Archive for May, 2010

Blackfly are regular visitors to our allotment and they tend to love the leaves of broad bean plants, causing infestation around the tips of the shoots. 
If left unabated they can restrict plant growth and harvesting quite severely.  To control blackfly try nipping out the broad bean shoot tips as soon as you notice any blackfly.  You can also spray with soapy water.
You may also notice small u-shaped notches being eaten out of your broad beans leaf edges during May and June.  These are caused by pea and bean weevils which emerge from the soil in early summer.  
They are fairly harmless however, and the plants usually continue to grow without any problems.  

For all things gardening, visit http://www.recycleworks.co.uk.





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Enormous thanks to everyone who got into the spirit of story telling and entered our April competition.  Some of your entries were heart warming, others funny …they were a delight to read.  Lydia Clarkson was the winner for her entry: 

“Fuchsias in flower… memories of grandad… my hero”  

But here are a few others which were close runners-up and we thought you might enjoy. 

“Seaside paddling…
 finding shells…
salty chips, perfect day”  

 Caroline Eccles from Accrington  

“We climbed the mountain,  No ice cream van!”  

Matthew Barnes from Carnforth 

“Muddy wellies,  

wiggly worms, 

 dirty water, 

happy children”  

Calvin Gear from Tonbridge 


“Chickens ate the daffodils but laid yellower eggs”  

Sallyanne Rose from Chatham 



“Walking for pleasure,  

no need for a coat”  

Emily Hutchinson from Harrogate   

“Walk to the swings to watch the grins”  

Sarah Walford from Hethersett 

“Slippy, slidy ice, wheeeeeeee, my friends and me”  

Morag Bruce from Carbost, Isle of Skye  

Thanks again to everyone who took part.  All of the runners-up featured here will receive a small pressie in the post from the Gardening With Children Team!

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 We love this Bee-Kind advice from Friends of the Earth so we thought we would share it with you.

The Friendly bumble bee is in decline all over Europe.  This is bad news as they pollinate a wide variety of the plants we eat.


Bumble bees often nest in compost heaps, so if you see some emerging from yours try to leave them in peace as much as possible – they sting only when provoked and die off naturally in autumn.

If you would like to receive regular top tips from Friends of the Earth on how to have a greener way of life, you will find all the information here.

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For something to make you smile during this spell of sunshine, do take a look at our gallery of lovely pictures and poems from Spetisbury Primary School in Dorset. 

They are all about spring time and are just beautiful …well done to all the children who took part. …And thank you to Samantha Kelly for sending them in. 

If you have a seasonal picture or poem you would like to see on our blog please send to charlotte@gardeningwithchildren.co.uk or post to Gardening With Children, Unit 1, Bee Mill, Ribchester, PR3 3XJ.  We always love to hear from you!


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If like most gardeners at the moment , you are struggling to plant out your young plants with all these chilly winds and cool nights, why not consider buying a polytunnel.  I have had the allotment for over 10 years and this year, with the installation of a polytunnel I feel like I have entered a whole new world of gardening! 

With the wet and chilly summer weather of recent years I have struggled with some of the sensitive vegetables, and last year once again, I had difficulty producing a crop of outdoor tomatoes.  So I thought that the investment in a polytunnel might improve our success and increase the range of plants we can grow

…And so far I have been delighted.  Like many fellow allotmenteers I have trays of early lettuces, rocket etc all ready to plant out.  But with continuing cool temperatures those who have been brave enough to put them out in the plot have found that unless the plants have been covered with a cloche or fleece, they have either died of fright at the inclement temperatures or have just stopped growing.

The plants in the polytunnel have been telling a very different story though.  Lettuces are almost ready to harvest, tomatoes are growing inches each week and seedlings are germinating literally overnight. 

Without the effects of the wind, temperatures inside have been ticking along nicely in the early twenties and during more prolonged periods of  sunshine have climbed even higher.  …And with no birds to peck about and no slug damage to date I am a complete polytunnel convert.

Lettuces growing outside and protected with cloches


The same lettuces grown in the polytunnel


Little Gem lettuces growing outside and protected with fleece

The same batch of Little Gem lettuces sown in the polytunnel

Plus polytunnels are a great space to do gardening with children.  I have a small table in the corner of mine where the children can make notes, draw pictures and take measurements of the plants.  …And when the weather is wet or windy activities can carry on unhindered!

…And for everything you have ever wanted to know about owning your own polytunnel, the Polytunnel Handbook is an indispensible guide.  Full of practical advice and handy hints it shows how your polytunnel can stay productive in every season.


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If you are just starting to put some of your tenderly cared-for seedlings outdoors for the first time this week take extra care with them. 

Along with many gardeners around the country, many of the allotment holders here have started planting out beans, rocket and early lettuces, but the ground frosts have been playing havoc, scorching the tender leaves, and in many instances killing them entirely – a bit of a disheartening beginning to the growing season!

 More ground frosts are forecast for this weekend, but when the seedlings are bursting out of their trays and clearly need transplanting, take a few precautions to protect them from the extremes in temperature and it will make all the difference.

 Try putting tender new plants in a Cold Frame to harden them off for a few days, and once transplanted into the ground covering them with these handy Cloche Tunnels will ensure they have plenty of light and space to grow but stay nice and protected from the cold nights.


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May is here and the first day of the month is traditionally known as May Day! 

So for this months’ competitions we thought it would be fun to have some quizes all about May.

For Families..

The winning family this month we receive a fabulous Kids Wheelbarrow and a beautifully crafted enamel Kids Watering Can.

So here are the questions

  1. Name 3 vegetables that you can sow in May
  2. Name a vegetable that can be harvested at its’ seasonal best in May
  3. Tell us about something you enjoy about this month in the garden or countryside around you, and if you like send us a photo too

For full details of the family competition click here.

For Schools..

This months’ lucky winning school will receive a great bundle of gardening prizes including a fabulous Kids Wheelbarrow, a beautifully crafted enamel Kids Watering Can, a copy of Grow It Eat It!, and a Gardener’s Apprentice Hand Fork and Hand Trowel.

So here are the questions

  1. Name the Roman Goddess of flowers whose festival was on May Day.
  2. Name a traditional May Day dance
  3. Name 3 flowers you might see in May
  4. Name a vegetable you can harvest in May
  5. Tell us your favourite thing about this month of the year

For full details of the school competition click here.

Email your entry to competitions@gardeningwithchildren.co.uk by 31st May 2010.  Or if you prefer, fill out the form here for families and here for schools and send it by post to:

School/Family Competition, Gardening With Children, Unit 1, Bee Mill, Ribchester, Preston.  PR3 3XJ

All the gardening prizes are provided by www.recycleworks.co.uk.

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