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Posts Tagged ‘gardening in school’

primrose

Although it may seem slow Spring is on its way, in our garden the frogs have been croaking, the buds on the early Clematis are nearly ready to open, the snowdrops are up and the Primroses are in flower.

Primroses have to be one of my favourite flowers; they bring back happy childhood memories of walks up the fields gathering small bunches for my mum – although picking them nowadays isn’t the done thing.

Primula Vulgaris is the British native Primrose that can be found growing in hedgerows or on banks in the wild, but it will also grow happily in gardens.

They prefer a well-drained soil and will thrive in clay, chalk, loam and sand; they will grow quite happily in semi-shade making them perfect to plant under hedges, trees and in a woodland setting as well as in a wildflower meadow.

Primroses can be grown from seed, these are sown in Autumn and remain dormant during the Winter months they will begin to grow when the weather warms up, alternatively you can buy them bare root to plant in Autumn or as pot grown plants which are available now to plant straight away. When primroses have become established they will form thick clumps that can be divided and replanted, ideally during September, they will also self seed naturally. Primroses thrive on leaf mould which can be incorporated when planting or used as a mulch around the plants.

Primroses provide an early source of nectar for Bees, Brimstone Butterflies and Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies they are also the food plant of the caterpillars of the rare Duke of Burgundy Butterfly.

Did you know?

  • The Primrose is the county flower of Devon.
  • Its name derives from the Latin ‘Prima Rosa’ meaning ‘first rose’ of the year although it is not a member of the rose family.
  • Since Victorian times, April 19 has been known as ‘Primrose Day’ it is the anniversary of the death of the former British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, the Primrose was his favourite flower and on this day every year they are placed at his statue in Westminster Abbey.

Primroses do not take up much space in your garden their pale lemon flowers are a glorious sight and their sweet delicate fragrance is a delight, they are well worth growing and a sign that Spring is on the way.

Gill

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Stewart Essential Heated Propagator 52cm

Propagator is essential if you want to get your seeds started earlier and to also ensure a good germination rate as they provide the correct temperature and humidity for your seeds, plants and cuttings to grow. If you already have a Propagator it is a good idea to plug it in and check that it is still working, if you haven’t got one I would highly recommend them they are very easy to use and take the guess work out of growing from seed.

Propagators are cheap to run, to make them as economical as possible keep them full while they are in use, replacing your germinated seeds with newly sown trays. Seeds do not all germinate at the same time so plan ahead, germination times are usually specified on the seed packets, plant slow-growing seeds first e.g. peppers and aubergines followed by tomatoes and herbs and then fast germinating seeds such as lettuce, salad leaves, pumpkins, courgettes and cucumbers.

Propagators are a worthy investment which will increase the germination success of your seeds, enable you to sow and grow earlier and to grow more varieties.

I wouldn’t be without my propagators I have two 52cm heated propagators which in spring are both full for quite a number of weeks, having two gives me that extra room to sow my seeds thinly and individually in pots, which avoids root disturbance when transplanting, and also to repeat sowings if germination has not been as successful as expected.

For more information on sowing seeds and using propagators click on the link below:

Sowing and Growing in a Propagator

Successful Seed Sowing

 

Win a Propagator

For a chance to win a propagator why not enter our two new free competitions in the School Zone and the Family Zone on the Gardening With Children website both include a selection of pots and trays to get you off to a good start.

For details of the School Zone Competition click here or for the Family Zone Competition click here.

Good Luck

Gill

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The days are shorter and the nights are colder, now is the time to think about our garden wildlife and give them a helping hand with a safe retreat to spend the winter months, why not enter our two free competitions on the Gardening With Children website for a chance to win Wildlife products for the Hedgehogs in your garden:

In the School Zone you could win a Hedgehog Pack containing:

Hogitat Hedgehog House

Wildlife World Hogitat Hedgehog House Habitat

Hedgehog Snack Bowl

Wildlife World Hedgehog Snack Feeding Bowl

220g pack of Hedgehog Food

Hedgehog Food

A field guide to Hedgehogs

Field Guide to Hedgehogs

To enter all you need to do is to find the hidden words in our Hedgehog Word Search the first correct entry drawn out of the hat will win.

For full details, The Hedgehog Word Search and an entry form click here, the closing date is Wednesday 30th November 2016.

 

In the Family Zone you could win a Hedgehog Pack containing:

An Igloo Hedgehog House

Wildlife World Hedgehog Igloo House Habitat Shelter

A Hedgehog Snack Bowl

Wildlife World Hedgehog Snack Feeding Bowl

220g pack of Hedgehog Food

Hedgehog Food

A field guide to Hedgehogs

Field Guide to Hedgehogs

To enter draw or paint a picture of a Hedgehog and give him/her a name and our favourite picture will win.

For full details and an entry form click here, the closing date is Wednesday 30th November 2016.

Good Luck

Gill

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Hedgehogs are unique creatures that we rarely see, they are a true gardeners friend eating lots of pests including slugs and snails, unfortunately their numbers are in decline. At this time of year we can help by putting out food (not bread or milk) so they gain the weight needed to see them through the winter and by providing them with a safe home to hibernate.

We have launched two new competitions on the Gardening With Children website, giving you the opportunity to win Wildlife products for the Hedgehogs in your garden:

 

In the School Zone you could win a Hedgehog Pack containing:

Hogitat Hedgehog House

Wildlife World Hogitat Hedgehog House Habitat

Hedgehog Snack Bowl

Wildlife World Hedgehog Snack Feeding Bowl

220g pack of Hedgehog Food

Hedgehog Food

A field guide to Hedgehogs

Field Guide to Hedgehogs

To enter all you need to do is to find the hidden words in our Hedgehog Word Search the first correct entry drawn out of the hat will win.

For full details, The Hedgehog Word Search and an entry form click here, the closing date is Wednesday 30th November 2016.

 

In the Family Zone you could win a Hedgehog Pack containing:

An Igloo Hedgehog House

Wildlife World Hedgehog Igloo House Habitat Shelter

A Hedgehog Snack Bowl

Wildlife World Hedgehog Snack Feeding Bowl

220g pack of Hedgehog Food

Hedgehog Food

A field guide to Hedgehogs

Field Guide to Hedgehogs

To enter draw or paint a picture of a Hedgehog and give him/her a name and our favourite picture will win.

For full details and an entry form click here, the closing date is Wednesday 30th November 2016.

Good Luck

Gill

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DSC03545

 

We may take trees for granted as they have just always been there, but the truth is we couldn’t live without them, trees:

Produce oxygen and clean the air

Trees absorb carbon dioxide, removing and storing the carbon whilst releasing the oxygen back into the air, in one year an acre of trees will absorb the same amount of carbon dioxide produced when you drive a car 26,000 miles; an acre of trees will also produce enough oxygen for 18 people. Trees also absorb and filter odour and pollutant gas particles from the air (nitrogen oxide, ammonia) by trapping them on their leaves and bark.

Produce and conserve water and prevent flooding and erosion

There would be no rain without trees, trees absorb water from the soil and release it through evapotranspiration back into the air, trees can be used to prevent flooding as they hold vast amounts of water which would otherwise run down hills and surge into rivers and towns, they reduce soil erosion as they break the force of the wind and rain on the earth and their roots hold the soil together.

Provide food and habit

Trees produce food (fruit, nuts) not just for ourselves but for birds and wildlife too, as well as offering an invaluable habitat to shelter, breed and nest, even the smallest tree can make a big difference.

Make us feel better

Studies have shown that hospital patients with views of trees from their windows get better faster and with less complications, children with ADHD have less symptoms when they are exposed to trees and nature aiding concentration and reducing mental fatigue and a walk in the woods works wonders improving our physical and mental health.

Bring communities together

Tree planting brings communities of all ages, cultures, genders and abilities together creating an enhanced environment in which to live and improving our quality of life.

 

If you are interested in planting trees to help wildlife or to enhance your local area The Woodland Trust are currently offering Schools and Community Groups the chance to apply for free trees for delivery in November 2016.

Communities and Schools can apply for free tree packs twice a year which will be sent out in March and November when the trees are dormant and ready to plant.

There is always a high demand for their tree packs, if you are interested in planting this Autumn apply early to avoid disappointment.

The closing date for Autumn applications is 7th September or upon full subscription.

If you are a School I would strongly advise that you apply asap before the end of this term, it would make a great Autumn project which all the children could get involved in.

For more information and how to apply click here.

Gill

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A big thank you to everyone who entered the March April Family Competition we had lots of entries, the winning entry was from Lily Fisher aged 7 from Exeter who correctly identified the Wild flowers, she has won a fantastic

Kids Wooden Raised Bed Growing Table

Kids Wooden Standing Raised Bed Growing Table

and a Selection of Seeds.

SCHOOL ZONE COMPETITION DEADLINE FRIDAY 27TH MAY

Don’t forget to enter the School Zone Competition time is running out for a chance to win a Wooden Raised Bed Kit for your School containing:

Twin Standard and Deep Tall Post Raised Bed

Wooden Raised Beds With Tall Posts - Deep

3 x 1.5m Cloche Hoops

12 Cloche Clips

Enviromesh Extra Fine Netting

THIS IS A FANTASTIC PRIZE WORTH OVER £100

What you have to do

Join our Club – become a member of the Gardening with Children Club its FREE, members receive special discounts and offers on gardening equipment and wildlife products as well as Seasonal Newsletters containing fun activities to make, cook and do and their own unique membership number which you will need to enter this competition.

NB As there is not much time to process new club applications and issue membership numbers before the competition closes, competition entries will be permitted from non club members who by entering this competition will automatically be made members and later issued with a membership number, please state ‘NEW MEMBER’ on the entry form.

Then answer the following questions

Why would you like to win the Wooden Raised Bed Kit for your School?

What would you grow in it?

Send in a photograph of something that you have grown or are growing at School.

For full details and an entry form click here, the closing date is Friday 27th May 2016.

Good Luck

Gill

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Johns Red Apple plot

This week is National Gardening Week (11-17 April 2016) it is also the Easter School holidays for many children, why not choose, buy and plant a fruit tree together, they are widely available online or better still visit a garden centre you never know what else you may find, or why not make it a School project; take photographs/draw, monitor and record its progress throughout the year, weigh and compare harvests and create and cook delicious dishes with your fruit.

Fruit Trees

There are many different types of fruit trees that you could choose e.g. Apple, Pear, Plum, Damson, Cherry and many varieties of each type, choosing a tree can be difficult, some of the main things to consider are the height and spread of the tree when it is fully grown, whether it is self-pollinating, if is it not and there are no other fruit trees nearby that will do the job you will have to plant another tree to pollinate it and finally choose a tree that bears fruit that you like to eat, your tree can live up to 60 years.

Fruit trees are either supplied bare root or container grown, bare root plants ideally should be planted October-April but not when the ground is waterlogged or frozen, container grown trees can be planted at any time of the year if the weather is suitable.

Bare Root – Dig a hole wide enough to allow the roots to be spread out evenly and to the same depth at what the tree was previously grown at, it is important that the graft is above ground level. Drive a stake at least 30cm below the bottom of the planting hole, it should be on the side from which the prevailing wind blows. Place your tree in the hole, spread out and sprinkle the roots with Mycorrhizal Funghi (see below), the stem should be about 8cm away from the stake. Half fill the hole with the soil mixed with compost, lightly shake the tree to allow the soil to get between the roots and firm down gently, add the remaining soil/compost up to the original level and firm in again gently with your foot to remove any air pockets, lightly loosen the surface building the soil up slightly around the stem and falling away to create a shallow ring to retain water, water well. Fix a tree tie near the top of the stake, check regularly to make sure that it is not too tight or rubbing the stem, water well in dry conditions until established.

Container grown – Dig a hole 8-10cm wider than the container and deep enough to ensure that the level of the soil ball is approx. 2cm below the surface after planting. Water the tree well before planting, sprinkle Mycorrhizal Funghi (see below) at the bottom of your planting hole, place your tree in the hole fill around the sides with the soil mixed with compost and firm down gently with your foot to remove any air pockets, loosen the surface to create a shallow ring around the tree to retain water, water well. Drive a stake into the ground outside your planting hole on the side from which the prevailing wind blows at an angle of 45 degrees and fix a tree tie to the stake and stem, check regularly to make sure that it is not too tight or rubbing the stem, water well in dry conditions until established.

Mycorrhizal fungi

Mycorrhizal funghi is a natural organism that has been present in the soil for thousands of years it has a symbiotic relationship with plants enabling them to extract nutrients and hold onto water, especially in poor soil conditions, by extending the plants natural root system. One application, when planting, is all that you will need, your plants will benefit from better growth, a healthier and denser root system which will absorb nutrients faster and more efficiently, more flowers and fruit, they will establish faster after planting and will be able to cope with drought better. When planting, Mycorrhizal funghi should be applied directly on the roots or at the bottom of the planting hole so that it comes into contact with the roots.

Once you have planted your tree why not give it a name I have just planted a new fruit tree on my allotment, her name is ‘Victoria Plum’.

Have fun

Gill

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