Having left the compost and topsoil to settle for a couple of weeks, last Friday I finally helped the Foundation and Year 1 children sow the seeds in the largest of the new planters. Wearing their brand new little aprons and armed with a pair of gardening gloves, the 4 to 6 year olds came out in groups of 6 and listened carefully as I told them what they needed to do and I have to say that they were a pleasure to work with.
I have few rules when it comes to the Gardening Club, as I want the children to be able to enjoy themselves without being over regimented but the main ones are:
- Don’t throw mud at each other;
- Don’t water your classmates; and
- Listen to what I say and follow my instructions carefully.
Certainly with the very youngest members of this particular class, I was concerned about their attention span and the potential for mischief but they were amazing: listening, asking questions, answering questions I asked them and helping each other if necessary. Each group was out for about 15 – 20 minutes (depending on the amount of time it took to fasten aprons and put on gloves) and by the end of the afternoon, we had a row of mixed lettuces, carrots and beetroots sown and watered in.
Unfortunately we ran out of time and so the last group of 6 had to wait until yesterday (Monday) for their turn. It was another hot day yesterday but by the time I arrived at the Foundation Unit to finish their planting session, the sun had moved around and the tree offered a degree of shade. As it turned out, one of my little gardeners was poorly but 5 excited little people hurried out, donned their aprons and waited for me to tell them what we were going to be doing. Between them and showing great care when handling the plants, my little group planted two tomato plants and a winter squash into the smaller planter and then helped ‘plant’ the empty plant pots which will aid the watering process.
There is still a gap in the little planter which needs planting – a job for my missing gardener I think. As it happens she was in the playground last night waiting with her Uncle, to collect her sister and brother. So we had a discussion:
“What do you want to plant in that space?” I asked her.
“Sweets!” she said with a cheeky grin.
After listing the choices available, she settled on one of the yellow mangetout plants, more out of curiosity than a like for that particular vegetable, I think and so I have sown some more mangetout and in a week or so, I will take the seedling to school and finally the little planter will be full.
It has taken a year from grant application completion to finally having the planters in operation but at last the Foundation Unit has its’ own little growing space up and running.