Monday, 21 July 2014

Garlic time

Garlic is a great thing to grow in schools. It provides an activity in late autumn when it can sometimes be a struggle to find things to do outside. Planting is simple and suitable for any age group. You just take a clove and push it into the ground. It's best to buy seed garlic as this gives more reliable results.

It works much better outside and thrives in even the coldest winters. In fact I've heard it said that the cold helps to split the initial seed clove so that it forms a bulb containing different cloves. Then it just sits there over the winter and is ready to harvest in the the last half term of the year. Harvesting is good fun, requiring a bit of digging until the pungent bulbs can be lifted out. It's also a plant that virtually all cultures use in their cooking and can provide a good opportunities for children to share how their families use it.

Flower power

This year we've grown a lot of flowers from seed in the greenhouse at St Johns: sweet peas, nasturtiums, giant marigolds, cosmos, dahlias and they've worked a treat. They look great and then at the end of term children created bouquets to give to teachers or to take home.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Things to do with old pallets, part 73

Old pallets are great. At Armitage we experimented with creating a planter to put along the Nursery fence. It provided an opportunity to use a range of tools, develop some new skills and produce something that looks really good.

We lined the pallet with thick plastic sheeting and filled it with compost. We're going to plant climbers such as clematis or runner beans in it.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Potatoes in a bag

If you haven't got space to grow potatoes in the ground or in a raised bed, then you can always grow potatoes in a bag or sack. You can use an old compost bag, put some compost in the bottom, add the potatoes and fill the bag half full. Top the bag up with compost when the leaves appear.

Children in the Nursery at Armitage put 3 seed potatoes in a large plastic bag and we got a good crop. They loved digging up the potatoes.