Seven courgettes, three pumpkins and two dozen assorted salads and lettuce plants made the transition, freeing up a significant amount of space which will come in handy when I pot up the chillis and newly emerged second sowing of beans, next week.
For the planting out I decided that the first Monday group which is the older children, could plant out the courgettes and pumpkins, as I think the stems of these plants can be quite fragile, with a tendency to split or snap, if not handled as though they were glass and need a more careful hand. I felt that the older children would probably listen more attentively and be much gentler than the second Monday group, which comprises four to six year olds.
The lettuces, on the other hand, though smaller and more delicate in appearance, are much more robust in my experience and can handle a little bit of heavy handed treatment and would be more suited to the younger children. Also size of seedlings and the pots they were in were factors.
As it turned out, the younger children were infinitely more careful with their planting than the older children but by the end of Monday lunchtime, all the plants were in the ground and I had covered the lettuces with Wondermesh to keep the butterflies and pigeons at bay.
Yesterday (Wednesday) I spent some time digging over the area of vacant ground in front of the school garage, evicting the myriad of weeds that were squatting there. This is to become an impromptu potato patch, as one of the local farmers has given us 30 or so seed potatoes which is far too many for the raised bed which our rotation system dictates is to be the official potato bed this year. The soil is quite heavy and filled with stones and is not unlike the soil used to fill the raised beds back in 2011 and so I’m not sure how well the garage patch will work out but if the bed proves productive, then it could be an additional growing space to utilise in future years. Just like the raised beds, all this patch of ground needs is a little enriching.
Fridays Gardening Club children will be potato planting in this new bed and a request for wellington boots has gone home to parents. I suspect a lot of fun will be had and I don’t hold out much hope for all uniforms to escape unscathed but then that’s why I chose Friday and thankfully, the parents who have consented to their children being involved in the Club are quite understanding of those rare times when their child arrives home wearing part of the garden.
With carrots, beetroots and parsnips already through in the raised beds, albeit under some more Wondermesh and the Broad Beans sown last October, now in full flower, the garden is finally starting to take shape. Although temperatures aren’t as consistent as I would hope for this time of year, it would seem that Winter has finally taken the hint and Spring has taken up residence and we can now start to catch up after what has been a dismally slow start to the season.