Friday, 17 June 2016

Onion harvest and french beans transplanting

This lunch time was the first in the week without torrential rain.
The children have been amazing by watering the garden on their own initiative during the previous weeks when the ground was extremely dry.

Today we had a look at the soil as some of the little ones wanted to water again. When we took a closer look, they noticed that the water butt was full and that the soil was damp to a finger deep. Conclusion no need to water until....

We had sown a lot of french beans, many too close together so we decided to transplant them in the bed where the garlic used to be. Once transplanted they were watered in (to the great pleasure of the children as they seem to love this activity)

We also harvested the onions, counted them, divided them, and shared them between 9 children.
We then tied together bunches of 5 onions per child with some bind weed, so the gardeners could take the bunches home without falling apart.

My sincere apologies to the teachers who will have some very potent  bunches of onions in their class rooms.

Friday, 10 June 2016

Broadbean and garlic harvest

Although this year's gardening club is not as organised as in previous years, I have organised a drop in session, anyone who sees me in the garden and who feels like helping me is welcome.

This week Estelle one of the mother's came and help and took some pictures.

The children came and harvested garlic and broad beans, these were planted in Autumn and have now
made space for pumpkins and cucumbers

Every helper was able to take home some garlic and broad beans.


Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Unfortunately we can't do the Gardening Club

It is with sadness that I have to announce that this year, we won't be able to do the gardening club the way we did it last year.

Due to the fact that I only had one volunteer to help me, I have decided not to go ahead with the gardening club. Instead I will show up during lunch times, weather permitting and work in the vegetable garden.

If during that time any of the children are curious and want to come and help out, they are very welcome to do so. It will therefore be more on an adhoc basis. Hopefully it will work that way. We will keep you posted.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Visiting the new Head Mistress

The garden has been resting over the winter period,  the school changed its Head and  we made some new beds to grow more vegetables for the coming season.

It was great to meet Mrs Chatterson the other day, she is keen for the Gardening Club to continue and we have decided that I need at least 4 parent volunteers to help on Friday lunch times and some one to oversee the school shop Fridays after school later in the season (May/June/July,Sept/Oct)
The time will be from 12.15 - 13.15.

When I first spoke with Steve, I explained that I had brought mini trees and plants from West Bridgford in the hope that I could plant them in my garden. We have been waiting for nearly 14 months to get planning permission to start the built and we don't think the garden is ready for planing up until the summer of 2016.  So was grateful to have a space for the coming season to have my 'babies' accommodated in the St Luke's school garden (I have put all of them in the tall raised bed, that is about to fall apart, so after I have taken the plants to my garden, this bed will be dismantled)

Agi and her friend Marton, have cleared the area  in the middle of the garden and put 3 more square raised beds in, using a mix of home made compost and bought compost.  Hopefully our vegetables will love this open sunny spot.

Yesterday, I went to inspect the garden. The leeks are doing fine, the broad beans are about 30cm high but a bit spindly.

Next week, I will have got the next seasons sowing table ready and will put on the blog for you to see.

Happy days!

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Parent's work morning

It was great to see so many parents  this morning helping us out with the garden tidy up.
The children have been fantastic this year but there were things that were better left for adults to do.

Today,  the water barrel and guttering were  fixed and secured .
A new table was put into the outside classroom. 3 of the seats need replacing but one of the fathers kindly volunteered to sort this in the coming weeks.

Nettles were cut and dug out, making it safer for the children to wander

Beds  around school were weeded and when I left whole school ground had an am amazing make over.

Thank you so much for a your help, it shows many hands make light work.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Broad beans ready for spring

Today although a bit damp, we had a great time in gardening club.
First everyone was able to harvest a raspberry (or two, three, four...) by now all the children remember where the raspberries are and what is a ripe one, as well as what it tastes like.

Then some of the group harvested the last of the runner beans (well if we are lucky in the next few weeks we will get a few more, but the glut is over)

After that everyone filled their plant pots with compost and planted a broad bean in it.
labeled it with their names and what they had planted in anticipation to have a lovely plant in a fortnight or so to transplant into one of the by then empty beds.

I have got some poached egg plant plug plants that we will plant around them as a companion plant

With Agi, the children made some Russian dolls  to give them an idea about what an onion looks like inside, one ring, fitting into another ring, just like the Russian dolls.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Garlic planting

Today we had another lovely sunny day so took advantage of this and planted garlic with the group in bed 5 where the gourds were harvested last week.

We shall have 8 rows of garlic in this bed and later in March we will sow Beetroot in between

If all goes well, we shall harvest the garlic and beetroot in June/July in our school shop.

Followed by french beans that should be ready when we come back from summer holidays.

More about garlic from the RHS website

Garlic casts no shade and is vulnerable to being smothered by weeds. You can avoid this by removing weeds regularly before they become established.
Garlic does not need additional watering, although during spring and early summer an occasional thorough watering during dry spells will improve yields. Don’t water once the bulbs are large and well-formed, as this could encourage rotting.
Snip off any flowers that form – they seldom do.

Garlic grows well in any sunny, fertile site. For every square metre add 50g (2oz) of general-purpose fertiliser before planting.
Garlic is best planted in late autumn or early winter; the general rule of thumb is to plant cloves before Christmas.
Break up the bulbs and plant individual cloves just below the soil surface 15cm (6in) apart and in rows 30cm (12in) apart.
Prevent birds from pulling up the cloves by covering the rows with horticultural fleece.

Friday, 25 September 2015

Apple pressing with the parents association

A few weeks ago when we went to pick the apples in the orchard, most of them had disappeared and although we had fun picking the left over apples with pickers we only had enough for each family to take some home to make some pies and apple sauces. Unfortunately not enough to press them into fresh juice.

As both parents and children were disappointed we decided to have an apple pressing event after school with apples parents would bring in. So the date was set: Friday 25th September after school in the covered area.

I brought in my press with Dan who with an other dad, were in charge of crushing and pressing the apples.  Jo and 2 other mothers were amazing to keep up the pressers and washed and cut the apples in no time.  Well, we had so many apples that it took altogether 2 hours to produce about 20 litres of juice.

Children and adults alike were lining up  with their cups to either catch the juice straight from the press or from the jugs of juice that were constantly filled up.

The juice was a big hit as out of all those present there was only 1 child and a couple of parents who did not want to try some and most came back for more over and over again.

A simple activity that was appreciated by many. Well worth doing again next year.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

1st week back to the garden

On a most glorious September day, we started our gardening club.
18 children this term and over subscribed.

As we planted out runner beans just before we left for the summer holidays, we are now able to harvest loads. So off the little helpers went to work and managed to take handfuls of lovely runner beans to try at home with the rest of the family.

They also were lucky enough to be in time to taste the autumn raspberries, which should fruit for some weeks to come. keeping fingers crossed.

In readiness for next year, we planted japanese onions in bed 2.


Onions are not particularly picky about soil conditions but they will prefer a well dug soil, preferably a few months earlier which drains well and is neither acidic nor alkaline. Having said that they grow well in most soil conditions. 

They also prefer a position in full sun or at least partial sun. Onions very quickly become prone to disease if good crop rotation is not practiced so never grow them in ground where any member of the onion family (onions, spring onions, garlic, leeks) have been grown in last two to three years.

It's important to plant them the correct way up with the root end onto the soil and tassel end uppermost. The picture on the right can be enlarged by clicking on it if you have any doubts. By making a little hole for each onion set rather than just forcing them into the ground you will avoid damaging the roots.

On bed 5, before we left for the summer holidays we planted ornamental gourds which are now ready. We harvested them and had enough for everyone to take one home for halloween.

The bed is now clean and next week we will plant them up with garlic.

Friday, 10 July 2015

Our onion harvest

Here are our busy gardeners who have harvested this years onions.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Last Gardening Club this year

This week I decided to make it the last gardening club of the year as next week 2 of my trusted volunteers won't be able to join me. As a matter of fact, I would like to thank Lindy and Nachi for their amazing help and wish them well back home in the US and Japan.

It will be very difficult to run the group without them. If there are any parents who would like to get involved in the Gardening activities, please let me know.

This week we celebrated 'Seeds' all different sizes and colours and made some craft with them.
Once the children don't like their craft anymore, they can put it on the soil, cover it with compost and water it. See what comes up.

They seem to like the activity very much, so much so that it was hard to get them motivated to go and harvest the potatoes

Thursday, 2 July 2015

The hottest day of the year

As this week's Gardening Club afternoon turned out to be the hottest day of the year (30 degree) we decided to have an indoor gardening craft afternoon as our garden has no shade.

The plants that we have planted are still just about alive and desperately need watering.  This will be done later tonight when it is cooler so that we don't burn the the leaves.

Today in the classroom we finished the memory game that we started last week. The heat and a chicken pox outbreak was taking its toll, as we had a few less  members join us.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Garden Club - memory game

Apart from watering the garden spend this week's gardening club making a memory game. Agnes drew some vegetables, for the children to identify, cut out, stick on backing and create their own memory game, to play by themselves or with friends and family.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Gardening Club - time to plant out the beans and lettuces

Today we welcomed 2 American guests to help us in the garden. They were Barbara (the mother of Lindy who is our visiting volunteer) and her grand daughter Isabelle. They were visiting Cambridge and had heard from Lindy about the amazing helpers in St Luke's Gardening Club.

They wanted to meet them for themselves and maybe tell their friends in the US to do something similar in their school.  

When they arrived, we picked up the french beans and lettuces from the covered area as they were screaming out to be transplanted, so fantastic to have so many helping hands.

Some great news was that  after weeks of trying to find the key to the tap, we found it today! We rolled out the two long hoses and wheeled them to the kitchen garden, this meant we could do a thorough watering session. Every bed had a good amount, as rain has been lacking in the last few weeks.

We harvested some peas and shared it between the group and had a little peep on how the new potatoes were doing. We all had 2 potatoes to take home, but will wait for a little longer to harvest the other buckets.

In bed 1 we transplanted the leeks, bed 3 the lettuces and in bed 9 the french beans.

It is looking good and hope that we get a little more rain to get them through  the next week and settle in.

Friday, 12 June 2015

School shop and Friday afternoon gardening

So exciting, the first broadband are ready to be sold.
Sadly though we have a lot of black fly this year.

With the help of a crew of 4 class 1 pupils, we cleaned them all up and ready for sale.
At the end they looked beautiful

With the next group we prepared bed 5, put in compost and pampers gel granuals and plant 4 pumpkins in this bed. In the hope that at least 1 will survive the summer holidays

With the older group we dismantled the old bed and replaced it with a new square foot one. We filled it with compost in readiness for french beans next week.

In the school shop we sold all the onions; total amount this week was £14,93

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Time to harvest the onions

Today we harvested the onions in Bed 1 and 2 and planted the beds up again with a yellow courgette and a green courgette.

The soil was dry  not very good, so we added some compost and incorporated some gel from Pampers nappies so it keeps the water in better.

In the middle of this bed we dug a deep hole and put in the bottom the gel from an(un used) soaked nappy, with an upside down bottle for deep watering next to it a courgette plant.

The soil dries out very quickly so we hope to use this garden hack so that the courgette will survive the summer holidays and give us loads of fruit on our return.

For more pictures click here

Monday, 1 June 2015

Elderflower cordial from St Luke's school play ground

We are back from our half term and have noticed that the Elder in our playground is in flower.
With the Wednesday Gardening Club and the Friday afternoon classes we shall be making elderflower cordial.

We will all have a nice glass of it at the end of our cooking session, but bottles will be sold in our school vegetable shop on Friday.  £1.50 per bottle  (you get 50p back when you bring back your empty bottle.)

Click here for the recipe:

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

The first term in St Luke's kitchen garden

We have been busy in the kitchen garden and have even managed to sell some of our harvest in the Friday school shop.

For more pictures click here

Friday, 15 May 2015

Time to harvest and transplant

This time the gardening club was all about harvesting and transplanting.

First we harvested 44 garlic bulbs from bed 2. Some where bigger than others so we will sell them in bunches of 5. This worked out well as we could  practice our 4x tables. Today we will be platting them together to sell in the shop later after school at 50p per bunch. (this was changed by the children they felt it should be £1, they will now wait and see if this is the right price!)

Although the onions are still at the outside of the bed,  the middle has now got space for a yellow courgette that we sowed last week. We shall be transplanting this after the half term so we have some courgettes before the summer holidays.

In Bed 3 we transplanted our French beans,  they were looking good, we sowed them mid April and needed transplanting, hopefully we don't get a night frost, fingers crossed.

We also put up a little wigwam in between the peas in bed 4. The peas are not doing that well, so we hope that the runner beans that we transplanted will do better. Once all these are harvested before we go on holiday, we shall transplant a butternut squash in the middle. Ready for the autumn term.

The little ones transplanted their pots of lettuces in between the strawberry plants in bed 10.
Strawberries are looking healthy and in full blossom, hopefully the lettuces will give us some lovely early summer salads.

When it came to wild life, we saw a little frog and a wasp making its nest (maybe not so good to see but very beautiful)

Friday, 8 May 2015

Friday 7th May in the kitchen garden

In readiness for having climbing french beans  (Cobra), Pumpkin (Tom Fox)  plants and Webbs

lettuces for in the school shop after the half term, classes 1 and 5 have sowed the plants.

Later we harvested spinach
Purple sprouting broccoli
Rhubarb for the shop.
Spring onions

We weighed it all out and put in separate bags.
Pricing was done so that the produce was not only fresher than anything you can buy from a shop it also is cheaper than ASDA (check on line)

The children set up the school shop and sold all the produce to the parents and some of the children. We had competition from the cake stall, however