This question comes from Morg176 in Shellharbour
“I’d like to see an article on gardening for Primary Schoolers – What to plant, when, what might be interesting, what grows fast?”
Well first off it’s great to see teachers talking about this. In my opinion every school would benefit from a gardening program. It teaches so many lessons that take into account so many parts of the curriculum – horticulture, science, environmental studies, English, maths etc etc. But most importantly, it teaches kids where their food comes from and how it is created, it doesn’t just magically appear on the supermarket shelves.
What to plant and when?
As for when – as soon as you can! Get started and it will gain a momentum of its own. In fact I will tailor all my answers around the idea you will start as soon as possible. At this time of year you can easily plant the following: cabbage, pak choi, lettuce, rocket, spinach, carrots, celery, cauliflower, spring onions, leek, onions, radish, turnips and swedes all should grow quite well.
If you are looking at a new garden for your Primary School and the soil isn’t great, I heartily suggest you plant some legumes which will stick in valuable nitrogen for your soil. Peas of all kids do this but I have a soft spot for broad beans.
What might be interesting?
If the idea is to make the garden interesting for your students, I recommend putting in a variety of vegetables that all look quite different so the students can see the variety. Broad beans will grow nearly 6 feet high, pack choi will turn into these lovely green vase shapes, radishes will provide these red bulbs half in the soil for kids to hunt for, leeks become little palm trees, rocket will become little willowy forests and cauliflowers look like big round soccer balls.
What grows fast?
At this time of year? Bugger all. Spring and summer are the seasons where things grow fast. However a general rule is the smaller the vegetable the faster it will reach its full potential. Avoid swedes and turnips as they take forever, cauliflowers, leeks and cabbages take a while too. Perhaps pak choi, celery, spring onions, rocket and broad beans may be your best bet.
Good luck with your school gardening program! Don’t forget to prime that soil with lots of fertilizer, don’t forget to work in some water and weeding programs into your timetable and any more questions feel free to post them – I’’ll tackle them as best I can.