Well I’ve never actually ‘stood still’ as it were and in fact I’ve helped out wherever I can, making teas and coffee, manning stalls at various fairs and fetes, baking buns for refreshments etc. and over the last couple of years I’ve helped out with gardening club. Last year the adult in charge of the vegetable garden left and the club and vegetable patch were left in a kind of limbo.
So I offered to help keep on top of things until someone else could be found to take over the running of the club, making it absolutely clear that I wasn’t interested in running it at all, after all I had my own patch to oversee at home.
So in the autumn I cleared the beds ready for spring but I was only helping out until a new organiser was found (volunteers form an orderly queue please).
October time, when told there was a small amount of cash available that needed spending, I tracked down a supplier of a fantastic netting (Wondermesh) which we could use to keep the pigeons, Cabbage White butterflies and carrot root flies of the crops, so that we stood a chance of eating at least some of the produce next season – but only as a favour until the new organiser was chosen, you understand.
November time I drew up a plan of the beds and recorded what had been grown in each during 2011 and suggested a crop rotation cycle for use in 2012 onwards – because I had the time to do it, crop rotation is essential for successful growing and the new organiser still hadn’t materialised.
January, I made a list of all the crops we could grow in the available space, what seeds we needed to get and a wish list of items needed to make the vegetable patch and gardening club a success because I had a fairly good idea as to what we already had and what was needed, oh and the fast approaching growing season required some planning to be done in readiness for the new organiser when one was finally found.
February 1st I arrived at the startling realisation that, somehow, I was the new Parent Volunteer Organiser for the gardening club and so I admitted defeat and carried on regardless.
It’s actually been quite exciting getting the beds ready, buying new equipment such as propagators, seeds, composts, canes etc and planning the sowing/planting timetable and this week was the first week of gardening club.
So a little nervous I turned up at school on Monday lunchtime and got everything ready for my first group of 8 children. The plan is to give every child in the school an opportunity to be involved with the growing of the vegetables. If, after their first time through the rota they don’t like it, then fine but at least they will have tried. By the end of the first rota cycle, we should have a good idea as to who does and does not want to be involved and can plan future rotas accordingly.
Out of the first group of 8 the two boys were reluctant gardeners, shall we say, who were only there because they had been told they would have to do it at some point. Mind you, by the end of that first session of sowing seeds I think they felt quite pleased with themselves. Today I had the same group for their second and final session, this time round, and was amazed to be told by one of the boys that he had actually enjoyed himself and would like to do more gardening.
That was a nice feeling. Of course it remains to be seen whether or not he’ll still feel the same way in a few weeks when his chance comes up again, it’d be nice if he did but at least he enjoyed his time in the vegetable patch this week.