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Posts Tagged ‘gardening in autumn’

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!

Charlotte

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We recently had an enquiry from Paula in Yorkshire.  Here is her question along with our advice.

“I have got to take a class of Key Stage 4 pupils with learning difficulties for a modular allotment session each week during the first half of the autumn term.  What can I grow in that limited time?”

Hi Paula,
 
 It’s always tricky planning gardening activities with children when you have only a few weeks to see the results. 
 
Bulbs
There are the obvious things to plant such as bulbs.  Outdoor varieties can be planted straight into the ground and provide a nice surprise in early spring when the rest of the garden is still dormant.  The children can also plant their own bulb in a pot to take home.  Indoor varieties of hyacinths, narcissi and crocus are nice.  Always choose good quality bulbs and ones particularly suited to being forced indoors – the labels will tell you.
 
 
Then take a pot, place a few bits of broken crocks or small stones at the bottom for drainage, half fill with moist compost and then position the bulbs so that the top of the bulb reaches the rim of the container.  Water thoroughly from the top.
 
Then put in a cool dark place such as an unheated garage.  Keep the soil moist and in 12 to 16 weeks when the shoots are 2 to 3 inches above the pot move the pots to an unheated space and place in indirect light.  Don’t allow them to dry out.  In a week or two the pots can then be given to the children to take home where they can put them on a sunny window sill and enjoy the flowers.
 
Growing Herbs on Window Sills
Pots of herbs can be sown in  moist compost and cultivated indoors.  Parsley and Sweet Fennel in particular are successful in autumn.  This herb pot holds 4 herbs and has its own self watering systems which is handy. 
 
Sowing Winter Salads
Our selection of winter salad seeds can be planted now and will grow all through winter months.
 
Making Leaf Mould Compost
Kids always love raking leaves.  You can collect them into one of these leaf mould composters and next year you will have a great soil improver for your raised beds
 
 
Good luck with your half term of gardening

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