Many local (and not so local) children come to Nightingale community Garden out of school hours, so it makes sense to collaborate and co-ordinate with what is happening locally and also nationally. Our garden volunteers are also just starting to work with some parent volunteers from Queen Edith's Primary School to investigate ways they can develop their school gardening.

Cambridge Botanic Garden - Schools garden

The photo at the top of the page is from the new sign in the Schools Garden at Cambridge Botanic Gardens - a very inspiring place for anyone interested in gardening for, and with, children - and adults too.

Back of the Schools Garden sign - made by Rowan Cambridge

Back of the Schools Garden sign - made by Rowan Cambridge

Raised bed with mosaics, including found objects in local gardens

Raised bed with mosaics, including found objects in local gardens

Can grow plants - and crops - in simple tubs (make sure they have drainage) 

Can grow plants - and crops - in simple tubs (make sure they have drainage) 

Looking across the permanent herb garden - beds for planting are marked with low edging with bark (on weed-suppressant membrane) or paved paths between.

Looking across the permanent herb garden - beds for planting are marked with low edging with bark (on weed-suppressant membrane) or paved paths between.

For school gardening, it can be good to grow plants in 'families' - it helps with crop rotation too. Be a bit wary of growing sweet peas, which have toxic pods, alongside edible pod crops.

For school gardening, it can be good to grow plants in 'families' - it helps with crop rotation too. Be a bit wary of growing sweet peas, which have toxic pods, alongside edible pod crops.

Another family bed, which also has companion flowers - they look pretty too

Another family bed, which also has companion flowers - they look pretty too

Flowers are good to grow in school gardens - these were both flowering before the end of Summer term. The dahlias are, maybe, for a citizen science bumble bee counting project (we have them at Nightingale too).

Flowers are good to grow in school gardens - these were both flowering before the end of Summer term. The dahlias are, maybe, for a citizen science bumble bee counting project (we have them at Nightingale too).

RHS School gardening course - at Cambridge Botanic garden - July 2017

One of our garden volunteers went on this one-day course - and learned so much (and had a really fun time too). Here are just a few photos.

Alison from the RHS sowing seed along a home-made measuring stick

Alison from the RHS sowing seed along a home-made measuring stick

Part of the seed sowing session - how to make a proper plant label!

Part of the seed sowing session - how to make a proper plant label!

Re-usable seeds trays for making rainbow salad gardens to take home. Also small, water-saving, bottle top, 'watering cans'.

Re-usable seeds trays for making rainbow salad gardens to take home. Also small, water-saving, bottle top, 'watering cans'.

Seed sowing kit - the small coloured tubs are useful for allocating seed to sow. Clear plastic take-away cartons are also good for sowing and you can see the roots developing (make holes in the base). There is a 'pizza pot' hanging basket in the background - with tumbling tomatoes, basil, thyme (maybe) and (I think) an edible viola flower.

Seed sowing kit - the small coloured tubs are useful for allocating seed to sow. Clear plastic take-away cartons are also good for sowing and you can see the roots developing (make holes in the base). There is a 'pizza pot' hanging basket in the background - with tumbling tomatoes, basil, thyme (maybe) and (I think) an edible viola flower.

Larger seeds are easier for children to sow - these are probably radish or a brassica, which also germinate very quickly and can be eaten as spicy leaves - or grown on in deeper soil. Several short rows have been made with a pencil for different coloured plants to grow.

Larger seeds are easier for children to sow - these are probably radish or a brassica, which also germinate very quickly and can be eaten as spicy leaves - or grown on in deeper soil. Several short rows have been made with a pencil for different coloured plants to grow.

Paper potters can be used to make individual planting pots - or you can make your own kit with tin cans that sit inside each other (see photo below).

Paper potters can be used to make individual planting pots - or you can make your own kit with tin cans that sit inside each other (see photo below).

Children (and adults) can have fun making labels for their growing crops, in this case from cardboard.

Children (and adults) can have fun making labels for their growing crops, in this case from cardboard.

Taking cuttings into gel medium. Can see the roots growing - but they would be expensive for a whole class. Plastic milk bottles can be made into lots of things - I think this is a scoop but we also saw a carrying basket.

Taking cuttings into gel medium. Can see the roots growing - but they would be expensive for a whole class. Plastic milk bottles can be made into lots of things - I think this is a scoop but we also saw a carrying basket.

Links

Here are some good resources we have gathered:

  • Real Seed Company - because they aren't F1 varieties, they can be saved and re-grown each year.
  • RHS Campaign for School Gardening - a truly fantastic resource with free-to-access lesson plans, activity sheets, spotter sheets etc. You can register as an individual to access them and they all print off very well - for laminating etc. The RHS also offer very good one-day courses, including at Cambridge Botanic Garden.
  • Cambridge Botanic Garden - wonderful education services, including school visits, and also family-friendly events throughout the year. Online guides to their range of activities: including the scented garden, measuring trees etc.

Last updated: 22 July 2017