1) Garden Diary - click here to see our gardening journey!
Gardening club meets over lunch time and takes place most days of the week. We currently have a small group of children from each year group - the plan is that each group lasts for a half term and all interested pupils have a chance to attend.
Each week the children meet with myself and any adults who are available to help (normally Mrs Jackson, Mrs Burt and Mrs Brown)- put on overalls and gloves and then get cracking!
We try to have the children doing everything - they are trained in safe use of tools within Forest School sessions and we don't use harmful chemicals.
Some members of our Gardening Clubs
Well, after being rained off for a couple of weeks we have finally been able to get back into the school garden and the children have been busy moving compost onto the beds ready foe the growing season. Last season we didn't put enough on (in my opinion) and so this year we are making sure there is plenty of new nurishment to feed the seedlings.
This week we have been busy transplanting the last of our winter kale plants out into the beds - hope we didn't leave it too late but we will see!
The children really enjoyed emptying the Hotbin and transferring the compost to a dalek bin so we can leave it to rest for a while. Fingers crossed it will be full of great nutrients when we are ready to use it in the spring. Our final task for this week has been to spread some of our previously homemade compost onto the beds as a covering for winter. Hopefully, all the organisms will work their magic and the beds will be good quality when we come to plant into them in the new growing season.
Well the rain stopped play last week so this week there was a little bit of catching up to do. We have decided to cover some areas of the beds with cardboard again as we didn't really do it thick enough last time and quite a few weeds have come through.
We also spend some time harvesting the last of our beetroot as well as our leeks and some spinach - the children love harvesting!
Well this is the final week of the first half term and it certainly has been a busy one! We have been busy preparing the ground for some over wintered onions and garlic. We have also been pulling up the final carrots of the season which the children really enjoyed!
This week we have continued with weeding our brasicca beds and it's now looking great and ready for our kale plants to be transferred into. The Hotbins are once again at temperature and the children have enjoyed chopping up the old raspberry canes and feeding the bins!
In assembly we announced who our new Head Gardeners are for this term and it is hoped that once they are trained, they will be able to spread their gardening wisdom on to other children.
This week we have been finishing off the weeding in our brassica bed and I'm pleased to say we are nearly there! We harvested the last of our tomatoes, which for our first year, have done really well. The stalks etc were all chopped up for the compost pile. The positive thing is that we now have plenty of greens to get our Hotbin started again.
As an experiment, we have planted some old seed potatoes in our polytunnel. Whilst we are not expecting great things, we decided it was better to experiment than just throw away! Watch this space for updates in the future :)
Now that school has settled back into a routine after the summer break, gardening club is once again up and running. We have been busy weeding the beds which were neglected a little of the holidays and cutting up small branches for our compost.
We have also been planting out some last minute Spinach as well as Kalellets and Sprouts.
Well this week has been our first week back after the summer break and our main priority is to weed the beds so we can plant out our next set of winter brassicas. We think that the new No-Dig beds did not have a deep enough layer of compost initially because we have a lot of weed growth over summer - not helped by the amount of rain we have had.
The autumn term Gardening Club groups will soon be chosen and they will begin learning all about our No Dig system and how we produce compost using our Hotbins.
Well this is our final gardening post for this academic year and what a first year it has been! It was great to be able to harvest our calabrese and our school cook was really happy to cook it for the children as it is a vegetable they struggle to get due to the high cost!
We have also started harvesting our Globo onions and leaving them to dry out in the poly tunnel.
Well this is our penultimate week and we have been very busy! The children really enjoyed picking some sweet peas and discussing the different between the peas and the flowers. We also harvested a number of beetroot, some black currants and our very first calabrese - which the children were very exciting to spot!
Our school cook will be serving our lovely harvest for lunch tomorrow!
The final job for this week was to weed out the remaining cabbage bed - as you can see we have all sorts growing in this bed!
The flowers that we planted in Gardening Club are now beginning to bloom around the school grounds! I'm sure you will agree that they look absolutely lovely.
It has been another very busy week in our school garden. We harvested the majority of our cabbages and lettuce and sold them to parents after school - this is something the children really enjoying doing and it helps them to understand why maths is so important!
Once the cabbages and lettuce were out, it was a quick turn around to get our remaining tomatoes out of the poly tunnel and into the ground and all staked out. Fingers crossed for some nice sunshine, rain and a lovely harvest!
Today we harvested the first bucket of our new potatoes. The children were so excited each time they found another spud in the ground!
In the empty potato buckets we then began to plant on the leeks that were sat in the poly tunnel waiting to go out.
We gave the potatoes to Michelle, our school cook, who prepared them the same day for the children to eat at lunchtime - they looked and tasted delicious!
The children are really enjoying harvesting the food they have grown from seed. These are our first radishes and lettuce leaves which our school cook will use today!
As we sold so many of our seedlings at our recent Open Garden event, it's time to pot on some more - some for the garden and some for selling.
Well we are now into June and still busy planting out crops like beans and beetroot.
We also have a plant sale which runs every Tuesday straight after school which has proven to be a great success and the children are really enjoying their learning experiences!
This week we have been very busy preparing for our very first Open Garden and plant sale. The children did a great job at washing the poly tunnel to make sure we get maximum light through.
We have also been busy weeding the onion bed
On Tuesday we fed the Hotbin which was running at 60 degrees! We also made a planter for the flowers that we have been growing.
on Wednesday, we split into teams…one team made more plastic linkabord planters, one team watered the potatoes (Jacob and Teddy had a good workout collecting water from the tank and pouring it onto each tub in turn) and the final group transplanted flowers from their initial sowing into fabric pouches ready for sale on the 23rd May at the Open Garden event.
On Tuesday, we part emptied the Hotbin, then spent time weeding the carrot bed. Finally we planted a few ‘All Year Round’ lettuce plants and covered them with fleece.
We had a new group starting today. After a quick tour of the garden we uncovered the fleeced beds following the Easter break. We removed the weeds that had grown and then recovered the beds.
We also planted our first lettuce plants and then covered them in fleece.
The vegetables in the polytunnel are struggling with the variability of the temperatures with a range between a high of 38 degrees and as low as -2 overnight!
The Wednesday group were really proud today when they presented our cook , Michelle, with the first harvest of the season….radishes.
On Friday, we planted some first early potatoes directly into the beds because we would like to compare how well they do when compared to those grown in tubs.
Mr Preston created a netted area that we can plant cabbages and calabrese into very soon but for now we are using it as a ‘rest area’ for young plants that will benefit from cooler temperatures and some rainfall.
Thank you to Charlie and Max for their help on Friday after school.
This week we have managed to create more heat in the hotbin…it is running around 50 degrees.
On Monday we started laying the path that separates the new no-dig beds….covering cardboard with wood chippings. On Thursday the Forest School children finished the paths.
We also planted 7 tubs of first early potatoes on Wednesday…the varieties are Casablanca and Swift (we have others to plant later on, including second earlies).
Mrs Farah and her group did a great job - during Forest School they finished the parhs, planted lots of potatoes, onions and radishes!
During their Forest School day on Friday, Mrs Drust and her class started the creation of new No-Dig bed. They used cardboard to suppress the grass and weeds, then covered this with compost.
Gardening club then carried on the task. On Friday, the next Forest School group will continue with the task.
Once finished, the beds are ready to plant!
This week at Gardening Club we were busy sowing a range of seeds including:
Lettuce - Gourmet loose leaf mix
Lettuce - All year round
Tomatoes - Crimson Crush
Tomatoes - Gigantamo
Tomatoes - Big Daddy
Beetroot - Boltardy
Radish - French breakfast
The children thoroughly enjoyed it and can't wait to see them geminate, so fingers crossed!
This week we started to learn all about composting! With the help of our school kitchen staff, we have set up a system to collect the waste food we need such as carrot and potato peelings. This is then mixed with brown waste such as shredded cardboard and small broken down wood chippings. Finally, it is all added to our Hotbin to let nature begin the process of composting!
This week we had a quick update on our onion seedlings which are just coming through.
The rest of the session was spent discussing the fabulous new resources that we have had delivered including watering cans, tubs for growing potatoes, trays and seed modules, a seed storage box (see picture below) and lots of seeds.
We were also very lucky to receive two copies of Charles Dowding's latest book - 'No Dig Children's Gardening Book' which he has kindly donated to school. The children are passing the book around them and eagerly awaiting their turn!
This week we began our preparation for the coming season by starting to weed the planting beds and mulching up our raspberry plants.
We also checked on the onion seeds that we planted last week and they are just starting to poke through!
This week we sowed the first seeds of the year! We multi-sowed two types of onions (Globo and Red Brunswick) - seeds per module. The children took turns to sow the seeds so all had hands-on experience - it is quite tricky and involves quite a bit of fine-motor control due to the tiny seeds being handled.
We also sowed chilli peppers.
All of the seeds were placed on a heat mat that is set to around 16 degrees. Hopefully we will soon see signs of life!
We also learned how to make paper pots out of newspaper. We will deliberately sow more seeds than we have room for and sell the surplus in order to cover the cost of our seeds.
This week was the first session. After putting on our overalls and gloves, we worked on a range of tasks for about 30 minutes.
Cut back raspberries and blackberries
Emptied the Hotbin composter (and discussed the idea of composting)
Cleared and weeded one of the vegetable beds (once we fully incorporate no dig techniques, the need for weeding will be greatly reduced)
Next week we hope to sow our first seeds of the season (onions), mulch the raspberries and blackberries with compost and being to 'chit' our potato tubers.