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Last updated: 15 August 2006 1357 BST
Kids' gardening with grandpa Gipp
Sophie poses by her little garden.
Sophie stops working to pose for a photo with her Little People's Planter.
Tony Gipp is a well-known gardener in Norfolk and has made many gadgets to help disabled people.

He is also a grandpa to Sophie and Solomon and here he tells us how he has been encouraging them to take up gardening.

Our grandchild, Sophie, is four years old and she has been helping in the garden since she was two.

She has set radish and sunflower seeds in the ground level and the slightly raised beds. She enjoys using different tools, particularly those that are especially made for her.

Although we encourage her, we are careful not to push it too far so she loses the sense of fun and fulfilment.

Sopihie gardening.
Sophie filled her planter with primroses and primula.

We also provide her with seeds and plants that she can manage.

Over time we'll graduate to more difficult tiny seeds which will be a challenge but should grow.

The planter she uses is 24 inches circumference at the top and 18 inches deep. It sits on four single bricks, placed edgewise to form a cross.

This brings the planter's height to 22.5 inches - perfect for Sophie.

The planter is half of a 45-gallon barrel used to import fruit juices.

They cost between £2 and £5 each.

Comfortable edge

I have fixed a yellow plastic hoop to the outer rim of the top edge of the barrel.

The rim was a little rough and would have been uncomfortable for her wrists and arms.

The hoop also makes the planter look more jolly and it adds to the sense of fun for Sophie.

The planter has a 1¼ inch diameter hole through the bottom, to which I've fixed a 3-inch long piece of plastic pipe which goes upwards in the planter.

It is topped with a piece of fine gauze and covered with pebbles, creating a water table for the hot, dry weather while providing drainage.

Sophie stands by her planter.
Sophie weeds her planter using her own adapted tool.

Sophie's weeder

In this picture Sophie is weeding the plants.

The tool she is using was made by pushing a piece of insulation pipe onto an aluminium tent peg to make a soft handle.

The peg had first been wrapped around with vinyl tape to take off the edges and prolong the life of the insulation pipe.

My wife, Barbara, has encouraged Sophie to get the weeds up with roots intact.

Sophie is delighted to have her own special tool.

Gripping tools

Solomon plays with one of the gardening tools.
Solomon shows how easy it is to use the retriever.

Our other grandchild Solomon is six years old, and unlike Sophie, he is yet to show much interest in the garden.

However, Solomon is fascinated by my tool collection and loves to experiment with many of them.

He is intrigued with the gripping tools, using them as space-guns or space-interceptors.

Solomon knows he has to treat the tools with care, and so we encourage him to experiment with them.

Sometimes Solomon likes to demonstrate that he can also use the tools in the same ways as grandad!

Sophie picking potatoes.
Sophie helps her nanny to pick potatoes.

Harvest time

Sophie has been helping to collect vegetables from the garden since she was two.

Sophie is a very good potato picker. She first picks all the tubers and then discards the damaged ones.

These are put into a pail with other discarded vegetables and later cooked for our chickens.



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