I am a teacher at a Montessori school in London. It is quite a small school with four classes of about 20 children in each. We have a lovely garden with an area at the back with four 1x2 metre raised beds and a greenhouse (with a concrete floor) I am wondering how we can begin to plant a kitchen garden as it would be so lovely for the children to work on but really don’t know where to begin! It would be nice to keep it relatively simple but have a plan that will cover us with things to harvest for the whole year. Last year we grew cucumbers in pots in the greenhouse and sweetcorn in the raised beds. The tomatoes we planted around Easter time grew fantastically well in the greenhouse but unfortunately were not ready to harvest before the summer holidays started in late June. we come back at the beginning of September so really miss a big chunk of sunny vegetabl picking days! We are able to keep things watered outside but pots in the green house have proven problematic when it’s hot.
I wonder if there is anything that we can start to grow from seed now or if it’s best to wait until spring. Also, what are the best fruits and vegetables to grow from seed in a school kitchen garden? We have a lovely school cook is keen to get involved. Any ideas would really be hugely appreciated!
All The Best!
Last edited: 19 January 2018 12:09:45
Carrots, peas and mange tout would all work in pots-relatively simple to look after and the peas grow fairly quickly!Also potatoes in dustbins?
Been thinking about this a bit more Hannah. French Beans and Green Beans could be started off fairly soon in the Greenhouse or on a windowsill. You could have a look at starting lettuce anytime now, but you will need somewhere warm for them to germinate. Melons might work if the greenhouse gets really hot in the Summer. You could try Strawberries in one of your raised beds, and there is now a bush variety of Raspberry that would grow in pots. And, of course there is loads of herbs that you can grow from seed!
You could start to grow sprouting beans or pea shoots and/or some micro herbs on the classroom windowsills at anytime, so the children could watch them grow and them eat them in their sandwiches or sprinkled on their food. Them move on to broad beans grown in jam jars initially to see the roots grow, then into small pots and then hardened off for a few days before planting them in a raised bed. Label them with each child's name and see whose does best!
Cut and come again salad leaves grow fast and can soon be eaten and radishes are fast too, though not all children may like them. You can get things like packets of carrot seed in mixed colours and taste test them, beetroot likewise.
You could grow some edible flowers (mixed packets available) that would help to attract pollinators so the children could watch bees and butterflies as well as try the flowers.
It would definitely be worth growing a courgette or two, as they look very different from other veg and you can almost see them getting bigger every day, they grow fast once they get going. You might come back after summer to a lot of marrows though - or you could try growing a pumpkin for Halloween, if there is any chance of someone to keep it watered through dry spells.
It will depend a bit on the age of the children and what aspect of growing things you want to focus on. It might just be for fun with very little ones, you might talk about the science side or the importance of insects or you could do maths, counting seeds in rows, peas in pods, how many left if I eat some etc or writing stories or poems about their experience.
thanks so much Linda! Some great ideas there. Potatoes in bins sounds fantastic. My grandad used to grow carrots in hanging baskets!
Potatoes in bins will be great ... when I ran a play group (years ago) the children brought sprouted potatoes and planted them in bin bags of compost and helped me water them from time to time ... when they were ready they helped find the potatoes that had grown and watched me peel and slice them ... then while they listened to a story in another room I fried then in a deep fat fryer and they all had a few chips they'd grown themselves for their morning snack
Years later young people told me they remembered that day as really special.
Hannah, there are now some cherry tomatoes that can be grown in hanging baskets too, so they might work for your garden-if you look through a few seed catalogues I think you will find loads of things now that can been grown in a small area.
This may be of help https://schoolgardening.rhs.org.uk/Resources/Info-Sheet/Growing-Vegetables-in-Schools
now there’s a thought! making hanging baskets is a lovely activity for the children think I’ll start by choosinh some seeds. Thanks ever so much for your ideas.
Definitely sold on the potatoes idea! We did a few last year but only in a small bag. The rhs Page is great! The four year plot rotation will work well as we have 4 raised beds. I think a plan is coming together! Thanks so much