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Archive for March, 2011

Harvesting the first crop of new potatoes was one of the most exciting gardening activities in our school garden last summer.  The children were so excited as we dug through the soil to find a wonderful crop of creamy new potatoes underneath.

For a delicious, early crop of your own get your potato bags established this week.  Here are all the details of what you need and how to get started.

How to Grow Potatoes in a Potato Bag

Equipment

Potato Bag
5 Seed Potatoes
Trowel
40L Good quality multi purpose compost
Watering Can

 
What to do

1. Take the potato bag and place a layer of drainage material such as small stones on the bottom of the bag

2. Next add approximately 15 cm of good quality potting compost

3. On top of this layer place 2 or 3 seed potatoes, equally spaced out and around 15cm from the edge of the bag

4. Add another 10 cm layer of good quality potting compost

5. Place another 2 or 3 seed potatoes on top of this layer

6. Cover with another 10 cm of compost
 
Hints & Tips

• Place the potato bag in sheltered sunny spot

• Always ensure there is a good covering of soil on the top of growing tubers, as daylight turns the potatoes green, and they are then poisonous

• If you want your potatoes to have enough space to grow to a decent size don’t plant more than 5 potatoes per bag

• On cold nights cover the bag with some protective fleece to prevent frost damage

• Water well – around a gallon of water per plant per day is recommended

• When the tops of the plants begin to grow, use canes to support them

• When flower buds begin to appear take heart – it’s a sign that the tubers are starting to grow.

• Harvest after around 10 – 12 weeks

• Watch out for potato blight. Signs include black or brown patches appearing on the leaves. The plants then die off and the tubers will also be affected.

 

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Thanks to everyone who entered our Signs of Spring Competition in February.  We had lots of beautiful entries and judging was a very difficult task!
But after lots of deliberation Drayton Community Infant School won the prize for best school entry. 
Their entry included some great pictures and thoughtful words on the subject of Spring…. and what we really loved about this entry was the way that the children really captured the spirit of spring in their words.  Well done to everyone who took part – your gardening goodies are on the way! 

 

“I like the sound of birds singing” – Ella

“Spring is hearing lawn mowers” – Saskia

”I like the sight of the sun coming out in spring” – Hussein

“I like the flowers growing in spring” – Alina

”I like the feeling of the air” – Daisy

 

“Spring is new baby lambs” – Evie

”I like the sound of the birds feeding their babies” – Mia

”I can smell the cooking at my nannys, when I play outside” – Eleanor

“I like the sound of children running in the park” – Nathan

”Spring is birds tweeting” – Tom



“I like playing in the fresh air” – Alfie

””I can touch the new furry leaves” – Maddic

”I like thinking about ice cream”

I can see squirrels digging for their food” – Oscar



“I like the sight of catkins hanging off the trees” – Jessica

“I can smell flowers, with their pretty colours”

”I like the sound of nature” – James

”Spring is playing outside in the sunshine” – Megan

“I like the sound of the wind” – Louise

Maisie Warner was our Family Competition winner.  Here is her lovely picture of what spring means to her.  …Well done Maisie your prizes are on the way!
 

 

Because we loved so many of the entries this time around we have selected some runner-ups who will all receive a little prize in the post from us.  Their work will be appearing on the website over the coming weeks and months so look out for that.

They are Amala and Regan Merry, St Michaels C.E Primary School, Wookey Primary School, Escrick C.E Primary School, John Willmott School and Fairlands Primary School.  Thanks to everyone who entered.

And if you would like to have fun with our Signs of Spring Competitions all the details of how to enter can be found at Family Zone Competition and the School Zone Competition. The prizes include raised beds, books, tools and seeds!

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If you are looking for funding for your gardening project and have a Waitrose store nearby you might be interested in the Waitrose Community Matters scheme.

It is designed to help put a share of Waitrose profits back into local communities which is done by supporting three local charities or good causes each month. 

This includes welfare organisations, community groups and schools.

Since its launch in 2008,it has donated over £3 million to a wide range of charities and community groups.

Each Waitrose branch has £1000.00 per month which is divided proportionally between three nominated local organisations.

If you would like to nominate your organisation, why not pick up a nomination form from the Customer Service Welcome Desk at your local branch.

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March is here, the days are getting that little bit longer, the bulbs are beginning to flower and the growing season is upon us. 

We hope you are beginning to plan your garden projects for this year… 

So to get your gardening season off to a head start, why not entry this months gardening competitions.  They are fun and educational to do and if you send your entry to us by 31st March 2011 you could win one of our fabulous prizes. 

For all the details click here for families and here for schools.  Good luck and happy gardening!!

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