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Children's gardening club - any ideas?

(11 Posts)
midnightexpress Fri 26-Aug-11 14:37:40

Hi MN gardeners - I want to pick your horticultural brains. We're hoping to start a small gardening club at the DC's school and I was wondering if anyone has any experience of this or any bright ideas for activities, beyond the old planting sunflowers and painting bird boxes. We have a small garden area at the school already, which will need the usual maintenance. We're not yet sure how we're going to organise things age-wise - possibly different sessions for younger and older children so any idea gratefully received.

BTW, we're in Scotland, so will be limited to some extent by the climate, for obvious reasons!

midnightexpress Fri 26-Aug-11 17:12:50

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Maryz Fri 26-Aug-11 17:20:05

I've grown things with cubs, and I find that things that are edible go down well. My greatest success was potatoes in car tyres - you add a tyre and top up with earth every time the greenery appears. I also grew strawberries and tomatoes in old tea chests (the tomatoes from plants, I found fecking around with seeds ended up more expensive).

In beds the easiest and quickest are radishes and mini-carrots. Broad beans will grow anywhere as well.

If you do grow potatoes, get first earlies, chit them in advance and plant as early as possible, that way you can harvest before the end of school.

midnightexpress Fri 26-Aug-11 18:49:53

Oh I like the tyres idea - I am always hopeless at bothering to earth them up so that would be a good way to encourage me to do it! Schools here finish towards the end of June so not sure what would be ready by then - my broad beans have only started coming in the last few weeks, though I did plant them late. I guess if I can find some early strawberries then that would just about work. Maybe gooseberries - they're quite early aren't they? And perhaps rhubarb for the winter.
I quite fancied doing pumpkins - the garden is quite sheltered, but it's also West Scotland so maybe too wet. I wonder if they'd be all right fending for themselves for the hols?

cyb Fri 26-Aug-11 18:53:00

have a compost bin (you've probably already got one), seeing how things decay is very interesting

We have a lovely gardening lady who helps in our school nurture group, we've made vegetable soup from the garden, redcurrant icecream, our own crisps, dyed stuff with veg dyes.

We have one of those cheapo plastic greenhouses from Argos to put seedlings in iniatially, then plant them out

You could make scarecrows. Weeding with a little trowel and a pot always goes down well

CamillaSalander Fri 26-Aug-11 18:53:14

Pumpkins are great and should be fine over the summer hols as long as they get a bit of sun as well as tons of rain. grin Google giant pumpkin to see how to grow mahoosive ones.

GardenOrganic and the RHS do schemes for school gardens - should be on their websites.

CamillaSalander Fri 26-Aug-11 18:54:02

You could have a worm composter, which is really fun.

Maryz Fri 26-Aug-11 18:59:57

Permanents can include rhubarb and autumn raspberries - they don't need support, but just get cut down in the spring and grow all by themselves all summer, harvest in September.

We finish end June too, and there are always plenty of spuds, as long as I get first earlies, and get around to planting as early as I can.

Plant tomato plants a bit late and get someone to water over the summer, and they will fruit until the frosts. In fact if you do them in grow bags and grow bush varieties you can take them home and have tomatoes all summer, and then bring them back in late August and they will fruit for another month. I grow Tumbler, and put one plant in half a grow bag (I cut the bags in half around the middle, and put them on their ends, they don't dry out so much that way.

You need one small tree with berries (mountain ash would be good) to hang bird feeders on.

I agree with cyb about the compost. Children love worms and creepy crawlie things [yuk]

cyb Fri 26-Aug-11 19:04:24

We harvested our own wheat and took it to a local mill to make flour to make bread!

midnightexpress Fri 26-Aug-11 20:34:38

Oh yes a wormery's a great idea! Are they OK if we get a bad winter like last year? I guess we might be able to bring it indoors if so.

Love love love the wheat idea too. I love the Edible Schoolyard site - have you seen it? So inspiring. They not only grew their own wheat, but fixed up their own mill powered by a bicycle - ground the wheat into flour, made pizzas, and cooked them in their wood fired oven in the garden. Oh to be in sunny California! grin

Love the dyes idea too. And scarecrows. Oh lots of lovely things! I've got a meeting with the Head teacher next week so lots of great ideas to take along now. Thanks everyone.

I'll take a look at the RHS site too - I'm actually a member, so might be able to make the excuse to go on a few garden visits, strictly in the name of research. wink

CamillaSalander Fri 26-Aug-11 23:12:19

Iirc, with our wormery, we did put it under a bikeshed or the like for winter so as not to freeze the bollocks off the worms.

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