Gardening is for life, not just for summer

Gardening with kids: you know the scene… sunny days, seeds, sunflowers. But over the past few weeks I have enjoyed the most marvellous mini-gardener sessions, thanks to the kids of Hollickwood School, even as the weather has moved from crisply autumnal to frankly freezing.

Almost enough grains for a Weetabix!

First, 6 year olds harvested wheat with the tale of the Little Red Hen ringing in their ears. This was thanks to the Real Bread Campaign, whose Bake Your Lawn project had encouraged us, back in the spring, to plant wheat grains in a long bed next to the basketball pitch. A Noah’s Ark summer followed and we feared the worst but, against expectations, our crop did grow and ripen on schedule. Now we’re just building up to milling and baking (the campaign’s encouraging suggestion that a friendly local mill lend their services is a little optimistic for our über-urban school, but we’re hoping that a food processor will do the trick).

A couple of weeks later, on a cold wet day, a little posse of 3 year olds gathered to plant native hedge plants, supplied free by the Woodland Trust. There was some excellent digging and much worm-prodding … and I’m quietly confident that a few good plants will survive, despite having been eagerly squashed six to each hole!

Finally, it was the turn of the 8 year olds to get their onion sets in. I’d say at least 80% went in the right way up and, as one girl proudly declared herself to be an International Onion Expert, I’m sure they will be a delicious treat when we harvest them next summer.

Next week: broad bean planting with 4 year olds, so long as the ground isn’t completely frozen. They’ve been reading Jack and the Beanstalk so I just need to remember to explain that only runner beans come with giants at the top!


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