Sunday, 18 December 2011

Riverbank Community Cafe and Market Garden

I've just begun working with Riverbank Community Cafe and Market Garden in Chorlton to create a community garden from a patch of waste land. What we grow will supply a new community cafe that is planned but local people will also have an opportunity to get involved.  There will also be opportunities for people to learn more about cooking, composting and food growing and we'll be giving away free fruits trees and bushes.

There's more information at: Riverbank

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

St John's signs

I really like these signs that Gardening Club members at St John's have made on a couple of wet and cold Tuesday afternoons.

We used bits of old wooden pallet, sanded down and then they got to work with coloured pens. We've used linseed oil to waterproof the signs which will go up in the greenhouse, around the insect hotel they made and in the courtyard.

Rosie, by the way, is the school rabbit.

Monday, 12 December 2011

How many seeds?

I stole this idea from the bugs.

Well, from BUGS, the Baltimore Urban Gardening with Students project in the USA (  You can't see the mess here but the table is covered in kiwi, tomato, apple, lemons and chillies.

It was a nice way to introduce a seed planting session and talk about seed saving from the plants we grow. First, pupils estimate how many seeds are in each piece of fruit and then they cut them up and count the seeds, comparing their estimate to what they actually found. And then you eat everything.

Remember to have children wear gloves if they're handling the chillies and remember to do the same (not like I did resulting in a spicy tasting slice of kiwi at the end of the session).

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

The Ardwick Avocado

I've started working at St Chrysostom's Primary in Ardwick.  When I asked a group what they'd most like to grow, one boy said "avocados!"

We were gathering ideas so I didn't want to curb his enthusiasm by telling him that we couldn't or that it would be difficult and, besides, something made me think that you could do something with avocado stones.  When I looked it up in my old House Plant Expert book, there it is on page 150: Fun Plants.

Apparently you put the stone in a pot, keep it warm and dark until it germinates and then you can get quite a nice plant (no fruit though). There was also mention of other seeds that might produce a plant including citrus fruits, dates and, crucially, pomegranate because today at St John's one girl said she'd love to grow them. So, we'll have a go and report back.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

The diamond plant

I visited St Peter's RC High School recently where Sowing Success offer therapeutic horticulture sessions for students.  Jo was kind enough to give me this little Echevaria which she assures me that children love because water forms beautiful little diamond-like bubbles when it falls on the leaves.

They're into their succulents over there and it's something that we can do more of at St John's with the greenhouse. Not a good as a nice leek though is it?