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This is the patch of garden I'm going to let my son loose on...


It has afternoon sun only. The soil is ok with a clay base. Very dry from the fork to the fence. The buddleia and laural will give a lot of shade also. This is the first digging it's had in a few years, has been covered in stones many of which are still there, we will rake out as many as possible. 

Son has not much enthusiasm and wants quick results. He has autism and leaning difficulties, today gardening has an appeal, tomorrow maybe not. H enjoyed digging for a few minutes then enjoyed finding worms (surprisingly few in this patch). He has requested he wants to grow carrots, mash potatoes (he'd prefer to grow the sausage to go with them if truth be known!), and sunflowers. I've some strawberries I could move to here as well, but have never really grown anything edible! Would potatoes in bags be ok? Any variety of carrots better for the lack of sun? How about piling a rockery on the dry bit or making a raised bed against the fence (Ive some unused York stone I need to find a place for!). 

If it was me, I'd just fill it with flowers but Ii want to support his choice as much as is possible.

So over to you good people for any suggestions and advice. Thank you. 



  • ForestedgeForestedge Posts: 3,650

    I would let him grow whatever he fancied (the things he has suggested) and yes potatoes grow well in large bags.

  • HelskiHelski Posts: 13

    Hello, my husband works with autistic children and says that they often respond well to sensory experiences so why not try some herbs? You can create some instant appeal by buying some small herb plants like mint and rosemary that he can experienced the scent of; they won't mind dry but would probably appreciate a bit of sun (mind the mint doesn't take over).  You could also grow some from seed like basil.  I think that parsley might take a shadier spot but will probably need watering. 

    My husband also says that glitter mixed into sand is fascinating to some of the children so what about creating a small sand and glitter 'zen garden' that he can rake and arrange while he's waiting for other things to produce?

    Our grandchildren are also fascinated by edible flowers.  They love sucking the nectar from honeysuckle and also munch away on calendula and violas.  

    If your son is the nuturing type you could try getting him some reduced to clear veg plants to nurse back to health. It might keep him interested while you're waiting for them to produce something he can eat.

    Good luck with it.

  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 4,459

    If he liked the worms you might be able to get him interested in bees or butterflies or caterpillars.... perhaps grow some cabbages just for the caterpillars, as they grow quite fast,and maybe net one so he could try it too? You can pretty much guarantee cabbage whites, though the caterplars aren't the prettiest, but nettles are potential host to several kinds of butterflies if he would be able to cope with the nettles' spiteful ways.

    Or how about some tactile plants like lamb's ears or bunny tail grass - that's an annual so quick to grow' or that old favourite, sunflowers, in the sunniest corner?

     You can also get some veg in unfamiliar forms to surprise him, such as round carrots or purple ones or blue potatoes (Edzell Blue or Salad Blue which is good for blue mash!)

    Let him have a look at some seed catalogues - he might see something that he likes, or you could look together for funny names, or animal names or flowers of a particular shape or favourite colour that appealed to him.

    Last edited: 23 April 2017 14:42:56

  • MrsGardenMrsGarden Posts: 3,951

    Grrr, just lost my post! 

    Thank you both, he will love the glitter idea, the caterpillars, herbs (he likes recipes), we have lambs ears to share, and will also like funny shapes and names. 

    He now has these from AldI... ok photo will be separate (think that's why I lost the post earlier).

    Last edited: 23 April 2017 17:30:04

  • MrsGardenMrsGarden Posts: 3,951


    As a non veg grower, I'm not sure the instructions make sense! 

  • MrsGardenMrsGarden Posts: 3,951


  • HelskiHelski Posts: 13

    Try this link for your spuds. If you do them this way he'll see shoots quickly and have to keep earthing them up so it will keep him interested :)

  • MrsGardenMrsGarden Posts: 3,951

    Thank you. So would you say these are ready to go (chitter?).

    Sons just run off with them down the garden maybe he knows what he's doing...

  • HelskiHelski Posts: 13

    Yes. The little shoots are the chits. If you can keep one chit per spud but don't worry,  he'll get something from them even if it isn't the biggest crop :)

  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 17,226

    They look ready chitted.  Bury them 18 inches apart and  30 inch between rows.  Try not to knock the shoots off.  If you have any compost use that to mound on top as they grow.

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