Posts Tagged ‘school gardening’

Fascinating Facts And Figures About Spinach

July 1st, 2016 | The vegetable garden | 0 Comments

Spinach seedlings

Generations of children will remember  the cartoon character Popeye the sailor man and his large, muscular arms which he fortified by eating tins of spinach. This gave rise to the belief that spinach was a ‘superfood’ because the very high levels of iron it contained helped make the body stronger. While spinach does have a good level of iron, its reputation is based on a mistake made accidentally by a German chemist in 1870. Erich von Wolff analysed spinach, but put his decimal point in the wrong place. He noted spinach contained 35mg of iron per 100gm serving, whereas it was later found to contain just 3.5mg per 100gm serving. More recently, some opinion believes von Wolff did not make such a mistake, but it all still makes for an entertaining story.

We still believe spinach helps to increase our vitality and boost the quality of our blood thanks to its good level of iron. Spinach is an excellent source of vitamins A, C, K and folic acid, plus a good source of manganese, magnesium and vitamin B2. Vitamin K is important for maintaining bone health, and few vegetables are richer in this than spinach is.

We cannot be sure of it’s origins, but it is highly likely it is a native of Persia – modern day Iran and its neighbours. From there it spread to India and China, where it became known as ‘Persian vegetable’ or ‘Persian green’, by which name it is still known today. It also spread westward to Europe, developing a reputation for promoting good health as it did so.

When spinach reached Provence, it became a very popular, widely used vegetable. In the 17th century the English philosopher John Locke reported having eaten spinach and herb soup in his travels in south west France.

Dishes including spinach and a creamy sauce are often referred to as ‘Florentine’. Catherine of Medici, who married King Henri II of France, is said to have introduced spinach to the French court and named dishes containing spinach ‘à la Florentine’ in honour of her Italian heritage.

Spinach (Spinacia oleracea), an annual grown for its edible leaves, is a member of the Amaranthaceae family. The English word ‘spinach’ dates from the 14th century. It does best in fertile soil which is both free-draining and moisture-retentive. Light, dry soils are best avoided, as these are likely to result in premature flowering and running to seed (bolting). Spinach needs plenty of nitrogen, responding well to top-dressings of a general purpose fertiliser or sulphate of ammonia. It tolerates light shade and because of its often-rapid growth it is suitable for catch-cropping and intercropping.

The sprawling perennial Tetragonia tetragonioides is known as New Zealand spinach, where it was found growing wild by Captain James Cook in 1770. It is also found in Tasmania and coastal areas of Australia.  Grown for its young shoots and leaves, it is drought-resistant and heat-tolerant . New Zealand spinach is an acceptable substitute for true spinach in hot dry conditions, where bolting is likely.

To browse all the spinach we have on offer at Mr Fothergill’s just follow these links to the spinach seeds section of our website

 

Royal Horticultural Society

 

This article was first published on the RHS website June 2016. 

Read more on the RHS website about growing spinach successfully.

St Joseph’s High School’s vertical garden blossoms for Horwich in Bloom

July 8th, 2015 | Garden Diaries | 0 Comments

St Joseph’s High School students

These amazing baskets and troughs are being taken care by St Antony’s Support centre which is based at St Joseph’s High School in Horwich.

This centre is a very special place were young people which are maybe suffering with anger, social or friendship issues can visit to take time out and speak with Counsellors Mr Charnley and Miss Philpott.  It’s vitally important to give these young people a place to come and relax, and having the building surrounded by flowers makes it even more special.

Miss Philpott explains more “St Anthony’s is a place to talk openly and relax, we even have a little veg plot were we grow vegetables to make into soup to sell, raising money for charity.  The Young people who come here are really great and help out painting and watering the plants.”

Everyone relaxes better in a haven of plants and flowers and this school is harnessing the power of the world around them to help their young people.  They were over the moon with the donation of seeds from Mr Fothergills and the baskets and troughs from Horwich in Bloom. The Young People and the staff have worked so hard to create a wonderfully beautiful centre the school must be incredibly proud of their achievements.

Pictured are St Joseph’s High School students Camryn, Anna and Shannon 

Mr Fothergill’s have supplied St Joseph’s High School with all the seeds they need to produce a really beautiful school garden this year as part of Horwich in Bloom.  The blog posts are written by Vicki Robinson, who writes for the Bury Times and the Bolton News and is involved in Horwich In Bloom for 2015.

Meet the enthusiastic, and very young, Lord Street Primary School Gardeners!

June 25th, 2015 | Garden Diaries | 0 Comments

Lord Street Primary School Gardeners

 

These have to be the youngest school gardeners we’ve had the pleasure to meet.  Introducing Mrs Maxwell’s nursery class, these mini gardeners are only 3 years old!  They all attend Lord Street Primary School in Horwich.

Mrs Maxwell and Joe their trusty gardener have worked so hard to put their wall baskets and troughs together which were donated by Horwich in Bloom and were so thankful to Mr Fothergills for their huge bundle of seeds.  Mrs Maxwell said, “It’s been amazing to watch the children learning to sow, water and care for them, thank you so much Mr Fothergills!”

If you think about it, sometimes handling tiny seeds is tough enough for full sized gardeners, let alone those who are only 3 years old. But that’s the thing about gardening with children. They are learning so much in one lesson.  Things like hand-eye coordination and how to hold something carefully and gently are little life lessons which are so important to youngsters. Then at the end of it they watch nature unfurl in front of their eyes like magic!

Mrs Maxwell commented, “One of our boys asks every morning when he arrives if he can water the plants!  So it just shows you how getting our children gardening early teaches them how to care for another living thing.”

Let’s hope these mini-gardeners carry on enjoying nature and the world around them and good luck for Horwich in Bloom!

 

Mr Fothergill’s have supplied Lord Street Primary School with all the seeds they need to produce a really beautiful school garden this year as part of Horwich in Bloom.  The blog posts are written by Vicki Robinson, who writes for the Bury Times and the Bolton News and is involved in Horwich In Bloom for 2015.

Chorley New Road Primary School Gardening Club is borne out of a love of knitting!

June 24th, 2015 | Garden Diaries | 0 Comments

Chorley New Road Primary School Gardening Club

This gardening club at Chorley New Road Primary School started off as a knitting club who then swapped needles for trowels and set to work making a whole new front garden for the school.  Every Tuesday they now meet up to do a spot of weeding and planting, and these kids certainly know what they are doing!

We asked them if they had some advice for us grown ups to which they replied, “don’t forget to water”, which I’m sure you’ll agree is something we are all guilty of from time to time.

Miss Burrows the Headteacher was beaming with pride and thanks for the kind donation of seeds from Mr Fothergills and the Hanging Baskets and Troughs from Horwich in Bloom.  “The Kids have worked so hard, they are even working on making the school badge in flowers with a little bird house to represent our clock tower, I’m really proud of them and with thanks to Mr Fothergills, I’m sure we will win Horwich in Bloom 2015, we are going to win everything!” It was so great to hear the enthusiasm from not only the children but all the staff too.

It hasn’t been a bed of roses though.  Perils of young seedlings being accidentally trampled by the nursery children were a hot topic, the memory of this disaster still fresh in the young gardeners’ minds.  Gardening in schools isn’t easy but when you have a fab team of keen gardeners like these, the teachers can definitely sit back and smell the roses!

Mr Fothergill’s have supplied Chorley New Road Primary School with all the seeds they need to produce a really beautiful school garden this year as part of Horwich in Bloom.  The blog posts are written by Vicki Robinson, who writes for the Bury Times and the Bolton News and is involved in Horwich In Bloom for 2015.

Chorley New Road Primary School Gardening Club members pictured: Tanith Lewis, Sophie Garrity, Emily Leake, Katrina Bremners, Serafim Johnson, Sasha Harwood and Head Teacher Miss Burrows.

We are taken on a tour of St Catherine’s School Garden in Horwich who are preparing for Horwich in Bloom 2015

June 15th, 2015 | Garden Diaries | 1 Comment

Year 6 at St Catherine’s School Garden in Horwich

The sun finally came out over St Catherine’s School in Horwich so trowels in hand and watering can at the ready, the year 6 kids showed us around their brilliant little allotment and polytunnel in their school garden.  These kids aren’t new to horticulture, last year they had a display at the RHS Tatton Flower Show.

Tony Clift Site manager  said, “it’s brilliant that Mr Fothergills gave the kids such a huge amount of packets of seeds, and Horwich in Bloom supplied the baskets and troughs too, the pupils really do enjoy the time they spend over here in our plot.”

It isn’t just playing in the soil for the children.  Gardening compasses everything from science, history, and design too.  It’s so important that kids find that connection with nature and the world around them again.

When we asked the kids what they all thought of gardening they all leapt at the chance to say how much they enjoyed it, so roll over Monty Don there’s some new experts on the block.

Not only are these little Green Fingered kids preparing for Tatton but also for Horwich in Bloom 2015 too, at this rate they will be at the Chelsea Flower Show by the time they hit 18 years old!

A massive thanks to Horwich in Bloom for supplying the hanging baskets and flower troughs and Mr Fothergills Seeds for the big bundle of seeds too.

 

Mr Fothergill’s have supplied St Catherine’s School in Horwich with all the seeds they need to produce a really beautiful school garden this year as part of Horwich in Bloom.  The blog posts are written by Vicki Robinson, who writes for the Bury Times and the Bolton News and is involved in the Horwich In Bloom for 2015.