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The tribulations of school gardening


School gardening is not always ladybirds and teddy bears. For one, I only got the OK with funding in February this year and have had to fight to get money released for materials or go out of my way to aquire them myself. Its been a mixed result of hard work (mine), money (theirs) and money (mine). Mixed results ensued. Some areas recieved more attention than others when it comes to preparing the soil. When the council delivered the soil for the raised beds, it was so poor and sandy that it was packed full of stones and even broken glass!!

Kids + broken glass = not good.

Anyway, I got through the worst and most things are doing very well. There are the odd places where things arent thriving as well as they should:

The tomatoes are obviously going through tough times. Being a student myself, Ive been too poor to buy tomato feed and there is no one at school to pay for anything. Sigh…lesson learned for next year.

Same with the squash. We didnt prepare the soil well enough and now they are suffering. I reckon I’ll look under the sofa for loose change. They need feeding the poor suckers! Plus the kids need pumpkins when they get back from holiday.

Oddly, I have strange sweetcorn mutants. They have side stems producing these mutand ears that have both male and female parts. The husks come off by themselves revealing odd shaped kernels. Could it be the poor soil? Who knows? Any ideas? Edible?

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i am sure the sweet corn is edible. we have got so used to 'perfectly' shaped fruit and veg. it is probably due to the nutrient mix.
did you set aside an area for a compost bin. if not try and find a spot as it will be fantastic for your all own compost. and as it rots down let the kiddies look through it at all the beasties. believe me even big kids enjoy it.

7 Aug, 2009


One thing I get wound up about is red tape and lethargy, (that's two!). I won't rant on, I'll try to be constructive for a change. Just a thought, but have you tried Freecycle? They have groups all over the UK and I've just googled up ...'Freecycle Norwich uk'... on a search, they have over 20,000 members in the Norwich area who like to give things away! You can put a message for 'Wanted', maybe someone has excess fertiizer they would like to give you?
...Also, you can make your own, nettles, comfrey solutions etc. Our local allotment keepers brew all sorts and get amazing results, check your local allotments out they're always a good source of experienced knowledge, and 'real gardeners' usually love to give you the benefit of their successes!
Good Luck.

7 Aug, 2009


Thanks Seaburn girl. Yes, we have three large pallet compost bins, soon leaf mould and loam pile. The area is new and it will only be ready next season unfortunatly.

Thanks Junglejen. Yes, I use freecycle regularly. I'm transport-less and skint so it does cause a problem. Part of me also thinks "if THEY cant be bothered, neither can I". I've spent more weekend hours than I'd like to admit doing work and this summer I'm taking it eeeaaaasssssyyyy

7 Aug, 2009


Interesting how some establishments are happy to let someone else do all the work!
Our Garden Club made a garden in the town centre a few years back and looked after it for 18 months. At this pont, the landowner put up plaque saying it was THEIR garden - we downed tools at this point and let them look after it (which needless to say, they didn't) and now the Council have had to take it on

7 Aug, 2009


sounds familiar.... i have someone trying to claim credit from an ivory tower.

7 Aug, 2009


Hey to them youre "just " the gardener a very lowly position in their eyes. They think it all happens on its own, stupid people!. One of the reasons what I do is for us (the family) and no one elses benefit, though we do shar excess veggies with deserving neighbours from time to time when its spare. Its also the main reason why I won't get involved with the local schools project allotment.

but if you've started it then continue ...but if theyre extracting the wet stuff just walk away....

9 Aug, 2009


Indypendant: I like your cynisism.

I'm actually doing this for several reasons aside from improving the place where I live (its considered a deprived area!). One of those reasons is that I'm a university student (Ecology) and will be looking for employment when I leave uni and its fantastic to already have 2 years experience as an entrepreneur and charity worker blah de blah de blah.

On the plus side, said person didnt realise that I'm a wolf in a sheep's clothing. The teeth only come out when necessary and she's starting to feel the full force of my bite, shall we say. I take sick pleasure in exposing her.

Plus, we all want to winge about the world's problems and doing this means I can feel justified about my soapbox!

9 Aug, 2009


OOOHH! goody goody a WOOOOLUF! go get er bite er good then write up the story loosely disguised as a fairy tale and entertain the kids with it lol!

9 Aug, 2009


Why not check out Instaplanta's horticultural products? They take away a lot of the back breaking year round maintenance, promote 'success', easily maintained and the kids can even take home their little piece of the school garden to look after with mum and dad!!

They are also running a competition at the moment in conjunction with 'Growing Schools' with some great gardening prizes to be won!!

13 Mar, 2011

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