17th July 2013
The Garden is really taking off! Everything has well and truly got going after a very slow start.
The sweet peas smell fantastic, and the Keyhole Garden is absolutely full of veg and herbs! It's also great to see baby patty-pan squash as well as runner beans on the gourd arch!
4th July 2013
A quick look at some of the other things in the garden.
25th June 2013: Evening in the Garden
The Garden is very peaceful in the evening!
And very busy too.. tonight, there were wrens chasing around the Y5 fence, blackbirds and thrushes in the long grass habitat getting insects to eat, and robins in the grass further in to the garden. There were bees on the common mallow, and hoverflies around the long grasses.
The golden evening sun made the green of the new leaves look really stunning.
The new plant signs made by Y6 are really bright and colourful, and look great as well as giving everyone more information about what is growing!
9th June 2013
lots to see all over the garden - but it's really dry, so it's starting to take longer and longer to keep it all watered!
Really pleased to see bees enjoying the flowers, and that the areas of long grass have lots of visiting insects - as well as being home to the frogs.
A community garden area?
How it looks 31st May:
The border along the Baptist Church wall in the main playground looks fantastic when all the daffodils are out.. but after that, it's not so great!
Unfortunately, it is FULL of bindweed, which has arrow-shaped leaves and large trumpet shaped white flowers, and takes over everything.
The money that we have won from Green Schools Revolution is to be spent partly on creating mini-plots for community gardens (families and friends after school), and we are hoping to use the bindweed-infested area!
But first, we'll have to do battle with the bindweed!
The Red House
As we plan to use this much more this year, not just for seedlings, we're giving the Red House its own page on the website, so look for more photos there later in the summer and autumn.
Right now, you can see how the Y4 and Y5 science experiments are coming on - really well!
Quite a few things had to be planted out over half term, as they were just getting too big to stay healthy in there.
Other seedlings are coming up too - we found some packets of seed that had been donated, so we have some Godetia - we will have to find space to plant them out!
Year 4 grow sunflowers seeds as part of their science topic, and this year we wanted to give them a proper home!
We decided that part of the new Littleover in Bloom garden would house the Y4 sunflowers. For now, all the seeds are in the Red House until the seedlings start to grow and are large enough to handle and to plant out.
The sunflowers will also have to wait until we can remove some concrete bases that were under the slabs in the new garden! It turned out to be a harder job than we first thought, so hopefully it will be sorted out before the sunflowers are ready...
Barrel planting competition
The Karen Theaker memorial garden consists of eight half-barrels that are planted every year by children who have won the annual competition to design a planting scheme.
This year's barrels were planted up on 17th May. We couldn't do one of them, as it had become totally water-logged and the compost had to be completely emptied (rather than just replacing a bit of it). The missing barrel will be completed the week before half term, after it's been filled with lovely new compost!
All the old compost has been used as soil improver on the planting area that we used to grow sweetcorn last year. The soil here is particularly bad, so anything we can do to help it is a bonus. We haven't managed to plant it up yet, but aim to do it before half term!
11th July 2013
Just a quick update around the garden again - the Keyhole garden is amazing, especially the sweetcorn - unlike last year (remember??).
And we have some stunning patty pan squash flowers, which is great as at one point it looked like the slugs were going to finish them off.
The new bed where the potatoes was is doing well, considering that the seedlings were very rootbound, so well done little seedlings!!
1st July 2013
A busy day in the garden... a group of boys in Y4 continued with clearing the area that will become the Community Gardens, along the wall by the Baptist Church. It is full of bindweed and the most enormous dandelions! We took out much of the vegetation last week, and today we started to clear off the top layer of bark chippings and loose greenery, and to put it on the compost heap. Which meant learning to steer a very heavy wheelbarrow!
We also harvested some of the potatoes, to cook and make into potato salad for the Illuminate after school club. There were some amazing colours - and you can see the difference between the white varieties too.
The gourd and bean arch is coming on, and the gourds that are left seem to have overcome the slug attacks and are looking really good. The beans are climbing high up the framework, and there are plenty of flowers.
16th June 2013
Great to see that everything is mostly getting on well... however, we have definitely got to do something about slugs eating all the gourd plants! We do have some plants in reserve, and they will go out eventually - when we have some slug defences!
The potatoes are doing well, and will need earthing up - and weeding!
Y5 Keyhole Garden - starting to plant it up
31st May: We planted seeds in the Red House and we now have a good selection of seedlings to go into the Keyhole Garden.
So far there is:
and some marigolds left over from the barrel planting!
Hopefully, the pigeons won't eat them...
Around the Garden 31st May
The garden is starting to look very lush - some might say overgrown!
We try not to keep it all tidy - the long grass is a haven for wildlife, including our little frogs, and there is an abundance of insects in there.
The wildflowers have self-seeded well.
We've also introduced a herb garden / old medicinal plants garden where we had carrots last year.
The carrot seeds are just starting to show, as are the seeds in the old sweetcorn bed - breadseed poppies and quinoa
May 27th: Bean and gourd arch...starting to grow!
We try to grow everything in the garden from seed. Mostly, this happens in the Red House (which is full to bursting at the moment!). The bean and gourd plants were grown from seed, using old varieties.
They're looking ok so far, although the gourd plants are showing some signs of slug damage around the stems!
We have a few back-up plants to replace them if we have to, but not as many as we thought - quite a few of the second planting were eaten by mice!
We've also seeded the bed in front of school (you can just see it through the gourd arch). It has a mixture of breadseed poppies and quinoa - a bit of an unusual combination, and we don't know what will happen!
May 17th 2013
The children often come out at break and lunch times to work in the garden, especially if we're trying to get something finished. They will also take turn having the camera to show people what we do...
Today we needed to get the carrots planted! After our great success this year, we've taken over one of the raised beds. We weeded it (again!), then planted three different varieties, one purple, one yellow and one white. This was because we talked about why carrots are always orange, and we decided to try some older varieties instead this year.
We also weeded the keyhole garden, as Y5 will need to transplant their seedling to it after half term. And we generally checked out other areas of the garden - the potatoes are coming along very slowly, but there are lots of things happening, including a lovely jack-by-the-hedge plant!
You can also see how much everyone just loves being in the garden!
Planting up the main garden...
After seeing several examples of gourd arches last year, we're now able to create our own! We will grow different types of gourd up the framework - this means we can make a better use of the space, make an amazing display of plants and veg (hopefully!), and have a different thing to cook in the autumn.
One gourd arch was seen at Calke Abbey in Derbyshire, so we let them know what we are doing. This is what they replied:
"That's brilliant! You'll have to share some photos of your progress" 9th May 2013
We are also going to grow some runner beans over the frame, as we hope to make runner bean chutney later in the year.
The soil in this area is terrible, so we are going to experiment by planting out our seedlings into large pots with the bottoms knocked out, and fill these with compost. Hopefully, this will give enough good soil to keep our gourds happy...
We also planted sweetcorn seeds in the Red House. When these have become seedlings big enough to handle, they will go into Y5's Keyhole Garden. Sadly, the Send A Cow charity no longer sell the kits of seeds for the Keyhole Garden, so we are simply buying the seeds individually. We also have Calendula to go into the Keyhole Garden, with these seeds donated by Littleover In Bloom.
Spring Term 2013
Earth Day 22nd April 2013
Illuminate have two groups, meeting at lunchtime and after school. We celebrated Earth Day firstly by having a tree dressing the tree in our new garden, using twigs and wool. The colours used represent things we love about Planet Earth - sky, mountains, rivers, sea...
After school, we planted out potatoes that have been chitted in class, creating eight mini plots, two of each variety. We've got early varieties: Casablanca, Duke of York (red), Rocket and Pentland Javelin.
We also planted out ten crab apple saplings, along one of the very bare fence lines in the garden.
New garden space
We were running out of space to plant things, so we've made a new garden!
We used some old basket willow (not living willow) to create an interesting fence around the grass at the front of school. It was always a bit of a problem area, as the grass wears away and it's either just dusty or muddy. So, we will grow climbing plants up the willow fence, and others can be put into beds in the space.
There's been a suggestion that we don't plant all the space, but leave it as a sculpture garden so that classes can put temporary sculpture work for everyone to see.
What do you think?
March 2013: doing something about those muddy paths!
We had a donation of a load of bark chippings from a local tree surgeon.. so we have to dig out the paths and then fill them with chippings. A lot harder than it sounds! We are also preparing the raised beds - and we've made a new one! - so that we can look at the seeds that need to be sown directly into the ground (rather than being started in pots first), and decide what's going where.
January 2013: New jobs and sorting out the garden
Because we've given new jobs to the Y6 Eco Committee and Eco Monitors, and some keen people who are going to do special projects, there's been some sorting out in the garden!
The Weather Station: Eco Monitors now take regular weather information and record it in a log
Compost Corner: Part of our efforts to recycle our garden waste, which will help our garden grow, too.
The Red House: We didn't buy a greenhouse or poly-tunnel - last year we used part of the bike shed that wasn't being used for bikes. All year groups will use it, and we're starting to plan what we're going to grow.
The Bog: A project we started last year, which we will develop this year. We're looking for it to be adopted by a class, year, or a group of children...
Keyhole Garden: Y5 has adopted this for their Tudors and Africa projects.
January 2013: It's become very cold in the garden!
We were putting up the new bird feeding station, and the ground was really hard with the slushy snow that has now frozen. The cobwebs look fantastic as they are covered with ice crystals.
Sir Oaky is still in his protective mini-fencing, but he has started to grow a bit wonky! This may be because an insect has damaged his bark, and the tree has been tricked into growing the wrong way. It will take him a long time to grow into a big tree, but he'll always have his wonky branch!
February 2012: thinking about planting...
Our first seed order has arrived, and the list of seeds so far is up in the kitchen next to 4F. It includes some interesting vegetables! There are old varieties of carrots (as requested by lots of children, after our success last year with 'ordinary' carrots!), as well as runner beans (now we have found a brilliant runner bean chutney recipe, we'll have something to do with them if we have as many as last year!). There's also a surprise vegetable, that will be unveiled later on!
We've also had a delivery of a seed potato planting pack - but only one, so we shall duplicate everything in it to create at least one more pack, and year 5 have asked if they can be the potato growers. If any other class wants a go, then we'll create more growing kits!
January 2013: New things in the garden...
We had a lot of plans for what would go in the garden... and we're continuing to tick things of our list as we manage to sort them out!
We now not only have the water butt (although the rain hasn't stopped since we put the first one in!), we now have a compost heap made from recycled pallets, lovely signs for the Bog Garden, the Keyhole Garden and the Red House (our greenhouse, that cleverly uses the back, unused part of the cycle shed), and we have a Weather Station!
December 2012... Y3 explore the garden and learn about trees
It was really cold! The ground stayed frosty all day, and the cobwebs were icy. We made a human tree to learn about the structure of all the trees in the garden. Then we talked about what trees need to survive and to be able to grow to their maximum size, so we played a 'make the best use of your growing space' game. Then we made Christmas pictures on the ground using whatever natural objects we could find...
And to finish, we had some very welcome hot chocolate!
This is the second Y5 class, so they did most of the 'cob' on to the weave...
Late October 2012...
And there are still beautiful colours in the garden - the fallen leaves, and the wildflowers are still looking brilliant.
November 2012... the Tudor African Garden!
We began a brilliant project with Y5! Y4 had done a Harvest Assembly, about the Send A Cow charity's 'Keyhole garden' project with villages in Africa. This is a style of gardening that makes the best use of available land and composting material. Y5 do an Africa project in February, so we thought we would make our own keyhole garden. But, Y5 are now doing their Tudors topic... so we used the Tudor construction technique of cob building to make the African garden!
We used clay, sand, soil, sawdust and hay to make our building 'gloop', and pushed it into the woven wall of the garden. We made the wall with oak and sycamore stakes, woven with willow withies. Both classes have had a go, although it was much colder the second time (a week after the first class), so we had to have hot chocolate to warm up!
We will then fill the garden with manure and soil, and plant it up in the spring time.
We had a great time and got very muddy on both days. Fantastic!
Below is the first Y5 class, and they did most of the weaving...
The Garden in August 2012
It's wild in the Garden!
After all the extreme weather - too much rain, not enough rain... things have finally got going.
Look at the sweetcorn! The first lot died because of all the rain, so this is the second planting.
Although they're not very tall, we actually have two baby sweetcorn (look for the flowers above, and one plant has two 'beards' lower down the stalk).
And how big are the runner bean plants! And the carrots!
The strawberries in Fawlty Towers have finished, but there are still a few blackcurrants on the bushes.
Sadly, the cherry tree has died, but we have a apple tree to put in its place. We can plant that later in the autumn.
And the wild flowers look so colourful - they were tiny plants at the end of the summer term... what an amazing change in a month.