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Mathilde Burlion

I am a Certified Master Gardener. I offer workshops for 2-10 yo children accompanied by an adult on vegetable gardening and nature.

How long have you been doing what you do and how did you come to become a gardener advisor for families who want to develop their vegetable garden?

I started my first vegetable garden in 2017. From this first project I always wanted to combine vegetable garden and young children. I find there is nothing more wonderful than exploring the vegetable garden with a little one who counts the vegetables, looks for the one that is ripe and when he finds it, pulls us by the sleeve to show it to us beforehand to pick it delicately and savor it, or savagely bite into a barely ripe tomato as soon as your back is turned ...

 

I am a mother of 4 children and passionate about ecology, I aspire that the concepts of food autonomy, permaculture, regeneration, optimization of energy, space and time are known and better integrated by families who want to live from their vegetable garden.

I am currently an intern to become a master gardener in Middlesex County, NJ. This is a gardening certification recognized in all US states. Master gardeners are trained volunteers who participate in community gardening projects and assist individuals when they have specific questions for their garden.

And what about nature hikes?

I started the nature hikes in the fall of 2020 with the other families in the neighborhood. The school is online and the children are behind their screens a long time each day. We are fortunate to have beautiful parks and woods in the Princeton area. These outings are a bubble of oxygen for parents and children, an opportunity to rediscover the real world, to release the tensions accumulated during the day, to find some real social life so essential and finally to learn something. Nature is so fascinating. For example, when going out on mushrooms, we will spot mushrooms, we observe them from below and identify their dangerousness in the light of the information given at the beginning of the walk. Parents are excited to learn about the different types of mushrooms, and kids play mushroom hunting.

Who are your customers exactly for the vegetable garden?

I work with families who have young children. They are aware of the ecological issues of our time. They want to develop a vegetable garden to gain food autonomy and introduce their children to the art of gardening. They have little time, they are looking for efficient solutions. They are beginners and want to do well. They lack experience and knowledge in gardening. They reside on the east coast of the United States.

And for the hikes?

These are families who choose to come together for a trip that is out of the ordinary with a more educational aspect. It is about walking the path at the rhythm of the children, letting them discover and manipulate to satiety and in safety around a precise theme.

How are you different from other market players for the services you offer around vegetable gardens?

When I work with a family, children are welcome to participate. They learn the gardener's actions and take on responsibilities appropriate to their age. The vegetable garden becomes a family project where everyone participates and not an additional burden for parents.

We adopt the following principle: “the right plant in the right place”. This way we give ourselves a maximum of chances to succeed.

For the soil, we prefer seeds adapted to your soil and if the soil turns out to be of poor quality, I will direct you to solutions to improve it.

Regarding pests (fungi, insects, mammals), we monitor the plants very regularly. If problems appear, we try to keep them at an acceptable level by respecting the principles and practices of IPM (Integrated Pest Management). Thanks to IPM, the use of chemicals is very rare. IPM and permaculture are very close concepts.

What kind of personality do you work best with and what do you expect from me?

I work best with curious people who are not afraid to put their hands in the soil and who want to get involved. They seek to understand the interactions between the different elements of the environment. They are sensitive to the beauty and diversity of plants. They are not looking for a “straightforward” vegetable garden.

What types of people will this program NOT work for?

I only work with families who have young children, who want to gain partial food autonomy and involve their children in the vegetable garden.

What do you offer? 

An online or in-person gardening program if you live in the Princeton, NJ area. During the season, once every two weeks, you send me a video of your vegetable garden in which I can see what caught your attention (the what?) As well as the questions you or your children ask yourself (the why?). In the days that follow, we will see each other on skype or live to debrief and answer your questions. During the debriefing the interested children participate, they report their observations to me live. I offer you small activities to do with them or we do them directly on site. If necessary, I show you directly in video how to do it.

Does it really work?

Yes, it is a coaching for your veggie garden and nothing like having a coach to invest and learn effectively. My goal is to get you into the habit of taking care of your garden as a family little by little, regularly and efficiently to get the most out of it. You no longer spend hours looking on the Internet for the why and how, you are addressing me directly. You learn the right gestures directly and you involve your children. Thanks to my advice tailored to your specific situation, you get better harvests.

What results can I expect?

You get into the habit of taking good care of your garden and monitoring it regularly. After one season you are "trained". Together we find answers to your questions and we adapt the management of your vegetable garden according to what you observe in order to have as many beautiful vegetables as possible to harvest. As they see fit, your children participate and you can delegate certain tasks to them.

Can I phone your former clients to find out about their experience working with you?

Of course !

How quickly can I expect results?

The results are visible from the first session. Each time, you learn a little more about the interactions between the environment, the plants and the surrounding creatures. We find ways to make your plants do well and bear beautiful fruit.

What guarantee do I have to have a beautiful vegetable garden where my children are involved?

There is of course a part of humility, things that will work better than others but by monitoring regularly, by practicing IPM and by mastering the environment we'll give ourselves the best chances to obtain good harvests.

Children naturally care about what their parents are doing. We will make sure that they also have their small tasks to do in the vegetable garden and their small responsibilities.

Will I get my investment back in this coaching program?

At the moment, I work on a voluntary basis. I give you the value of my services and depending on the results you get with me and how satisfied you are, you can donate to me.

Is there a prerequisite?

To start a vegetable garden, the first thing to plant is a fence. The height and the type can vary depending on the surrounding fauna: deer, squirrels, rabbits, mice ... I can advise you on the fence to put in place but I do not install it myself.

By trusting everything I've read and heard about you, I know you're the one I want to learn from. What are my options to start working with you?

We make a first skype meeting of 1/2 hour to get to know each other, so that you can explain to me where you are, the difficulties you are encountering at the moment and the help you need. I'm listening to you, and we're seeing what we can do together. You leave supported and motivated for the rest of your project.​

If I'm not sure I'm ready to go, how can I use your services inexpensively to see if they are the right solutions for me?

At the moment, I work on a voluntary basis.

You can :

- make an appointment with me so that we can talk about your vegetable garden :)

OK, I'm ready to do this for myself, but I still have a few questions. Can I contact you?

You can contact me by email at the following address: poussepetitjardinier @ gmail.com