Tuesday, 20 May 2008

My Gardening Club Guide (So Far)

It's Tuesday so that must mean I'm transporting half my garden and tools to a school not far from here for about 20 minutes gardening. Yep, it's Gardening Club day!

I do enjoy it hugely and start on Friday thinking about what we can do. I have quite a large group and they do seem to whiz through my planned activities at a rate of knots. So much so, in fact, that I'm praying our three beds will soon sprout a plethora of weeds just to keep them busy.

I must talk to them about taking it slllooooooowlyyyy and how there's plenty of time, no rush, just chill but it's possible that I'm so excited when I'm there that I whip them up a bit. Either that or they are just very, very good at gardening.

Every school, I reckon, should have a Gardening Club. And here, to facilitate that, I give you Things I Have Learnt So Far:
  1. Be organised. Think of it as if you're hosting a birthday party (not helpful for the child-free, I know). Lots of planned activities and a few up your sleeve if they whiz through those.
  2. Be in charge of the seeds: I had some children turn up the first day clutching various seeds, most of which I didn't want to use although some just disappeared. It'll be interesting to see what will grow. You also don't know how old they are and as you only have a short time you want to plant things that stand a good chance of growing.
  3. Provide enough pencils for everyone and a trillion plant labels (I learnt this the hard way).
  4. Make a chart on the computer and print it out for one child to fill out each week to keep as a record of what you did when. I also take my camera along; hopefully it'll be a nice record of our progress.
  5. Set up a watering rota, to be done at last break when it's cooler. Mine seem to forget (sigh) so I'm going to give them a piece of paper with their day written on. I'm not overly optimistic this will work.
  6. Think about when you want to hold your club: during lunch times is handy as there are staff everywhere for unruly/poorly children but time is limited. However, see number one. This may be a Good Thing. After school is good as you have a captive audience (they can't wander off to play footie with their friends or feign tummy aches) but may be too long, see number one.
  7. Sow plenty of radishes, sunflowers and lettuces. The sunflowers will add an "ahhh" or "wow" factor to your garden and the radishes and the salad will ensure everybody will go home with something they have grown.
While writing this I've been mulling over my aims for our gardening club. So what do I want for it? I'd like all the members to find a love and a green finger or two for gardening (this is unrealistic I know, there are bound to be one or two or more who find it dreary and dull). And I'd like them all to go home in July clutching a lettuce or carrot they have grown themselves. But mostly I just want them to think gardening's cool.


  1. You are a treasure for wanting to instill a love for gardening in those untilled minds. I remember that my love for it began in the second grade in California when my teacher had us plant pumpkin seeds in tiny pots to take home over the summer break. She wanted us to come back to school in the autumn and show her the fruits of her and our labor. Unfortunately, the day before I was to harvest my own pumpkin, my dog tore it from the vine and chewed it up. He probably thought it was a basketball.

  2. It's a fantastic club I'm not sure how you find the energy to do it.
    How about getting them to make scarecrows? It might slow them down it took me and my son a long time to complete our creation. They could do the head one week and the body another. They also don't need to be large scarecrows I've seen some nice doll size ones.
    While your doing that the weeds will be up and ready for removal.