Alison, who is the gardening volunteer parent for a school in Dorset, got in touch this week with Linda via www.gardeningwithchildren.co.uk to ask advice on what to plant in their small plot for Autumn term at school.
Well we thought it was worth sharing Linda’s advice as she has some really good choices and tips to think about.
Vegetable seeds to sow now:
Broad bean`Stereo` or `Super Aqualuce`, Chard `Bright Lights`, Pea `Feltham First`, Spinach `Bordeaux` or `Dominant`
Then Linda suggested something I am guilty of not doing, read the seed packets carefully as some of these may need heat to germinate. Alternatively you could purchase small plants to over winter.
Salad crops to sow now
Lettuce `Green Oak Leaf` or `Cocarde`, Mustard, Mizuna, Rocket
Herbs to sow now and over winter
Chervil, Coriander, Par-cel, Parsley
Flower seeds to sow now which will flower next year
Antirrhinum, Calendula, Centaurea, Eschscholzia, Papaver somniferum, Pansy viola `Heartsease`
If you want instant flowering plants you may have to purchase what is available locally. Perennials such as Aster, Crocosmia, Helianthus, Rudbeckias and Dahlias should be available.
You say that you only have a small plot but any areas not planted could be sown with green manure. This is easy for the children to do and will help improve the soil structure, fertilize and prevent leaching of nutrients ready for spring planting. Try Field beans, Rye or Tares at this time of year though make sure that these are dug in before they flower.
I would recommend that you purchase some bare root wall flowers, when available, these will provide long lasting colour in the border or between vegetables early on in the season.
Success will also be weather dependant though in Dorset you should be ok. Ensure that the soil the plants are in is free draining to avoid water logging. Good Luck and I hope this has given you food for thought!
Thank you Linda there is something in there for me to get on with too!