Planting plan for nursery school

Just worked up a small planting plan for the daughter’s nursery school. They want to be able to plant a couple of things each term, so I’ve had a look through Joy Larkom’s Grow your own vegetables and Dominic Murphy’s The playground potting shed and worked out what fits into the nursery term structure.

Incidentally, I found “the playground potting shed” as a hardback for a quid because the paperback had just come out. I’ve had a skim of the book & it’s a nice read but it’s from Dorset — significantly warmer than here and also with different terms to the Scottish educational system — so I couldn’t carry the examples over wholesale.

The first constraint is that the Summer term ends at the end of June. That’s not long after the hungry gap, and certainly before the main crops are ready. Secondly, I’ve chosen a plan which has the vegetables ready in the same academic year as they are planted. If this was relaxed, it might be easier to plant seeds in the Summer term and then harvest in Autumn.

This is where a discussion with the school staff will firm up the plan. The point is that I’ve created a plan as part of the school’s Eco schools Scotland programme (and I’m very glad I don’t have to tie all the points into their big-A, big-P Action Plan). Plenty of time for fine-tuning the growing plan as the year progresses.

Here’s a scan of the plan:
vegetable planting and harvesting plan for a nursery school

The timings look OK as long as there’s not another severe Winter. There’s also a variety in the things the kids are planting: a seed potato; a clove of garlic; big seeds and small seeds; green, black and white seeds; round seeds and elongated seeds. I’ve had many interesting discussions with the daughter over seeds; long may it continue!

The rocket starts

Nice family trip to the plot today — a low impact way to spend the bank holiday Monday.

The rhubarb’s still going strong and now the rocket and spinach are ready for harvesting. It’s nerve-wracking, really, ensuring that the food’s not wasted. And I can see the blackcurrants swelling but still green, the garlic strong, the beans in flower; more picking and preserving needed throughout the Summer.

Today’s work: weeding, weeding, weeding; planted a row of peas with the girl; planted 25 French beans around the tepee.

Planting peas with gusto

Planting peas with gusto

Today’s haul: 1.8 kg of rhubarb that’s gone straight into the freezer in 300 gramme bags; 125 grammes of spinach that’s maturing in a dahl sag for tomorrow night’s tea; 250 grammes of rocket that she who knits made into a jar of pesto.

Picking rocket with the girl

Picking rocket with the girl

Rocket pesto - we put it through the hand blender next

Rocket pesto - we put it through the hand blender next

20 beans in the ground

Decided not to plant the beans in the bed I manured yesterday; planted them in the bed of failed Winter spinach instead. 5 rows of 4 beans takes up half the bed, and the other half will be planted in a fortnight. That’s 40 plants, and if each plant produces enough for 1 meal I’ll have broad beans coming out of my ears. If they need 8-10 weeks growing, and regular picking keeps them growing for 4-6 weeks, I’ll have beans from mid-April through end-June but that’s still 40 plants/6 weeks or 6 1/2 plants per week … better learn how to preserve them :) or trade them for a cow.

Sarah Raven’s website has a picture of pods as long as my forearm! She also recommends staking each plant, which will be easier than putting in a mesh of some kind. Apparently they’ll grow to 75cm tall, so the stake should be that size. Will need some protection on top.

Also: weeded the Winter onions and forked manure into the bed for leeks. Weeded round the rhubarb and saw the first pink whorls of leaves.