Sweet pea sowing at Woolaston Primary School

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At the end of February we heard from our green fingered friends at the Woolaston Primary School gardening club.  This was a new group of reception class pupils at the school who were keen to embark on the new gardening year.  They had been provided with a whole treasure trove of Mr Fothergill’s seeds to sow in the lead up to the end of the school year in July.

To start their journey, in March the group of young gardeners have been sowing sweet peas: Galaxy Mixed and Tiller Girls.  All 28 children in the reception class at the school are now eagerly waiting to see whose will be the first to send up shoots…


Sweet peas germinated in a pupil's hand

How the children sowed their sweet peas (some top tips for any other young gardeners out there!)

Each child had three seeds to sow in their own 15cm pot. We set up a potting station with a tub of compost and they followed a five-step process:

  • Stir the compost to get rid of lumps
  • Fill the pot and firm it down
  • Poke three holes in the surface
  • Pop a seed into each hole and cover with a bit more compost
  • Use the watering can (there was much excitement about this, and some rather wet socks)


A few tips. And a few lessons learnt…

Watering sweet peas at Woolaston Primary SchoolSchool parent, Mary Hamblyn is involved in the gardening club and she is also keeping us updated here on the blog.  She reported that this first session was lots of fun for the children, but a steep learning curve for the adult helpers!

Of this inaugural gardening session Mary commented, “Working with small groups meant we could take a hands-off approach and let the class really take ownership of what they were doing. We just gave gentle prompts if needed and watched to make sure all the seeds made it into the pots.

“Class teacher Mrs Price had briefed the children earlier in the day. This was really helpful as once they were outside – and raring to go – we only needed to give simple instructions.”

However, there proved to be minor peril for shoes and socks in the form of a little too much fun with water!

“It didn’t take us long to realise that four and five year olds can’t resist playing with water. In the end we just used one closely guarded watering can, counting ‘one – two – three – stop!’ as each child watered their pot. Otherwise all the seeds would have floated away on a river of composty water,” observed Mary.

“We soaked our seeds before planting them. There is conflicting advice on this – some say it gives them a head start, others say it can make them prone to rotting. In the end we had to sow ours in two batches and the second lot were beginning to germinate by the time we got to them. We’re not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but we encouraged the children to handle them carefully and hopefully they’ll be OK. With a bit of luck we’ll be able to enter Mr Fothergill’s sweet pea competition in July.”

Sweet peas all in a row


Next time

In their next session the children will be planting Broad Bean Witkiem Manita, Garlic sets and Tomato Sub-Arctic Plenty so watch out for another update very soon.

How are you getting on in your school garden?


Mr Fothergill’s have supplied Woolaston Primary School with all the seeds they need to produce a really productive school garden this year.  The Woolaston Primary School gardening blog posts are written by school parent Mary Hamblyn.  She also blogs at www.brookendcottagegarden.com  

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