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Thursday, 29 April 2010

Using ICT to plan your vegetable patch.

One activity that combines gardening, ICT and geography is the creation of plans for your vegetable patch.

A system that can be used effectively for the is GrowVeg. This is a web based system that allows children to easily draw up attractive plans. This has proved very popular in some schools and a school licence is available which allows a single account to be used by multiple pupils or groups of pupils in a class. This is basically the same as a single-user account but is marked for concurrent access. It costs £25 per year (which can be invoiced to the school if required). The teacher will usually set up the outline plan for the garden as a template that they then make a copy for each child/group to use. The pupils are all logged on to the same account but open the plan allotted to them so that they don't save over each other's work. Setting it up this way enables the teacher to log on and get access to all the pupils' plans after the class.

For several years now we have used this system to plan our allotment plots. A great feature of this system is that after you have used it for a year the it 'remembers' which crops were grown where in previous years and gives a warning if you try and plant something in a position that has been used for a similar crop in a previous year.

Where different groups of children are using the same gardening space in consecutive years or where members of staff change  it is essential that a plan is kept each year to avoid cultivation problems that may result in using the same area year after year for the same type of crop.

To read more about how we have used the system click here

For more links to the ICT curriculum click here

Online Garden Planning Tool

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Garden Calendar update for May

May is an exciting time of year when things really start to 'get going' in the garden.

May can be one of the driest months of the year so you need to take care not to let seedlings dry out. Also make sure that fruit bushes and trees that are setting fruit are well watered at the roots.

May is also often one of the sunniest months of the year but it can be a very changeable month with temperatures rising and falling quickly. Frosts may still be likely in some areas although the risk does decrease at the end of the month.

Ventilate the greenhouse in the daytime to prevent temperatures becoming too high when it is sunny.

The difference in temperatures between inside a greenhouse and outside can be fairly extreme so it is important to harden off and plants that have been raised indoors before planting outside in beds. The principle is to expose plants to conditions outdoors gradually so they acclimatise to outdoor conditions. This is called hardening off see gardening techniques on the website.

I've added the list of gardening activity suggestions for May to the website. Click here

As usual if you have any other suggestions please post them in the comments area here.
For links to the complete gardening calendar click here

On another note if you are thinking of adding a shed to your plot check out this website before buying as they offer some very cost effective solutions. Click here for more information about choosing a shed.