What else can we grow

What else can we grow?

Tomatoes

Tomatoes are an obvious choice to sell as plants at the summer and possibly the spring Farmers Markets.  There are so many varieties to grow and germination usually very good.  It is more difficult for the school to grow tomatoes to gather as most tend to ripen in August, and require daily inspection, watering and gathering, including weekends and holidays.  Depending on variety and the weather, tomatoes can be started in February to sell as small plants in March or started in March to May to sell in July.  As with all seeds make sure they are labelled tomato seedlings are impossible to tell apart and buyers will want to know what type of tomato they are buying.

Chillies and Peppers

As exotic plants chillies and peppers like heat to get started.  If it is a cold spring, delay planting and germinate in the classroom where it is warmer.  Follow the instructions on the packet and if growing more than one variety, keep them well labelled.  Plants should be ready for the summer market.

Herbs and edible flowers

In the garden there are perennial herbs such as Rosemary, Thyme, Sage and Lemon Balm.  These are pretty hardy and look after themselves.  However, it is possible to take cuttings from these plants to grow on and sell at either the spring or summer market.  Please refer to the resources blog to find links to other sites that give more information on taking cuttings. If you want the original plant to survive, leave ½ to ¾ of the new growth on the original plant.

Annual herbs such as parsley, coriander, basil and edible flowers such as marigold, nasturtium and sweet violet can be grown as an additional item for a class growing one of the other families of plants.  Check the cultivation instructions on the seed packets for planting times and grow in pots in the poly tunnel.

See here also for links to other online resources

Lettuce not necessarily green

For the class growing lettuce they can sell plants and crops at both the spring and summer farmers markets.  Lettuces can grow all year round depending on variety.  Lettuces do not need to be grown in the raised beds unless there is space available.  Note the class growing brassicas may be growing similar salad crops like rocket and raddish

Autumn term

This class does not need to garden this term, unless they want to practice growing lettuces for their own consumption.  They may want to decide which varieties they will want to grow and buy the seeds.

Spring term

January/ February start sowing lettuce in the poly tunnel in trays, modules or small pots.  Label carefully and keep moist.  They should germinate quickly.  Pot on when the seedlings have 2 leaves. Sow more seeds every 2 weeks.

March prepare for the Farmers Market.  If plants or leaves are big enough to sell as bagged salad, harvest and bag for the farmers market.

Summer Term

April/ May Sow more seeds to sell as plants at the summer farmers market.  Keep moist, label clearly and pot on as before.

June  If any lettuce starts to bolt – trying to flower and create seed, pull out and compost the plants.  Keep pots moist.

July  Prepare for farmers market.

See here also for links to other on line resources

Hankies at the ready for onions

The onion family includes garlic, shallots and onions. It also includes a number of ornamental bulbs including daffodils and narcissus.

Autumn Term

September  If the onion family has been grown in the raised beds, harvest any onions left from the previous summer crops and clear the raised bed with onions in ready for another class.  It is VERY important that onions are NOT grown in the same place each year.  Ideally they should be grown where brassica grew the previous school year.  Work with the class group that grew these the previous school year to take over the raised beds and mark as growing onions.  Note the class growing beetroot may want the same beds, but onions take priority as they do not do well in pots.

Purchase onion and garlic sets they are in the garden centres and on line, varieties for autumn planting.  Buy daffodil or narcissus bulbs, dwarf varieties work best in pots.

October/ November Plant autumn varieties of onion and garlic sets in raised beds.  These will be ready to harvest at the summer farmers market.  Once planted check the beds regularly and replant any dislodged sets.  Birds have a habit of pulling out onions and garlic when first planted.

October/ November Plant daffodils for spring market, label and leave in poly tunnel.  If using dwarf varieties 3 per pot look best.

December keep bulbs in pots moist.

Spring term

January/ February keep bulbs moist and watch them grow.  If they appear to be getting ready to flower too soon, take them out of the poly tunnel and put them in the garden in the shade.

March prepare for farmers market.  Weed the onions and garlic in the raised beds

Summer term

April/ May sow salad onions or spring onions in pots to sell as plants or as a crop at the farmers market.  If there is any space in raised beds interplant spring onions for a crop.

June Keep plants in pots moist and weed raised beds. As the onions and garlic ripen their stems will begin to go brown and shrivel.  If any start to develop flowers pull the flower heads off.  Spring onions will remain green and should thicken up evenly rather than develop a bulb.

July Prepare for farmers market.  Harvest onions and garlic a couple of days before to allow the stems to dry and plait into 3’s.  Spring onions will still be green and will not plait successfully.

See here also for links to other on line resources

Brassica not just a winter veg!

Brassica covers the cabbages, broccoli and many winter greens that take a long time to grow.  These plants growing cycles do not fit into a school year and so we consider them unsuitable for the Ferncumbe Garden.  However, this family also includes pak choi, rocket, raddishes and summer cabbages which we can grow within a school year.

For the class growing brassicas, the plan is to sell young plants at the spring farmers market and to sell produce and plants at the summer market.

Autumn Term

September  Harvest any brassica left from the previous summer crops and clear the raised bed with brassica in ready for another class.  It is VERY important that brassica are NOT grown in the same place each year.  Ideally they should be grown where peas and beans grew the previous school year.  Work with the class group that grew these the previous school year to take over the raised beds and mark as growing brassica.

Agree with the class which brassicas to grow, and purchase the seeds.  You want to choose varieties that will be ready to harvest for the summer farmers market, such as summer cabbage and early cauliflower or fast growing ‘salad’ brassica such as rocket and pak choi.

Spring term

January/ early February sow cabbages and cauliflower in modules or small pots in the poly tunnel.  Leave to germinate, if cold, bring into the classroom windowsill to help them germinate.  Sow seed trays of rocket and pak choi. Sow at fortnightly intervals to the end of February.  Pot on Rocket and pak choi to grow on for the farmers market.

Plant out the cabbages to grow on for the summer market during March.  Prepare the others to sell at the Spring Farmers market.

March After the farmers market plant out any remaining rocket and pak choi to grow on for the summer market.

Summer Term

April May If you decide to grow winter cabbage plants to sell at the summer market, plant them now.  Keep sowing rocket and pak choi to sell as plants and produce at the summer market.

June Keep all seedlings and plants well watered.  Watch for caterpillars and at the first sign, pick off leaves, spray with soft soap and net all the cabbage family plants.  Be particularly careful in the poly tunnel to ensure butterflies and caterpillars are not allowed in. They can munch through a crop in under a day!

July Prepare plants and produce for Farmers market.

See here also for links to other on line resources

Strawberries super sweet and tasty

There are strawberries planted at the edge of the beds with permanent planting, not the raised beds in the garden.  Each year these plants create a number of ‘runners’ baby plants that can be detached, potted up and sold at the spring market.  Depending on when the strawberries fruit and the amount they produce there may be enough to sell or use in cooking for the summer market too.

Autumn term

September/October Inspect the strawberry plants, remove any diseased leaves and plants.  Do not replace with another strawberry as the soil will be tired and possibly carry the disease that killed the last plant.  Cut off and collect the runners.  Plant runners in pots, one per pot and leave in the poly tunnel to overwinter.

October/November/ December.  Inspect pots of strawberries regularly.  Keep moist, but if unsure do not water. They will die back, but leave for the moment, they may just be dormant.

Spring Term

January/ February, as autumn term, keep inspecting and keep moist.  As the plants begin to sprout, throw away any that do not.

March Prepare for Farmers market.  After the market if any plants remain, plant in the garden.

Summer term.  Leave the strawberries to grow and develop fruit.  By mid to late June depending on the weather they will start to be ready to gather. Assess if there will be enough to sell in punnets, it is unlikely given the number of plants in the garden.  Investigate recipes to make using Strawberries to sell at the Farmers market.

July Prepare for the Farmers Market.

See here also for links to other on line resources

Red alert it’s Beetroot time

The beetroot family includes beetroot, spinach and chard.  All are easy to grow and can be sold as plants at both spring and summer farmers markets.  If the class wants to sell produce be aware that chards and spinach wilt quickly once harvested so can be difficult to keep looking fresh and attractive on a stall.  The class might want to grow the beetroot family, harvest and cook it to sell at the farmers market. This vegetable family may not need to use any of the raised beds in the garden.

Autumn Term

September  If beetroot family has been grown in the raised beds, harvest any beetroot left from the previous summer crops and clear the raised bed with beetroot in ready for another class.  It is VERY important that beetroot are NOT grown in the same place each year.  Ideally they should be grown where brassica grew the previous school year.  Work with the class group that grew these the previous school year to take over the raised beds and mark as growing beetroot.  Note: the class growing Onions will also want to take on brassica beds.  Agree if the class will sell the beetroot family as a crop; many of beetroot family are easier to sell as plants.

Sept/Oct  If planting outside, sow spinach to overwinter.  This will be ready to harvest, or harvest and cook for the spring market.

Spring Term

February Sow Chard, spinach and beetroot in the poly tunnel in trays, modules or small pots.  Label carefully and keep moist.  They should germinate quickly.  Pot on when the seedlings have 2 leaves. Sow more seeds every 2 weeks.

March prepare for the Farmers Market.  If outside spinach has been sown and grown, decide how to use it at the farmers market.

Summer Term

April If planting outside, plant out chard and beetroot.  As these are very colourful plants, if there is no room in the raised beds, consider using them as ornamentals in other parts of the garden.

May Sow more seeds to sell as plants at the summer farmers market.  Keep moist, label clearly and pot on as before.

June  If any chard or spinach starts to bolt – trying to flower and create seed, pull it out and compost the plants.  Keep pots moist.

July  Prepare for farmers market.

See here also for links to other on line resources

Peas and beans, whats your favourite?

Peas and beans are the legume family and we eat the pods, the beans inside the pods or in some cases both pod and bean.

For the class growing peas and beans, the plan is to sell young plants at the spring farmers market and to sell produce and plants at the summer market.

Autumn term

September  Harvest any beans left from the previous summer crops and clear the raised bed with beans in ready for another class.  It is VERY important that beans are NOT grown in the same place each year.  Ideally they should be grown where onions, carrots or other root veg grew the previous school year.  Work with the class group that grew these the previous school year to take over the raised beds and mark as growing peas and beans.

Sept/Oct  If time, plant autumn planting varieties of peas and beans in the raised beds as per the instructions.  Be prepared for poor germination, but depending on the weather you may be lucky.  If not keep raised beds weed free and ready for the spring.

Nov/ Dec buy seeds for planting in Spring and summer terms.  Try a mix of varieties and if possible some heritage seeds

Spring Term

January / February Plant broad beans and peas in pots or modules in the poly tunnel or class room window sill.  Make sure all plants or trays of plants are clearly labelled.  Keep watered as they germinate and once a plant has a 1st pair of leaves pot on into small flower pots. Label clearly.  It is difficult to tell varieties and species apart at this stage.  Keep planting, every second week and compare how different planting dates affect germination etc.

February/ March Prepare plants for Farmers market. Decide which plants you want to keep to plant in the raised beds.  You may decide to plant out what is left over from the Farmers Market.  Get plants into the soil before the holidays

Summer Term

April/ May Put up canes and netting to help the plants in the raised beds grow.  Plant seeds for the summer Farmers market – peas, runner beans, French beans.  Consider trying less common beans such as borlotti, cannellini and haricot. Keep all pots and plants labelled.

June Water pots, and pot on seedlings as before.  Keep raised beds weeded and water the flowers of the bean plants to encourage bean/ pea formation

July Prepare for farmers market.  Pick produce and prepare pots to sell.

See here also for links to other online resources