Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘kids gardening’

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

Read Full Post »

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

Read Full Post »

Are you a Primary School who would like to get the children involved in growing potatoes?

If you have answered yes to this question, then have a look at the Grow Your Own Potatoes website and register before Friday, January 29th 2016, for a potato growing pack containing all you need to grow potatoes at your School including: seed potatoes, grow bags, instructions, stickers and a weather chart, Schools can register up to 4 classes to take part!

Grow Your Own Potatoes (GYOP) was launched in 2005 and is now one of the largest growing projects of its kind with over 2 million children taking part and learning where potatoes come from, how they grow and how healthy they actually are.

If you tend and care for your potatoes and they grow well you can win prizes for:

  1. The heaviest crop of Rocket Potatoes
  2. The heaviest crop of the regional potato variety
  3. The heaviest individual potato grown
  4. The largest number of tubers (potatoes) produced from three seed potatoes

If you are entering the competition you will need to use the seed potatoes and the grow bags supplied in your Potato Growing Pack.

Visit the Grow your own Potatoes website for more information and to register your school.

If you are not a Primary School, but would still like to have fun growing potatoes here is what you will need:

Potato Growing Bag 40 Litre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What you need to do

  1. Once you get your ‘seed’ potatoes put them into egg trays/boxes with the ‘rose’ end upwards, this is where you might see tiny shoots or the ‘belly button’ end facing downwards and place them in a frost-free light (not sunny) room, this is called chitting and helps the potato to produce strong shoots, which speeds up growing once they are planted, when the shoots are about 2-3cm they are ready to plant.
  2. Fill your bag with compost to a depth of 10cm
  3. Place 4/5 seed potatoes, with the shoots facing upwards, on top of your compost equally spaced out so that they don’t touch each other.
  4. Add another 10 cm layer of good quality potting compost and water well.
  5. Position the bag somewhere sunny and sheltered, on cold nights cover the bag with protective Fleece to prevent frost damage.
  6. As the leaves emerge cover with more Compost and repeat until you reach the top of the bag.
  7. Potatoes need to be kept well watered but not soggy.
  • First Early varieties – plant from end of February until end of May, harvest in approx. 10 weeks
  • Second Early varieties – plant from March until late May, harvest in approx. 13 weeks
  • Early Maincrop varieties – planted from March until late May, harvest in approx. 15 weeks
  • Maincrop varieties – plant from March until mid May, harvest in approx. 20 weeks

Children love growing potatoes there is something magical about planting a potato, watering and feeding it and then when it has grown digging it up and finding lots more delicious potatoes.

So get growing and have some fun

Gill

 

Read Full Post »

DSC05889

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

Read Full Post »

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

Read Full Post »

This week is British Chip Week (16-22 February) and there is no better way to celebrate the humble potato than by eating freshly cooked, crispy chips, whether they are chunky, thin, crinkly or wedged, add your favourite condiment; tomato sauce, brown sauce, mayonnaise, salad cream or traditional salt and vinegar or cover with gravy, curry sauce, baked beans or cheese and enjoy. Chips are so versatile they are a snack, a meal and can be served with most foods they are delicious, filling and we just can’t get enough of them, in Britain almost 676,000 tonnes of British potatoes are made into fresh chips each year.

If you want to have a go at growing your own potatoes this year, now is the perfect time to get started. Commercially potatoes are grown in fields, in Britain we grow around 14,000 hectares of ‘chip’ potatoes each year, if you don’t have a garden or an allotment potatoes can be grown very easily and successfully in growing bags or containers.

Potato Growing Bag 40 Litre

What you will need

What you need to do

  1. Once you get your ‘seed’ potatoes put them into egg trays/boxes with the ‘rose’ end upwards, this is where you might see tiny shoots or the ‘belly button’ end facing downwards and place them in a frost-free light (not sunny) room, this is called chitting and helps the potato to produce strong shoots, which speeds up growing once they are planted, when the shoots are about 2-3cm they are ready to plant.
  2. Fill your bag with compost to a depth of 10cm
  3. Place 4/5 seed potatoes, with the shoots facing upwards, on top of your compost equally spaced out so that they don’t touch each other.
  4. Add another 10 cm layer of good quality potting compost and water well.
  5. Position the bag somewhere sunny and sheltered, on cold nights cover the bag with protective Fleece to prevent frost damage.
  6. As the leaves emerge cover with more Compost and repeat until you reach the top of the bag.
  7. Potatoes need to be kept well watered but not soggy.
  • First Early varieties – plant from end of February until end of May, harvest in approx. 10 weeks
  • Second Early varieties – plant from March until late May, harvest in approx. 13 weeks
  • Early Maincrop varieties – planted from March until late May, harvest in approx. 15 weeks
  • Maincrop varieties – plant from March until mid May, harvest in approx. 20 weeks

Why not give it a go children love planting, growing and harvesting potatoes they taste so much better when they are home grown.

So get growing and have some fun

Gill

 

Read Full Post »

When I was a little girl my dad gave me a small vegetable patch in the garden, I remember growing lettuce, beans, radish and carrots, it was my very own garden where I sowed, planted, weeded, watered and picked my precious vegetables and flowers, I can still picture it now although the garden has changed quite a lot.

This was the start of my love of gardening; my dad was my inspiration and my mentor, as I got older I outgrew my vegetable patch and was then able to help in the ‘big’ garden to grow the vegetables that we regularly picked, cooked and ate and to tend the flower beds.

 MyReal Potting Tabe/Raised Bed Combo

If you are looking for a Christmas gift that is just that little bit different that will last for many, years instead of just a few months like so many of this years ‘must have’ Christmas presents why not treat that special person to a Raised Bed, whether it’s for a child or an adult gardening is a hobby that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities, when they unwrap their present they may not get excited at the sight of wooden posts and boards but once assembled and filled with rich compost when those first few shoots start to appear I can guarantee they will be hooked, as their interest in gardening flourishes and grows, one raised bed can become two, three, four or more by simply adding extra modules, don’t forget those all-important garden accessories, quality raised bed tools, a good pair of gloves, a watering can, seeds, labels, a gardeners note book to record the gardening year and cloche hoops to support fleece, film or netting to protect plants from bad weather and unwanted pests. Wooden Raised beds are available in different designs, sizes and depths if you want to grow a variety of different crops I would recommend a depth of 45cm.

The Economy Plot Wooden Raised Bed

Children love being outdoors and getting hands on, gardening helps them connect with nature and teaches them where food comes from and how it grows, nothing beats the taste of freshly picked produce, as well as the health benefits of fresh food gardening can help keep you fit both physically and mentally.

Carrots

When I visit my dad he is often in the garden, we always talk ‘gardening’ discussing plant pests/problems/diseases, which crops have done well, are tasty and worth growing, gardening ideas and new gardening products that we have seen, there is always something new to learn, discover and grow – gardening is a wonderful hobby.

Why not inspire someone you know this Christmas, click here to have a look at the full range of Raised Beds.

Gill

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »