Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Week 7

The last meeting of April, and it's another beautiful day. We had hoped to have a mass planting session in the Parent's Room, but our large bag of compost hadn't arrived. Fortunately, we had a back-up plan.

The potatoes we planted last week have already begun to sprout leaves. We need to keep covering the 'haulms' with compost to create more potatoes, and of course the watering needs to be done.


With weather as warm and glorious as it has been over the last week or so, it's hard to believe it's still only Spring. These stunning double-daffodils are quick to remind us.

We did manage to get some of the seeds sown, but these have had to be put into the coldframe in the Wildlife Garden as we haven't had our greenhouse erected yet (and mine is full-to-bursting)

We concentrated today on sowing sweet peas, sunflowers and pumpkins. The latter we hope will feature in the school's Harvest Festival and Halloween Disco.

Pumpkin - Jack O'Lantern


This cheeky chappy shows us how hard the hanging baskets have been working over the last few months. In the next few, they will be replaced with summer bedding. Lets hope they have just as lovely weather as the Pansies have enjoyed.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Week 6

The humble potato. Baked or mashed, chipped or boiled, there are very few children who can't be tempted to eat some form of potato - even if it is just a bag of crips!

Today our Busy Beez were back, refreshed and raring to get their hands dirty, and there were potatoes to be planted.

It only seemed like yesterday that our Beez were sifting through the bag of seed potatoes from the Morrisons 'Lets Grow' scheme, choosing the best to chit, and now here they are with lovely green shoots.

The Busy Beez filled the bottom of each of the four containers with some compost, and they chose five potatoes to go into the potato planters, and three in each of the large pots.

Another layer of compost to cover the potato leaves (or haulms) is then added. 
As the foliage starts to grow, we shall add more compost to 'earth up'. This will not only help to protect from late frosts, but also encourage more side shoots to develop, and thus create more potatoes. We will continue 'earthing up' until we reach the top of the container.

Time for a bit of fun

Before watering to settle the compost.

All being well, we will have lots of tasty potatoes to bake, chip, mash and boil by the end of the summer.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Week 5

Hardy Geraniums are one of the most used plants in many gardens, and the gardens in Shooter's Grove are no exception. They are happy in sun or part shade, and will cope with poor soil. In some lovely colourways from white to blue to magenta, often with a contrasting 'eye', these herbacious perennials are not to be confused with the 'bedding Geranium' or to use it's correct title, Pelargonium, which will need protection over winter.

Today, we trimmed back last years untidy foliage in the gardens to expose lovely fresh new shoots of not only our Hardy Geraniums, but our large clumps of Crocosmias too.

We lifted part of the largest Hardy Geranuim, and divided this huge chunk into four pieces, each with some healthy roots and shoots. Two were replanted at the opposite end of the same bed, one in the bed by the offices, and the last in top bed by the carpark. The latter will hopefully drape theatrically through the railings.

The overgrown Jasmine by the offices also received a good chop, but for now, the topmost part is well out of reach for my short arms, and will require a ladder, and someone with a head for heights!
And lastly, the Cotoneaster in the Juniors had a bit of a trim to keep it within it's alloted space.

The daffodils are still blooming their socks off all around the school, and the Juniors flowerbed is awash with a sea of blue Muscari, or 'Grape Hyacinth'. What a sight to greet the staff and pupils next week when the summer term begins.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Week 4

The growing doesn't stop for the Easter holidays. I took the trays of seeds home to care for in my greenhouse, as our new one at school hasn't been erected yet.

On the left here we have the lettuce, which although today have been thinned a little, they will clearly need thinning at least once more, but that will be a job when the seedlings return to school.
On the right is the tray of Marigolds which are just starting to appear.

This lone little seedling is one of the beans tentatively emerging from it's nice warm toilet-roll-tube home. I'm confident it's siblings will soon join it.
There are of course Nasturtiums yet to germinate.

The Busy Beez have had a delivery today from the BBC who are again running their 'Dig In' campaign. Four packets of Grow Your Own Grub seeds arrived, along with stickers and booklet.

We have Salad Leaves, French Beans, Courgettes and Carrots. All are suitable for growing in pots and containers.
The BBC's Dig In campaign isn't just for school or community groups, these seed-growing packs are available for encouraging families to grow veg at home too.