Strawberries! Lots of lovely strawberries have been picked, washed, halved and then given to each class in turn, starting with Foundation/Year 1. Just two years ago the school didn’t have a single strawberry plant in the garden which I felt was a real shame, as they would be a relatively easy to look after crop and would readily provide snack items for the children. So an appeal went out to the wider community, and before we knew what was happening we had over 100 strawberry runners to find homes for. Now, two years on, and the runners have become mature plants, throwing off runners of their own with which we can replenish our stock, hopefully resulting in even more strawberries in years to come.
Golden Sweet Mangetout have also been picked, washed and sent into the classrooms with the strawberries. Just a few but enough to cater for those children who don’t actually like strawberries and so far the fresh, sweet, crunchy, yellow pods have been well received. I can’t wait to see their reaction to the huge Bijou mangetout pods.
What we have been doing in the garden?
First and foremost, the Foundation area planters have now been planted up with the enthusiastic assistance of the 4 to 6 year olds for whom they were bought. The large 1.8m long planter has now been sown with carrot, lettuce and beetroot seed whilst the smaller 1m long planter is home to two tomato plants and a winter squash.
Over in the raised beds, winter squash and a mix of Brassicas have been carefully planted out and are growing well. The Brassicas are secure under micro fine insect mesh and include: mixed cauliflower, green heading broccoli, purple Kohl Rabi and winter cabbage. There are still more seedlings to plant out and they will go into the still vacant octagonal raised bed, under cover and alongside some leeks.
General weeding has also been done, again without complaint and the Year 5 girls have taken on the daily (if the sun is shining) task of watering the various pots and tubs dotted around the vegetable area, including the Wooden Box container garden which, this year, is home to tomatoes and a couple of cucumber plants. They are also watering the Courtyard garden and the poly tunnel which has been a big help to me.
More bean and mangetout seeds have also been sown which, we hope, will be ready for sale at the Summer Fayre in a couple of weeks time.
What do we need to do in the garden?
More of the same really. Weeding, watering and feeding and then picking, pulling and digging.
With only around 20 days left of this school year, the Gardening Club children will continue to maintain and care for the garden and i will take over during the holidays. Over the last couple of years, the vegetables harvested over the summer holiday have been boxed up and handed over to the church warden, who then distributes the produce to the pensioners in the village. We hope to be able to do this again this summer, as it helps strengthen the ties between the school and the community.
We still have the last of the mixed Brassicas to plant out, as well as the leeks and some more carrot and beetroot seed needs sowing as well, all of which needs to be completed by end of term. Over in the Courtyard, the potatoes are ready for pulling which is, I am sure, a job the children will thoroughly enjoy.
Other news from around the garden:
Excitingly, the Inca Berry plants (AKA Cape Gooseberries, Golden berries) are flowering and the children can hardly wait to see and try what is a new fruit to us – me included! We also have flowers galore on the tomato plants which should mean a bumper year and plenty of snacks for the children when they come back in September. Another bumper crop (and more probably glut) will be the courgettes which have an abundance of flowers AND fruit on them already. We are growing two kinds of courgette again this year: the traditional ‘finger’ shaped ones and the more unusual round variety.
There are also a number of flowers across the various pumpkin plants, including some female flowers, which hopefully bodes well for the County Councils Giant Pumpkin competition but only time will tell and the children are keeping an eye on their particular House Team pumpkin plants and those with female flowers on their plants have enthusiastically claimed bragging rights.
I think that’s it for news from the school garden this month but please do pop over to Lizzies blog and check out the latest news from the other gardens in the collective, they make for interesting and informative reading.