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Posts Tagged ‘gardening in school’

Wooden Raised Beds are perfect for growing fruit, herbs and vegetables, they provide good drainage, can be filled with good quality compost, will easily accommodate fleece, film and netting to protect your crops and are at a height that makes sowing, planting, harvesting and watering easier.

We have launched two new competitions on the Gardening With Children website, giving you the opportunity to win Wooden Raised Beds for your garden:

In the School Zone you could win a Wooden Raised Bed Kit 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

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.

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 at School.

For full details and an entry form click here, the closing date is Friday 27th May 2106.

In the Family Zone/Kids Zone you have the chance to win a fabulous

Kids Wooden Raised Bed Growing Table (one supplied)

Kids Wooden Standing Raised Bed Growing Table

It is the perfect size and height for younger children to have their own real vegetable and flower garden and is ideal for growing Strawberries, Herbs, Lettuce, Spring Onion, Radish, baby vegetables including Beetroot, Turnip and Round Carrots and some of your favourite flowers.

and a Selection of Seeds (Beetroot, Carrot, Sorrel, Strawberry)

What you have to do

Correctly name the Spring flowers pictured on the competition page using the following options:

Catkins          Pussy Willow          Daffodil           Bluebell           Primrose

For full details, an entry form and to view the pictures click here, the closing date is Saturday 30th April 2016.

Good Luck

Gill

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Small Tortoiseshell

They say that counting sheep is relaxing and helps you to go to sleep, why not do something which is equally as relaxing that is also fun, educational and very important – why not count butterflies?

This year ‘The Big Butterfly Count’ runs from 17th July – 9th August and the organisers Butterfly Conservation are asking as many people as possible to get involved and count butterflies and moths for 15 minutes during bright (preferably sunny) weather, good places to count are in gardens, meadows, parks and woods.

If you are counting from a fixed position in your garden, count the maximum number of each species that you can see at a single time. For example, if you see three Red Admirals together on a buddleia bush then record it as 3, but if you only see one at a time then record it as 1 (even if you saw one on several occasions) – this is so that you don’t count the same butterfly more than once . If you are doing your count on a walk, then simply total up the number of each butterfly species that you see during the 15 minutes.

To make things easier you can download a handy identification chart from their website to help you work out which butterflies you have seen.

Elephant Hawk Moth

Elephant Hawk Moth

The ‘Big Butterfly Count’ is a nationwide survey aimed at assessing the health of our environment. It was launched in 2010 and has rapidly become the world’s biggest survey of butterflies. Over 44,000 people took part in 2014, counting almost 560,000 individual butterflies and day-flying moths across the UK.

Butterflies react very quickly to change in their environment which makes them excellent biodiversity indicators. Butterfly declines are an early warning for other wildlife losses. The count also assists in identifying trends in species, this will help to plan how to protect butterflies from extinction, as well as understand the effect of climate change on wildlife.

You can submit separate records for different dates at the same place, and for different places. Your count is useful even if you do not see any butterflies or moths.

Once you have done your count submit your records online before the end of August.

There is a great results map showing sightings that have already been submitted, you can see which butterflies and moths other people have spotted near you and across the UK, it is fascinating.

Have a look on their website there is lots of information and wonderful pictures of butterflies and moths which you may spot during your count as well as great ideas to get more people involved such as a Barbecue for Butterflies, Picnic in the Park, Butterfly play date, Butterfly Tea Party, it is a great activity for groups such as the Brownies/Cubs etc. Summer Schools, Child Minders, the W.I., Walking Clubs, Gardening Clubs etc.

So get out there on the next sunny day and look for Butterflies and Moths.

Red Admiral Butterfly

If you want to attract butterflies into your garden you will need to provide nectar rich flowers throughout the butterfly season, as well as food plants for the butterfly caterpillars to eat, click here for advice on which nectar rich plants to grow in Spring, Summer and Autumn and tips on gardening for butterflies.
Love your environment
Gill

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Oak Tree

Trees play an important part in our lives by enhancing our environment and creating wonderful wooded places to spend quality time with our families.

Trees are havens for wildlife too, providing homes and food for caterpillars (leaves), insects (flowers, leaves), beetles and larvae (trunk, rotting wood) these in turn are food for animals and birds especially newly fledged youngsters or hungry chicks still in the nest, in Autumn and Winter their fruits/berries and seeds provide a welcome meal for birds and animals, trees really are a very important part of the wild food chain.

Family pic 5

If you are interested in planting trees to help wildlife, for the environment 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 2015.

The tree packs are available in three sizes:

  • Small – containing 30 saplings.
  • Medium – containing 105 saplings.
  • Large – containing 420 sapling.

The packs come in different mixes of tree species so you can choose the best one for your project.

  • Small – Short Hedge, Small Copse
  • Medium – Wild Harvest, Wildlife, Year Round Colour, Working Wood, Wetland, Wild Wood
  • Large – Wild Harvest, Wildlife, Year Round Colour, Working Wood, Wetland, Wild Wood

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, currently all medium (105 sapling) packs for schools this Autumn have been claimed, limited quantities of the small (30 sapling) and large (420 sapling) packs remain, if you are interested in planting this Autumn apply early to avoid disappointment.

The closing date for Autumn applications is 3rd 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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Thank you to everyone who entered the May/June School Competition the overall winner was Hazlehurst Community Primary School, Ramsbottom their prize of a Kids Standing Raised Bed is on its way.

Kids Wooden Standing Raised Bed Growing Table

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The competition was to create a new fruit/vegetable by combining two vegetables or fruits together, there were lots of inventive and wonderful combinations as well as some delightful drawings of the new fruits/vegetables here is a selection from the winning school (as written on their entry forms by the pupils).

Squashed Carrot – Butternut Squash and Carrot

Rassapple – Rassberry and Apple

Mapple – Apple and Mango

Tomcuc – Tomata and Cucumber

Rasbacugette – Rasberry, Banana, Cucumber and Courgette

Rasana – Rasberry and Bannana

Cawberrianoci – Cucumber, Strawberry, Banana and Brocoli

Bleech – Peach, Leek and Bannana

Pineberry – Pineapple and Rasberry

Plape – Plum and Grape

Labbege – Leek and Cabbege

Rasbstrawb – Rasberry and Strawberry

Papple – Pear and Apple

Papercot – Plumb and Apricot

Stramang – Strawberry and Mango

Banstraw – Banana and Strawberry

Apparrot – Apple and Carrot

Cherrynana – Cherry and Bannana

Bnaple – Apple and Beanna

Maple – Aple and Mango

Appberry – Appel and Strawberry

Arenge – Orange and Apple

Banberry – Banna and Strawberry

Mangle – Apple and Mango

Strawry – Strawberry and Cherry

Cherrango – Cherry and Mango

Banango – Banana and Mango

Apange – Apple and Orange

Zed – Apple and Strorberry

Thana – Tmoto and Bnana

Banapple – Banana and Apple

Apperbnan – Apper and Bnan

Banorange – Banana and Orange

Parnan – Banan

Blokly – Binana

Worter Pumpkin – Worter Meln and Pupkin

Tomcarro – Tomato and Carrot

Strarass – Strarbery and Rasbery

Shrapple – Stawberry and Apple

Tomotowapplenanna – Tomotow and Apple

Appllberry – Appll and Strawberry

Poptoma – Poppy and Tomato

Bnana Moon – Bnana and Moon

Bcherry – Cherry and Banana

Oniyplumy – Onion and Plum

Rocatcart – Rocet and Caret

Fbaner – Flower and Banana

Banappleorange – Banna, Apple and Orange

Redeloy – Redberry, Melon and Strawberry

Strawbcot – Strawberry and Apricot

Peechpiertompatletic – Pier, Peech, Tomato, Potato and Letic

Tmatobanana

Strawbo – Strawberry and Mago

Lightningcarrot – Lightning and carrot

Strarbrango – Strawberry and Mango

Banatom – Banana and Tomato

There are some really good combinations; fruits are definitely more popular than vegetables, well done to all of you.

The Summer Family competition will be posted on the Gardening With Children Competition page soon, so keep a look out and have a go, you could be our next winner.

Gill

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Spring and early Summer is a very busy time in the garden, I wouldn’t like you to miss out entering our two free competitions before next weeks closing date of 30th June, so here is a quick reminder:

Have a look at the Gardening With Children website, in the School Zone and the Family Zone you have the chance to win a fabulous

 

Kids Wooden Raised Bed Growing Table (one supplied)

Kids Wooden Standing Raised Bed Growing Table

It is the perfect size and height for younger children to have the experience of their very own real vegetable and flower garden.

Crops can be easily tended, watered and picked, they are ideal for growing Strawberries, Herbs,  Lettuce, Spring Onion, Radish and baby vegetables including Beetroot, Turnip and Round Carrots, why not plant a few of your favourite flowers between the crops for a wonderful display.

What you have to do

In the School Zone

Create a new vegetable or fruit by combining two vegetables or fruits together then send in

  1. Its name
  2. Which fruits/vegetables it is made from?
  3. A picture/drawing of it

For full details and an entry form click here.

 

In the Family Zone

Look at the pictures of the insides of various fruits and vegetables and work out, using the following list, what they are.

Tomato, Orange, Apple, Banana, Sweet Pepper, Carrot, Cucumber

To view the pictures and for full details of how to enter click here.

 

Both competitions are free to enter, the closing dates are Tuesday 30th June 2015.

Good Luck

Gill

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Have you seen our two competitions on the Gardening With Children website, in the School Zone and the Family Zone you have the chance to win a fabulous

 

Kids Wooden Raised Bed Growing Table (one supplied)

Kids Wooden Standing Raised Bed Growing Table

It is the perfect size and height for younger children to have the experience of their very own real vegetable and flower garden.

Crops can be easily tended, watered and picked, they are ideal for growing Strawberries, Herbs,  Lettuce, Spring Onion, Radish and baby vegetables including Beetroot, Turnip and Round Carrots, why not plant a few of your favourite flowers between the crops for a wonderful display.

What you have to do

In the School Zone

Create a new vegetable or fruit by combining two vegetables or fruits together then send in

  1. Its name
  2. Which fruits/vegetables it is made from?
  3. A picture/drawing of it

For full details and an entry form click here.

 

In the Family Zone

Look at the pictures of the insides of various fruits and vegetables and work out, using the following list, what they are.

Tomato, Orange, Apple, Banana, Sweet Pepper, Carrot, Cucumber

For full details, an entry form and to view the pictures click here.

 

Both competitions are free to enter, the closing dates are 30th June 2015.

Good Luck

Gill

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This week it has been glorious with long, dry days of warm sunshine, perfect weather for gardening and getting outdoors and also for Butterflies too, on my allotment I saw quite a few including Small Tortoiseshells, Peacocks, Small Whites and my first Orange Tip, they are all stunning to look at, when they eventually settle to feed on the spring flowers.

In Britain there are 59 species of butterfly that breed here plus up to 30 other species that come here as occasional or regular migrants from elsewhere in Europe, but all is not well for these beautiful fragile creatures, according to a report published in 2011 by Butterfly Conservation three-quarters of UK butterflies showed a 10-year decrease in either their distribution or population levels with numbers of ‘garden’ butterflies dropping by 24%.

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Loss of habitat including food plants for caterpillars and butterflies can have a devastating effect, in Spring many species emerge from hibernation and are hungry for nectar and pollen, by growing Spring flowering plants in the garden we can really give them a boost early on in the year, favourite Butterfly plants include Aubretia, Arabis, Forget-me-nots, Polyanthus, Primroses, Sweet Violet, Wallflowers and of course Spring bulbs. Wildflower seeds can be sown now to provide food in the Summer/Autumn they will also benefit Bees and other pollinating insects, there are many different ‘mixes’ available, they need very little looking after but look stunning.

 Short Mix

If you are really keen to do more to help Butterflies and Moths why not consider joining Butterfly Conservation, if you join before 31st May 2015 you can get your first year’s membership for half price, members receive a Gardening for Butterflies and Moths Booklet, colourful identification charts, Butterfly magazines, e-newsletters and more, have a look at their website for full details.

If you have seen an early sighting of a Butterfly you can register it on the Butterfly Conservation website, many of the early Butterflies have already been spotted but there are many more species yet to find, have a look at the list for the species that still haven’t been seen yet this year and keep your eyes peeled.

Which reminds me I must report my Orange Tip Butterfly sighting on the BIG Spring Watch website, they are also asking you to register your first sightings of a Swallow (which are returning from Africa), an Oak Leaf and a Seven Spot Ladybird all the sightings will be studied and used to help save and conserve our wildlife and provide a picture of how it’s doing.

So get out this weekend and get spotting!

Gill

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National Gardening Week (13-19 April 2015) was launched four years ago by the RHS and since then has grown into the country’s biggest celebration of gardening. Thousands of people, gardens, charities, retailers, culture and heritage organisations and groups get involved with many events and activities being held up and down the country from beginner’s workshops to guided walks, face painting to garden parties, there’s something for everyone and everyone is invited. Find out what’s on.

There are plenty of things you can do yourself or with your family to get into the spirit of National Gardening Week here is my suggestion:

Sow some seeds

Having been a gardener for most of my life, I must have sown thousands and thousands of seeds, yet I am still excited when they grow and appear out of the compost, it’s magical and also amazing to think that vegetables, flowers, grasses and even trees all start from a small seed.

If you are new to gardening, sowing seeds can be a bit daunting and perhaps scary, why not start off with something very simple that is quick to grow and can be picked and eaten straight away, I remember growing Cress when I was at Primary School. Cress Seeds can be grown on compost in a seed tray or pot, or on kitchen roll or cotton wool; they germinate quickly, grow fast and need very little attention.

Mustard and Cress ready to eat

Grow speedy Cress in a pot

Fast growing crops are best for children, fill your pots with compost, water then sprinkle your Cress seeds onto the surface place in a bright position and watch them grow, simply cut with scissors just above the compost level when ready, usually 7-14 days after sowing, and eat fresh. A brightly coloured Children’s Mini Propagator Kit is the perfect introduction for your budding gardener to sow and grow their seeds and will fit neatly on the windowsill.

 

1. Cress Heads

  1. Decorate a small plant pot or empty container with a happy, funny or scary face using paint, felt tips or crayons, why not add some sequins, wool, glitter.
  2. Once your decorations have dried, place some compost inside the pot, water and sow some cress seeds on top.
  3. Place on a windowsill and water carefully when it starts to dry out.
  4. When the Cress has grown, give your Cress head a ‘haircut’ and enjoy.

Cress Cotton Wool Lamb

2. Cotton Wool Cress Lamb

What you will need

  • Plastic or Polystyrene disposable plates
  • Coloured Felt tips
  • Cotton Wool
  • Glue
  • Cress Seeds

What you need to do

  1. Draw a lamb on the plate, give him/her a large body.
  2. Spread some glue on the lambs body and press on a piece of cotton wool, allow to dry.
  3. Carefully wet the cotton wool.
  4. Sprinkle your cress seeds on the cotton wool and place on a light windowsill, keep the cotton wool moist.
  5. Watch your seeds grow, they will be ready to eat in 7-14 days, simply cut with scissors and enjoy.

Have fun

Gill

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In life there are few certainties and many uncertainties; the British weather has got to be one of the biggest uncertainties, in Britain we have a very varied and changeable climate not just north to south but regional as well which makes it very hard for our weathermen to forecast, even with new technology. The weather affects everything not just your holiday or BBQ, it also has a huge impact on plants, birds, wildlife and even the seasons too, although Spring comes at the same time each year, it can in fact be early brought on by mild temperatures or late if we have prolonged cold spell with freezing temperatures.

Early Small Tortoiseshell

Unseasonal mild weather can bring creatures out of hibernation early, yesterday there was a Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly fluttering against the upstairs windows if we had let it out it wouldn’t have survived, it is too cold and there are hardly any flowers about so it would have had no food, as well as being an easy meal for a hungry bird. Thomas managed to catch it in his butterfly net and place it safely in his pop up Butterfly House which he then put in a dark cupboard, it has now gone back to sleep, we shall keep checking on it.

10 Fat Ball Feeding Ring

As I write this there are twelve starlings picking food off the lawn and pushing their beaks into the soft ground trying to find tasty worms or grubs, with half a dozen House Sparrows busy on the Seed Feeders, which are filled with high energy sunflower hearts although they are slightly more expensive than bird seed I find there is little mess or waste, the fat ball feeders are very popular with all the birds and need refilling the most often. The weathermen are predicting another cold snap this week from Wednesday onwards which they say will last well into next week I will be replenishing my stock of bird food to keep the feeders topped up.

We get a lot of Starlings and House Sparrows in our garden (both of which are in decline this has become apparent from the results of The Big Garden Birdwatches over the last 36 years) we also get the odd Blackbird, Wren, Robin and amazingly Goldcrest yet we have very few Blue, Great or Coal Tits, recently we have had regular visits from a family of Log-tailed Tits they are a delight to watch and are my favourite bird, we did the Big Garden Birdwatch at home yesterday (Sunday) we were down on species and numbers compared to last year I think this was partly due to the weather, it was definitely milder than previous days which could possibly mean that the birds were searching and finding food in the fields and hedgerows, I am sure the heavy drizzle didn’t help either.

Here is my ‘forecast’ for the week ahead:

  1. Turning colder
  2. Send in the results of The Big Garden Birdwatch
  3. Buy more Bird Food
  4. Keep the Bird Feeders topped up
  5. Stay warm inside and enjoy watching the birds in your garden

Love your environment – whatever the weather

Gill

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We had a brilliant response to our October November Competitions, unfortunately there can only be one winner for each Zone, the lucky winners are:

In the Family Zone

John Stowe, Hampshire

In the School Zone

Fulbrook Middle School, Bedfordshire

both winners will receive:

Hogitat Hedgehog Home

The Hogitat Hedgehog House

A perfect winter retreat for your prickly garden friends

guide to Hedgehogs

Field Guide to Hedgehogs

and a pack of Hedgehog Food

Hedgehog Food

Well done to both of you and I hope that you soon have a Hedgehog making its home in your Hogitat

Look out for our next competitions in the New Year

Gill

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