho hum!)

if we'd thought about spices ealier, he could have grown crocuses for the saffron, I suppose - unless saffron comes from rather more specialist crocuses than the ones found in Elngish country/city gardens/containers

I suspect the most sensible option is that he finds himself a proper job in the summer and works as many hours as they'll have him

(my other thought was bee hives. . .)

Mel said...

Bee hives!

Now how cool would that be?!

k......practically speaking--sunbathing teenage girls might be the answer!

k...MORE practically speaking--thinkin' this is a job for SUPER mom! ;-)
Which means if he's the typical teen (and he seemingly is) dirt might happen, but tending to the garden all summer?! Ummmmm..yeah, well, lemme know if I'm way off base cuz I'd love to be.

Oh darn. You might get...ummm...HAVE to play in dirt. :-D

(lucky you!!!!!)

mig said...

Saffron crocuses aren't your regular English ones. They do make fascinating reading though.
Teen sounds very much like your regular variety. I'm glad you enjoy gardening :)
(you could try actually waving the money in front of his nose and saying, here it is, I'll put it in your sponsorship account the minute you've carried up the compost/emptied the rubbish/planted the seeds.) Are any of his friends doing the same thing? Maybe they could do it together? Maybe he could then share in a friend's sponsorship earning activities and double the gains all round :)

Ahaha - maybe you could get together with other parents to make (sorry, encourage) all the kids do some kind of joint sponsorship activities!
I am thinking of all the things I never did for my children though. It was all just too much to contemplate!

Mel said...

Yeah, but zuchinni is so much fun to watch grow!

Just sayin'....

Why should he have all the fun?!

Pfooey!

I, Like The View said...

I remember one summer Mel when we came back from a holiday to find the back yard taken over by some very overzealous pumpkins!

mig initially he was going to ask one of his friends to help, not sure what the plan on that one is at the moment - last night he was thinking about the giving-away-cup-cakes-and-cookies-on-Boat-Race-day-in-exchange-for-donations idea (guess who'll be making the edibles!) - perhaps the vegetables-gardening will seem more appealing when the weather warms up?!

Mel he is the typical teen (the sort that I was never allowed to be - it's fun observing) and so I suspect you're right. . . but I'll enjoy it either way (whoever ends up getting their hands dirty!)

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