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Posts Tagged ‘gardening with raised beds’

Last week the Eco Committee members at Thomas’s School were invited by the Parish Council, in co-operation with the Borough Council, to plant a tree as a final act in the local Jubilee celebrations. The tree, an English Oak, was planted in open space land in the village so that it can be enjoyed by future generations and there will be a plaque put next to it to commemorate the Queens Diamond Jubilee. The children (including Thomas) put the top soil around the tree and sprinkled wildflower seeds around the base.

Thomas and the Jubilee Tree

Thomas has been on the Eco Committee this year and has thoroughly enjoyed being involved in the Eco work at school as well as providing his own input with regards to the wildlife that is in the school grounds. The School has put up bird boxes one of which has a camera, a bird table for feeding the birds, a nesting material holder, fat ball feeders and other bird feeders as well as insect houses.

Pembroke Nest Box

Pembroke Nest Box

The school gardening year has come to an end and preparations have been made for the summer holidays. All the young plants in pots have been planted in the ground, climbing plants have been tied in and supports provided, and the raised beds have been weeded and covered with netting to deter unwanted visitors.

 Enviromesh Netting

Enviromesh Netting

During the holidays Thomas and I will make regular checks to keep the garden ticking over until September this ties in well with feeding the school chickens as Thomas has been put on the ‘chicken rota’ again which I have to say I enjoy doing as much as he does. We are both looking forward to those super fresh boiled eggs!

Click here for our top 10 tips for caring for the school garden during the holidays.

Love your environment and enjoy your holidays

Gill

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I had an ‘Ask the Expert’ enquiry this week from Natalie who wanted some advice on which seeds to buy from our website that she could grow at her son’s nursery garden. She wanted to grow things that the children could eat at their snack time but the only draw back was that they had to be able to pick them between now and the end of June before they break up, here was my advice:

As you are limited for time (approx. 9 weeks before the end of June) the quickest things to sow/grow/harvest would be vegetables/herbs that are grown for their leaves rather than their fruit (tomatoes) or roots (carrots, beetroot).

Mustard and Cress

Mustard and Cress are perhaps the easiest and quickest to grow and can be eaten in approx. a week, these can be sown little and often, sow indoors not too thickly on a thin layer of moist compost or moist tissues, cover with a piece of paper until they are 1”(25cm) and then cut when they are about 2”(50cm).

Salad Leaves (Red & Green mixed) are very quick to mature and their different coloured leaves look attractive.

Coriander

Herbs fit nicely into this category and our Herb Variety Pack contains:

Coriander, Basil, Dill, Rocket

Basil

available to buy separately is Parsley (this can sometimes be slow to germinate)

Essential Propagator

 

To get them all off to a good start I would sow them in Pots/Trays in a Propagator or on a warm sunny windowsill. When they are big enough to handle re-pot them into Larger Pots/Trays with more space to grow, again returning them to the windowsill until they are large enough to plant outside when the weather if favourable.

 

They can be planted into Containers, Hanging Baskets, Wall Baskets, Window Boxes or Grow Bags. They are ideal for planting into Raised Beds, Salad and Herb Beds, Corner Raised Beds or Mangers.

It is advisable to protect them with Fleece if any frost is forecast until they are well established.

Salubrious Salad and Herb Bed

For best results they should be in a warm, sheltered and sunny position.

I hope that Natalie and all the children enjoy sowing and growing their seeds and they enjoy eating the lovely fresh leaves too.

Happy Growing

Gill

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To me Garlic is the taste of the Mediterranean but it can be grown in the UK so why not have a go at growing your own instead of buying foreign grown bulbs from the supermarket. Garlic is an easy and undemanding vegetable to grow making it ideal for children, with tactile and nicely sized cloves to plant. I am sure they will want to plant it once they know it’s the main ingredient of garlic bread.

Garlic is a fantastic ingredient in cooking, add at the beginning for a milder flavour or later on for a stronger taste. As well as having a lovely and unique flavour it has many health benefits too, being a recognised superfood it has been shown to lower blood fat and cholesterol levels, help reduce blood pressure as well as combating bacterial, fungal and viral infections. Garlic is rich in Vitamins C and B6, carbohydrates, and fibre and is also a good source of several of the essential minerals, zinc, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, and potassium.

Garlic can be planted in Winter or Spring. Spring planted bulbs should ideally be planted no later than the end of March in order for them to mature so get your bulbs ordered now, supermarket bulbs are not recommended as the chances are they have been grown in a warmer climate and will not thrive in our British weather thus giving a disappointing crop.

Garlic takes up very little room and can even be planted between flowers, in window boxes or containers but will need to be watered often in dry spells. Garlic needs a sunny position in well drained soil, to prevent waterlogging and feed the soil dig in plenty of well rotted manure or garden compost, they are ideal for growing in raised beds especially if your soil is particularly heavy. Split your garlic bulbs into individual cloves immediately before planting, make a hole with a dibber to avoid damage to the base of the bulb and plant approx. 2cm below the soil surface, 10cm apart, leaving 15-20cm between rows. Cover with fleece to protect from frost and also to stop birds from pulling them out (until they are established). Water during dry spells and keep weed free. Harvest when the leaves turn yellow, loosening the bulb underneath with a trowel taking care not to damage the bulb. Place the bulbs somewhere warm and dry and they can then be stored for up to 3 months.

So why not give them a go before it’s too late. We have four delicious varieties to chose from all suited to the British Climate, Solent White, Vigour, Germidour and Elephant.

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If you have been growing a crop of  cauliflower this year, you’ll hopefully be enjoying the harvest round about now.  vegetables taste so much better when they are eaten in season, and nothing beats harvesting your own tea!  The taste and sense of satisfaction is beyond compare.

If you want to grow your own vegetables visit www.recycleworks.co.uk for all your gardening needs.

This is a great heart warming family recipe, and is one easy way I manage to get my kids eating one of their 5  a day.

Recipe

1 large, creamy-white cauliflower, trimmed and broken into florets
25g butter
25g plain flour
550 ml milk
150g cheddar Cheddar, grated
2 tbsp crème fraîche or double cream
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
25g fine fresh white breadcrumbs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

Method

  1. Cook the cauliflower in boiling water until it is tender but not over-cooked
  2. Grease an oven proof dish and then add the cauliflower
  3. Make the cheese sauce by melting the butter in a sauce-pan.  Add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon to make a paste, but do not allow to go brown or burn
  4. Add the milk a little at a time and keep stirring the mixture
  5. When all the milk is added simmer for a few minutes until the sauce thickens and is creamy.  Stir regularly to avoid the sauce sticking to the bottom of the pan
  6. Remove from the heat and add the cheese, crème friache and mustard
  7. Pour the sauce over the cauliflower
  8. Mix the breadcrumbs and a handful of cheddar then sprinkle over the top
  9. Bake at 200 C for around half an hour or until browned
  10. Serve with crusty bread and enjoy!

Raised beds are the perfect way to grow vegetables, and The Recycleworks Ltd  specialises in the manufacture of a large selection.  The soil in raised beds is easier to maintain and is generally lighter, better drained and warmer.  Gardening in a raised bed can also reduce pest damage and all in all crops often do better.  It’s also easier  for the gardener with no more heavy digging.  The Raised Beds from www.recycleworks.co.uk are made from FSC wood and with no screws, no nails and no holes to dig, they can be assembled in minutes.  

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We had some recent feedback from a customer about our FSC wooden raised beds… read on to find out how they found them to use.  To view the full range click here.  

….We thought we would share with you some photographs – we purchased several of your Standard Raised Beds recently and they look really great in our garden!

We live on a modern estate and didn’t want to start digging up the grass to create a conventional vegetable patch, so we searched for some alternatives.

These photos go to show that you don’t need to have acres of land in order to start having your own home grown fresh produce. We even have three chickens as well.


Thank you very much for all your help and for recommending the Raised Beds – as you can see, our Lettuces and Strawberries are doing really well!

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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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Growing winter salads is a great way of extending the growing season. 

Whilst the harvesting quantities may be less than during the summer months, by choosing a good selection of seeds there will be goodies to harvest just outside the back door right through until the spring.

Take a look at the Winter Salad Selection Pack  from Recycleworks.  Included are some tasty salad leaves, radishes, rocket, American land cress and winter greens. 

Sow in a Salubrious Salad Bed or one of these Willow Salad Planters, and position just outside the kitchen door for easy harvesting during the colder days.

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We recently received an email from Georgina asking for advice on setting up her school garden.  This is something we are often asked about so we though you might find it useful too.  Here is her question along with our advice…

I am just starting a gardening club at my primary school.  Do you have any tips/advise?  It will be during the school day so it can be available to as many children as possible.  Just ironing out running eg. which year group etc.

Hi Georgina Many thanks for your enquiry. It sounds like you have an exciting project on your hands.

Our advice would be to start fairly simply. Using raised beds saves lots of effort fighting weeds and digging over heavy soil.   For a good selection of easy-to-assemble options take a look here.

Also don’t forget you can grow lots of vegetables, salads and flowers in containers and on windowsills – more ideas on the options available can be found by following this link.

If the school garden is going to be used through the school day you can think creatively about how gardening can be linked into the national curriculum. Take a look here for ideas on how to do that.

We have written lots of information on setting up a school garden here with useful links to getting started including articles on gardening in raised beds, composting and lots more.

For ideas of gardening jobs to do in autumn take a look here  and for information on seeds to sow for a winter harvest you might find this link useful. 

Best of luck with your plans and do let us know how you get along.

From Charlotte and the Gardening With Children Team

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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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Most strawberry plants will have sent out runners by now and these easily root into the surrounding soil.  To make good use of the new plants carefully transplant them into one of these strawberry tables.

Designed to keep your precious strawberries safe from unwelcome predators, the strawberry table can be placed wherever you wish!  It simply bolts together.

It comes with a moisture mat to retain soil and keep roots moist.  Applying some vaseline to the wooden legs will also keep the slugs and snails at bay.

 

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