Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Week 4   17 March

Excellent gardening weather today - sunny and dry. Activities were mainly outside. As is customary, we started with healthy snacks, then the children were divided into their groups. 
Today's activities were potato planting, sowing peas in tubs for salad sprouts, working on the strawberry beds, digging out compost, and harvesting ingredients for the cookery session.

The seed potatoes had been set up to 'chit' (sprout) in the first session. As everyone knows (or maybe doesn't know) this is to give them a head start, encouraging quicker growth and earlier crops. It's quite early for planting potatoes due the threat of frosts, but we had decided to bring the planting forward due to to the excellent weather. If a frost is forecast when they come out, we need to remember to cover them.
This photo is from week 1. By week 4, the sprouts have grown (disappointingly, not by much, because it's been quite cold, but they are ok for planting). 
Some rows had already been dug in the potato bed. Now all we had to do was add some manure, plant the seed potatoes, then cover them over with soil. The children were divided into the various jobs. First, some manure was then forked into the row. This is to 'feed' the potatoes and helps them to grow. The 'planters' were then given a measuring stick so the the potatoes could be spaced equally apart (30cm). Then the potatoes were covered over with soil. The children worked hard, did a great job, and the first row was completed in super-quick time. The potato shoots should be peeping out in a few weeks - probably four or five weeks we hope - if the weather doesn't go cold again. 

Here, the potatoes have just been been planted, and we are covering them with soil.

More peas were sown in tubs in the polytunnel (the ones sown last week are already peeping through). The mustard seeds we sowed in tissue paper in week 1 have also done well - the seedlings are now large enough for salad use or garnish. 

Outside work also included digging out compost and transporting it to the beds; and placing some wood chips between the rows of strawberries. Thyme, artichokes and broccoli were harvested for today's cookery session.

Purple sprouting broccoli, freshly picked

 Just picked some thyme for today's recipe

 Recipes at the cookery session included potato and celeriac mash with garlic, Jerusalem artichoke and purple sprouting broccoli flavoured with thyme, and French beans tied with chives. A lot of chopping and preparation (and patience) was involved. The children worked with great care. Result: a range of tasty and healthy vegetable dishes to accompany a meal, including ingredients grown in the garden.

Tying the beans with chives
To take home

Visit to see more pictures, activities and descriptions of this week's cookery session.

Today's extra bit:
These are some great photos of earlier weeks, just received:

In the polytunnel - learning about composting - sorting what is and isn't compostable - week 1

Choosing vegetables for the cookery session

Picking herbs and salad crops

Bean sowing team           at work >

Harvesting broccoli in the polytunnel for the cookery session

< The results of cooking the purple sprouting broccoli. Interestingly, when it's cooked, the purple turns dark green like this. It's full of vitamins and goodness.

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