Not sure what to do when?

Friday, 27 November 2009

Cropper the Carrot Goes to the Show

If you teach very young children or have a young child at home and want a book linked to growing your own try this one.

Cropper the Carrot is the star of a book for all children aged 0-6 years. This charming story tells of Cropper's exploits as he and his friends get ready for the big show. 'Cropper the Carrot goes to the show' is a traditional children's book. It is beautifully written and illustrated in striking colour and is a firm favourite with children throughout the world. 
Cropper is charming, cheeky, quick to help others and an all round loveable rogue. Cropper gets into all sorts of scrapes because he is that kind of carrot.

The book is written by Phil McCann and illustrated by David Barnett. Phil has written for virtually every gardening publication in the UK and is the author of many gardening books. He has worked in every kind of gardening media and has appeared as a gardening presenter on screen and on radio so he knows his carrots.

Written, illustrated and printed in the UK, 'Cropper the Carrot goes to the show' appeals to all children who are starting to read, developing their reading skills and those who simply want to a enjoy a great story.

For more books linked to gardening click here

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Choosing the right greenhouse

Along with a garden shed there will come a time when everyone growing their own vegetables will consider buying a greenhouse.

If you are going to raise your own plants from seeds then you are going to need some type of greenhouse in which to keep them protected until conditions are right for outdoor planting.

If blight is a problem where you garden it is also best to grow tomatoes under cover.

A greenhouse will also extend the length of time that you can carry out gardening activities and offer protection for the gardener not only the plants if weather is poor.

Choosing the right greenhouse is important as it is not only a major expense but one that you will live with for a long time. We have agreenhouse that has moved its location three times and is still going strong.

For more advice on making the right choice for you click here

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Choosing a Garden Shed

Before choosing a shed you need to decide what you will use it for. Is it just for storage, is it going to double up as a workshop or potting shed, is it somewhere to shelter from the weather?

If the shed is to be used just for storage then would a storage cabinet be suitable instead? Sheds just used for storage may not need to have a window. This may also be seen as added security by keeping your gardening tools out of sight.

However ,if you wish to use the shed as a workshop or potting shed then you will require as much light as possible.

Click here for more tips on choosing the right shed for you.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Choosing fruit for the school plot

One of the problems of growing fruit with children is that it can take a while for new plants to become established and produce a crop of fruit.
The season is also long and this can cause young children to lose interest. The key here is to focus on the changing seasons. The children can look out for new leaf buds, buds coming into leaf and the shapes of the leaves, flower buds, opening flowers and the structure of a flower, pollination by the insects, the types of insects visiting the fruit trees/bushes, immature fruits forming, fruit maturing, harvesting, leaves changing colour and eventually falling from the tree. Some fruit bushes such as blackcurrants and gooseberries do not have obvious flowers which in itself is interesting.

Strawberries are probably the easiest of the fruits to grow. They mature in a much shorter time and can be grown in containers as well as in open ground. Alpine strawberries are a cultivated form of wild strawberries and are grown from seed.

Most fruits can be grown in containers if this is preferred but will need far more attention than those grown in open ground. Watering is especially crucial and could be problematic during school holidays. If you wish to grow fruit in containers check that the variety and rootstock is suitable for this type of cultivation.

Varieties should be carefully considered, however you wish to grow your fruit. Choose varieties or rootstock that are the right size for your plot, that don’t grow into trees too high for the children to appreciate them and also that don’t produce most of their fruit during the August holiday.

All fruit performs best if situated in a sheltered, sunny position in fertile soil. Soil preparation is important as the plants will remain in position for a long time.

Click here for more help with choosing fruit for your patch.

Victoriana Nursery Gardens Special Discounts

Victoriana Nursery Gardens
Are offering a 10% discount on all their products no code required as discount is automatically applied (prices are already very competitive) to anyone ordering from them after visiting any of my blogs or websites.

They also offer a discount scheme for schools
School Gardening Discount Scheme

Schools are offered a blanket discount of 20% on seed and plant orders and 10% on garden tool and sundry orders (this discount does not extend to the carriage element of any order). For more information click here

Why not click here and browse their website anyway!

Monday, 16 November 2009

RHS website changes - HELP needed.

The RHS have decided to update their website so links that I have created to their site may not lead to the required pages.

I am changing these as soon as I come across them but some are difficult to spot so please let me know if you find any bad links either on my blogs or websites so that I can deal with them.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Worms as pets?

Worms make ideal class pets! They don’t need grooming or exercising nor do they live in cages that need regularly cleaning out. They will also survive over the school holidays without being fed every day.

By keeping a wormery not only would you be acquiring a trouble free member of the class – and how often does that happen? – but you would also be provided with a very worthwhile educational resource. It would provide the children with a practical way of taking part in a recycling project and also fits in well with the science curriculum. On top of all of that the worms will produce an end product that can be used in the school garden.

To learn more about wormeries click here

To make a mini version of a wormery for observation purposes click here

To read more about earthworms click here

Saturday, 7 November 2009

December calendar is complete

December is a quiet time in the garden.
Frosty nights are frequent this month. Although frosts can be seen as a problem they also help break down lumpy soil and kill many plant pests and diseases. They also improve the flavour of vegetables such as parsnips. If the ground is very frosty or wet then it is best to avoid walking on it as this can spoil the soil structure. Cold winds, rain and even snow can also be a feature. If possible remove snow from bushes, especially those in leaf, to avoid damage. It is also possible that some early snow could fall. Click here for suggested December activities. If you wish to add suggestions then please use the comments area of this post.

Although work outdoors may be limited don't forget to consider your plot wildlife. Look after them through the winter months and they will pay you back by helping keep pests at bay during the growing season. Winter months are also a good time to plan for the season ahead. The children could also record weather conditions as we have started to do for our garden.

The calendar indew had for some reason disappeared and so I have recreated it here.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Choosing which vegetables to grow.

Do you have an area of land prepared for your vegetable patch but are unsure of what you should grow? I recently received an email from a school that had just this problem and so I am working on some pages on my website that I hope will offer some support.

Besides growing vegetables consider growing fruit, herbs, flowers and if space allows some shrubs or trees. Also consider the introduction of wildlife habitats and feeding stations.

Herbs, flowers, shrubs and trees will encourage a diversity of wildlife which will help control vegetable pests and ensure successful pollination.

Choice of what to grow will depend on several things:

  • How much space do you have available?
  • What age of children are you working with?
  • How much time do you have to devote to the vegetable patch?
  • Have you anyone who will take care of your plot during school holidays – especially during August?
Unfortunately August is a really busy time for harvesting crops. In order to minimise the effect of having vegetables ready for harvesting in August choose early ot late maturing varieties. If you can persuade someone to harvest crops such as beans during the August holiday then they should keep producing and provide some vegetables for harvesting in September.

Fruit and vegetable growth does not necessarily fit in to the schools year. Some crops that have a long growing season will need to be planted during one school year and harvested during the next. If this isn't desirable then you will need to omit growing crops that require a long season.

The pages that I am working on are intended to give you a starting point and help you make appropriate choices.

So far I have completed the advice on choosing vegetables other pages will be produced later. For vegetable advice click here