No scratch that. It's difficult to inspire anyone to garden in the winter.
The list of 'jobs to do this month' are a little sad in November, thin in December and downright depressing by January. They mostly involve secateurs and the phrase 'dead, damaged and diseased' which is enough to dampen anyone's gardening ardour.
So I've decided to embrace windowsill gardening for the next few weeks - it's warmer, nearer the kettle and a lot more rewarding for the kids.
I've partly been inspired by Don't Throw It: Grow It! by Deborah Peterson and Millicent Selsam - a book I was sent a few months ago but which has really come into its own now I'm reluctant to leave the house. It's a useful handbook on the many things you can grow from garden scraps and the kids and I are trialling a few at a time.
One of the first things we did was plant some garlic cloves. I had a few past their best languishing at the bottom of the veg basket so I figured - why not give them a go? I had a glass bowl and some small stones leftover from our paperwhite bulbs at Christmas so we were able to recycle both. We put in four cloves, base plates downwards, pointy ends up, filled around with more stones and watered them up to the base.
We had shoots within a week and now have very impressive garlic leaves growing healthily on the kitchen windowsill. The glass bowl is useful because it allows the children to see how much water there is and when it needs topping up. They can also clearly see the roots.
I have never been a massive fan of growing garlic in the ground - it's always seemed like a very long wait and who needs that much garlic anyway - but this activity is perfect for kids. No, they won't be growing large garlic bulbs but they will be able to understand that garlic does indeed 'grow' and, best of all, the garlicky shoots are a lot easier for the kids to use in cooking. Even very young children can use rounded craft scissors to cut bits off the leaves which can then be used to flavour things like stir fries, curries and soups.