Friday, 6 June 2008

Gardening Woes

I'm feeling a bit despondent about the gardening club at the moment and I'm not sure why.

Well, undoubtedly one of the reasons why is thanks to whoever pulled up a lot of the plants during the recent half-term holidays.

One of the club members discovered the vandalism and replanted them but there were some casualties. I wondered why some lettuces were in the bean bed. It does make me feel a bit What's The Point? If the slugs don't get the plants, vandals will.

There's also no room for a greenhouse/growhouse type thing so makes growing by seed tricky, to say the least. No money for them either. I take plants from home, tomato plants today, and use at the school garden but I haven't the room to grow double of everything and I do so want to grow produce that we might sell to pay for Autumn bulbs, green manure and other stuff I just haven't thought of yet.

I'm also realising that I wouldn't make a very good teacher; the children seem to whip through the work and then want to leave early to go and play and I'm not entirely sure what to do about that. Nor about the requests of "what shall we do now" that are made at least every 30 seconds. I wonder if I should get them working in small groups with a leader?

The allotment's making me grumpy too. It's so scruffy, especially compared to Lovely Plot Lady's. And nothing's growing. Hubby thinks I should give it up and have beds at home but I Will Not Be Beaten. I hope.


  1. Speaking as a teacher and camp counselor, I want to encourage you to try the small groups approach. If you can outline 3-4 objectives you want to achieve during a session, and then come up with a 5- or 6-step plan to achieve each of those objectives, you can put the kids in charge of their own work (which hopefully means they won't be asking you every few minutes what they can do). I also recommend selecting a student from each group to be a weekly "leader" of his or her team. You might have to do a little more work ahead of time, but your in-class work should be much less intense. Good luck!

  2. That really is quite discouraging. I hope you can replant without fear of more vandals.

  3. Ooh no, no talk of giving up please. Scruffy is a good look for this year. If you can get your weeds to nip in at about waist height we could set a fashion trend for others to follow.
    Hang in there.

    Can the kids do something to raise money for the club, or can you apply to a local firm for sponsorship?

  4. My plot is scruffy too but while ever it is providing me with food I think that's ok.

    Sorry about the vandals but it is best not to let them wear you down.

  5. I thought of you when I saw a book review in Amateur Gardening (7 June) for The Playground Potting Shed by Dominic Murphy (Guardian Books - ISBN 978-0-85265-098-1) - in it he provides a week-by-week guide on what to do whether you have a tiny trough or full sized allotment. The review calls it essential reading for parents and teachers who want to encourage children with gardening - might be worth a read

  6. Caroline, that's great. Just wanted I wanted, advice from a professional. You've given me food for thought, many thanks.

    Thanks everyone for your comments. I know scruffy doesn't matter but....somehow it does! And if it was hugely productive it would probably matter even less but it's not even that.

    Earthwoman, I'm trying to keep positive and will of course carry on but I guess it's the same as an allotmenteer having all their veggies pulled up. Hard to stay smiley when that happens. I'm hoping it's a one-off.

    Helen, how kind of you to think of me. I have succumbed and bought it! It's a great book for someone running a gardening club.

  7. I know some of your pain of plant loss: I will not have peas at all this year, thanks to a groundhog. And the carrots aren't doing anything, the spinach and chard are so slow. Argh, I don't think the challenge ever stops, that's the worst and best of it?? I'm sorry you have the additional prob of vandals. Eggs may stop them, too?! Meanwhile, take pride in your awesome photos.

  8. Thank you Kate for your kind words - they mean a lot.