Archive for November, 2010

If you are involved with a community group that’s looking for ways to  fund improvements to green, open spaces and to enhance people’s quality of life you may be interested in the Community Spaces Scheme.

Funded by the National Lottery, Community Spaces is a £57.5 million open grants programme that is managed by Groundwork UK’s Open Grants Department.  Grants start at £10,000 and go up to £49,999.  But be aware – the scheme closes on 7th January 2011 at 12 noon so if you think you are eligible get started on your application as soon as you can. 

Information about the scheme and who can apply can be found here.  Previously funded projects include wildlife community gardens, sensory gardens, community allotment schemes, park improvements and pathways projects.

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This week we had a question from Johanna which we thought we would share – along with our advice…

Dear Gardening With Children,

Each of our classrooms has a large flower bed which has just been tidied up.  What should we plant next or should we wait till next year?  Are we too late to plant winter salad or rocket.  How about bulbs?

Here is our reply –

Hello there Johanna
Thanks for your question.  With all the cold and frosty weather it is probably a little bit late to sow winter salads unless you have a polytunnel.

You could plant bulbs now and they will give a lovely display of early spring colour. For our favourite varieties click here

It is worth bearing in mind that some varieties of bulb will not flower until later in the spring though, so if you are planning to sow early vegetables it may be best not to sow bulbs in every bed. There is something magical about bulbs though – the children plant them, forget them and then weeks or months later a beautiful display of flowers appear.

Viola and wallflower plants can also be planted now. They are available at local garden centres and will flower right through the winter months.

If you would like to sow a vegetable at this time of year broad beans can be planted now and will be ready to harvest earlier than spring sown varieties. You will need to buy an autumn sowing variety though.

…And its worth remembering, if you want to give seedlings a headstart in the new year, begin germinating seeds in propagators on the classroom windowsills. 

I hope this helps – happy gardening!


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Huge thanks to everyone who took part in our October competitions.  The word search proved to be a hugely popular indoor activity for lots of gardening clubs and many of the pumpkin recipes were just delicious!

…The first correct word search entry out of the hat was from the gardening club at More Park R.C Primary School in Kent.  Congratulations to you all your bird feeding prizes are on their way to you.  We do hope you enjoy feeding the birds at your school over the winter months.

Our favourite pumpkin recipe came from Ileana Fernandes in Slough.  Congratulations Ileana for a truly yummy entry.  Below is her recipe for pumpkin, ricotta and pesto lasagne. 

We have found that one of the secrets to a good recipe is some fresh herbs to complement the other ingredients.  For everything you need to grow your own herbs on a windowsill take a look here.

Pumpkin peeled and cut into cubes
Grated Garlic Cloves
Dash of Olive Oil


  1. Roast the cubed pumpkin, mushrooms, onions and grated garlic cloves with a little olive oil and seasoning for around 30 to 40 minutes until soft and caramelised
  2. Meanwhile prepare the ricotta sauce by mixing 2 tubs of ricotta with a little milk to thin it out
  3. Blend some fresh basil with olive oil and a clove of garlic and then add to the ricotta
  4. Mix well and season to taste
  5. When the vegetables are cooked layer them on the bottom of a dish and follow with lasagne sheets
  6. For a more intense basil flavour add some more pesto or fresh basil leaves on top of each pasta sheet layer
  7. Add some ricotta mixture on top and continue to layer in this fashion
  8. Finally mix the remainder of the ricotta sauce with a little more milk to make a more runny texture and pour over the top lasagne sheet
  9. Add grated cheese over the top and cook in the oven for 20 to 3o minutes
  10. Serve with fresh green salad drizzled with pesto – DELICIOUS!

If you would like the chance to win a bird bath, a wooden bird table and some bird feed mix why not enter our family competition for November 2010.  …And if you are from a school have a go at our school competition where you could win a Recycling DVD, a leaf mould composter and a bottle of compost magic!  The closing date for both competitions is 30th November 2010 so get your entries to us as soon as you can!

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A bright and blustery autumn day is the perfect time to go outside and plant bulbs with children.  …And once the fun

of planting them is over, the wonderful thing about bulbs is that they are completely forgotten about until the depths of winter or early spring when they begin to come to life.

…And you don’t even need a container or specially cultivated area to plant them.  Bulbs will do well in lawns, under trees and at the bottom of hedges.


When sowing, adults can use the handy Bulb Planter to create the holes.  Simply by pushing the planter into the soil and twisting, this clever invention makes a hole that is ideal for planting bulbs in.  The little hands can then follow behind popping the bulbs in. 


The Bulb Planter then releases the plug of soil you have just removed – ready for placing on top of the newly planted bulbs.

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As I cycled up the road this morning the autumn leaves were a spectacular sight, and in just a few weeks only bare branches and twigs will remain as we move into winter.  …The wonderfully changing nature of the seasons.

So for this months competitions we would like to know about yours and the childrens experiences of autumn captured in a few words, a poem, a photo, a leaf picture, a drawing…whatever grabs the imagination!  For all the details go here for schools and here for families.

As always we have some great prizes to give away to the winners including an FSC wooden bird table, a hanging bird bath, high quality bird food, a leaf mould composter and a Recycling DVD which is a brilliant educational resource for schools. 

…And remember the closing date is 30 November 2010.  Good Luck!

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Here at Gardening With Children we are always inspired to hear about your school and community projects.  From starting up a gardening club to creating a community wildlife garden or even developing a school farm.

And for any project to succeed it seems to need a little bit of vision, heaps of enthusiasm and also very often some financial help. 

That is why we have been working hard to find out about the funding that is out there for your school projects. 

There are many, many places to go for funding  and we have details of some of the main providers here so please do take a look.

When deciding on which funds to apply for, its important to check that your project fits well with the fund providers aims and objectives, as this way your chances of success will be so much better.

 This week we are focusing on the Ernest Cook Trust. 

The Trust is one of the Uk’s leading educational charities and has a strong ethos of learning from the land.  It has a rolling programme of grant aid which falls into either the large grants programme for projects costing over £4,000 and the small programme for projects costing up to £4,000. 

Some of the projects supported to date have provided garden starter kits, school weather stations, school chicken runs and chickens, wildlife goodies, arts workshops and much more.

For all the details on how to apply for a grant visit http://www.ernestcooktrust.org.uk/index.html.

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