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Ideas for a primary school gardening club

Hello - I'm going to start running a primary school gardening club from September. I'm a volunteer, so not based at the school, and as I work and have my own kids, I don't have a lot of time for preparation of activities, or looking after seedlings etc. I've never done this before - just gardened with my own children, so would love to hear from anyone who has some experience or ideas.

I need to keep activities brief (I only have about 45 mins, including 'fussing about' time), simple and as cheap as possible. I'm hoping to have up to 10 children, aged, possible, between 4 and 11. There's a small vegetable garden area I can use, and the school has large grounds, but very little planting. The school has no budget, so everything I do needs to be free or very low cost (ie the children will pay a small amount to do the club).

Some ideas I've already had for the autumn term including planting bulbs (in pots and in the grounds), winter bedding planting, making bird feeders and bug houses. Maybe some overwintering onions?

Any links, ideas, suggestions or warnings would be really appreciated!

Thank you!


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  • IamweedyIamweedy Cheshire East. Posts: 1,364

    mjd2000 Have you thought of posting on Freecyle for small plant cuttings etc? Also ask for pots and any useful gardening equipment. Ask parents for left overs dont take any plants that might become Invasive.

    It is a bit  late in the season now but you could prepare for  spring. Then the local people might have more seedlings than they need and might pass them on. Contact local allotment  groups etc. Most gardeners have more pots than they can ever use.

    Certainly start with spring bulbs. Do some begging and scrounging.

    'You must have some bread with it me duck!'

  • plant pauperplant pauper Posts: 6,234

    In a week or two this place will be coming down with seeds on the seed swap. I'm sure people wouldn't mind sharing. image

  • mjd2000mjd2000 Posts: 87

    Thanks Iamweedy - yes, I'd certainly thought about contacting local groups and parents, and also the local gardening centre to see what I can scrounge. However, I'm worried by getting flooded by well meaning but inappropriate plants, so I think I need to have some ideas and plans first, and then be specific about what I ask for.

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,382

    Have you contacted the RHS for help and advice?  They have a huge project going on to introduce gardening to schools and make it part of the curriculum.

    For gardening clubs they have this info and advice on their site  No harm in asking for more specific help.

    Last edited: 29 August 2016 11:16:11

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • RedwingRedwing SussexPosts: 1,288

    I think asking parents and local people for seeds and bulbs they don't want would be a good idea.  Perhaps you could put a notice up on the school gate.

    I think you want to have projects that happen fairly quickly  like seeds, especially annuals, and bulbs to keep the children's interest.  When my children were at primary school they had a school pond; which was kind of wild and had newts and frogs which of course was also good for science lessons.  When the pond got overgrown and needed clearing out, an appeal was put out to parents to help and it was done in a day.  Does your school have a pond?  Perhaps you could enlist some parents to help dig one over the winter.

    Based in Sussex, I garden to encourage as many birds to my garden as possible.
  • CeresCeres Posts: 2,149

    You could sow seeds now for things such as forget-me-nots, which will look lovely amongst the bulbs, nepeta and poppies. Opium poppies (not as bad as they won't be teaching the children about heroin production) will give you the added bonus of fabulous seed pods that can be dried. Ditto the nepeta.

    Will you be growing herbs?

  • mjd2000mjd2000 Posts: 87

    Thanks - I like the idea of sowing some seeds to watch out for next year. As for cuttings, yes, but I wanted to do this with the kids - maybe something easy like pelargoniums? I need to avoid anything that will involve me spending a lot of time nurturing things, as I just don't have the time.

    Thank you for the RHS link - I'll certainly look at this, and, as I'm a member, I guess I can phone them for advice too.

    Has anyone any experience of gardening clubs and what worked / didn't work?

    Thank you!

  • IamweedyIamweedy Cheshire East. Posts: 1,364

    I am sure that if you can beg borrow or aquire, other perennial plants for the grounds every so often. The children would enjoy seeing their school environment look more attractive.

    I am lucky that our local newish  unitary borough council still runs it parks and gardens department.

    The local town is not particularly beautiful but the lovely flower displays every year jiust make it look so much more pleasant to be in. Fantastic hanging baskets. They are worth the money on the council tax.

    'You must have some bread with it me duck!'

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