After the dust has settled on the end-of-term mayhem, and before I become completely panicked at the idea of three children at home for six weeks, I thought I'd assess the highs and lows of our first season of the pre-school gardening club.
- Almost all the children have grasped the fundamental principles of what a plant needs to survive and grow - this is particularly impressive when you consider that some have yet to master the technicalities of using the loo.
- Not only have they grown about 15 different edible crops in their tiny plot, they have also managed to digest a few. This has even been achieved with very few of them pulling faces fit for a gurning competition.
- The children have all been delightfully enthusiastic and love to talk about gardens and gardening - often very loudly and usually about 15 at a time.
- My complete lack of planning has highlighted why I am no loss to the teaching profession. I tended to decide what we were doing half an hour before we began which hardly helped the sessions to flow.
- Unfortunately, term came to an end before some crops were ready, including the tomatoes and carrots, so I may have to select some earlier cropping varieties next year - all suggestions welcome!
- My hanging baskets may well be the least impressive and co-ordinated of any in existence. This is partly a reflection of my lack of experience in this area and partly a result of my filling them with a load of bargain basement, end-of-line, no-one-else-wanted-them plants. Worst of all, living opposite I have to view the hanging basket horror on a daily basis.
- We need to do some autumn sowing - any recommendations for crops suitable for a small, shady spot gratefully received.
- The children would like to grow apples, so I'm hoping to buy a family apple tree on a dwarfing rootstock that we can grow in a pot.
- I'm also asking for some funds to buy a wormery so the pre-schoolers can start to compost their food waste every day and also build up a supply of organic matter for the garden.
- Plus, we're going to build a mini wildlife stack to encourage more beneficial insects into the garden.
- Finally, I'm going to make a supreme effort to actually plan a few lessons and perhaps even plant up some hanging baskets that don't make my feel queasy.