Posted in Gardening at Home, Gardening at School, General, tagged Carnivorous Plants, Carnivorous plants for children, Carnivorous plants on your windowsill, gardening, Grow Carnivorous Plants, How to grow Carnivorous plants, Insect eating plants, Looking after Carnivorous plants, Pitcher Plant, recycle works, recycleworks, school gardening, School Projects, Sundew, Venus Fly Trap on August 30, 2012|
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Bank Holiday Monday was a washout (again) and there was no possibility of getting out in the garden so we decided on some retail therapy – a visit to a garden centre. When we got there Thomas disappeared into one of the heated greenhouses and found some Carnivorous plants; he was fascinated by them as were some of the other children. We bought a Venus Fly Trap (Dionaea) and a Sundew (Drosera), to add to the Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia) that we already have in the greenhouse at home.
Venus Fly Trap
The Venus Fly Trap (Dionaea) is perhaps the most well known carnivorous plant, its traps are made from special leaves that are folded in two with spines along the edges. Inside each trap there are three trigger hairs, two of these must be touched in succession for the trap to close catching its insect prey inside. The plant absorbs the nutrients from the insect and after about ten days the trap re-opens. It is not recommended that you make the traps close without an insect inside as this can weaken the plant.
The Sundew (Drosera) captures its prey in a totally different way, each of its leaves have lots of little hairs that look like they are covered in dew but this is actually glue, when an insect lands on them it gets stuck and is then absorbed by the plant.
The Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia) has another method of catching its prey. The leaves of the pitcher plant are shaped like a funnel with a hood over the top, the lip of the funnel is slippery, the insect lands on this and falls in, it is trapped inside by backward pointing hairs and cannot get out, then it is absorbed by the plant.
Place Carnivorous Plants in a light position, and keep them well watered with rainwater.
The next day Thomas took his plants to show his grandma and grandad and for them to ‘feed in their conservatory’ as there are a lot of flies in there!
I remember having a Venus Fly Trap when I was about Thomas’s age.
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Posted in Gardening at Home, Gardening at School, General, Seasonal Celebrations, tagged carlingford seed potatoes, christmas dinner, gardening in school, gardening with children, grow potatoes for christmas, grow potatoes for christmas dinner, grow your own, harvest potatoes at christmas, kids gardening, new potatoes for christmas, new potatoes for christmas dinner, potato growing bags, potato growing kit, potatoes in bags, recycle works, recycleworks, school gardening, School Projects on August 25, 2012|
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Delicious New Potatoes
Nothing beats the taste of freshly picked fruit and vegetables and the potato has got to be at the top of the list for taste in home grown versus supermarket vegetables, especially the new potato. I hate to mention Christmas in August, but why not spoil friends and family by serving up your own freshly harvested, home grown, new potatoes with your Christmas Dinner, they will be very impressed, and they make a great and healthier alternative to the traditional roast potato.
Carlingford Seed Potatoes
It might sound impossible ‘growing new potatoes in winter’ but it is very easy to do and they need very little attention, one of the easiest and most popular varieties to grow is Carlingford. To be able to harvest your potatoes at Christmas they need to be planted before the end of August, which doesn’t give you much time.
Potato Growing Bags
The best way to grow them is to plant them in potato bags or large containers in good vegetable compost. Once planted give them a good water, and place in a warm position outside where they will get off to a good start, make sure that they don’t dry out. As the weather turns colder protect the tops from any light frosts with fleece and then bring the bags/containers inside (greenhouse, polytunnel, porch, cold frame) before any damaging hard frosts and when the weather turns bad. The potato plants should have finished flowering after 12 weeks when they can either be harvested or you can cut the tops off and leave the potatoes in the compost until you need them. The benefits of growing them in bags or containers are that they can easily be moved indoors when the weather turns bad, it gives them extra protection from slugs and the harvested potatoes should be unmarked and look attractive.
Make sure that you grow enough, you don’t want to be short on Christmas Day, if you have a good crop they can be made into potato salad for your Boxing Day or New Year buffet.
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