Gardening with Children

School Zone

How to look after the school garden during the holidays

Date Posted: 01 July 2014

July is here and now is the time to get organised and make plans for caring for your School Garden during the Summer holidays.

Everyone looks forward to a rest during the long summer holidays but the school garden will continue to mature, fruit will ripen and weeds will grow and if we are fortunate to get some sunny weather, plants will need watering.

A lot of enjoyment and hard work has gone into the garden during the Spring and Summer, to keep the garden ‘ticking over’ during the holidays so that you will be able to continue growing and harvesting on your return to school in September here are our ...

top 10 tips for caring for the school garden during the summer holidays

1  If you have any young plants/seedlings in pots try and get them planted in the ground, they will require less watering and maintenance. Place container grown plants in the shade to prevent them from drying out.

PolyPot Grow Bags (Pack of 5)

2  Harvest everything you can in the last few days before the school holidays begin. If you have fruit bushes to harvest over the coming weeks our cleverly designed Berry Picker is easy to use and makes fruit picking so much easier and quicker. Fruit/Berries can be frozen to use later on, wash, dry and spread out on trays and put in the freezer, once frozen remove and return to the freezer in bags, this method will ensure fruit remains loose and not in one solid lump.

Berry Picker

3  Provide plant supports/frames for tall or climbing plants and tie in.

4  Get out your tools and have a few good weeding sessions in the run up to the end of term, unchecked weeds will take nutrients and water from your crops, add them to the Compost Bin (except for perennial and deep rooted weeds), have a look at our children’s range of Garden Tools.

Raised Bed Garden Spade

5  Consider using a mulch such as old hay or straw, green waste or composted bark, this can be placed on the soil around summer crops, mulch helps to conserve water in the soil and also suppresses weeds. Make watering easy by installing a Raised Bed Watering System and a water timer connected to an outside tap or a Water Butt which can be filled up with water from your downpipe using a rainwater diverter.

6  Take a walk around the school garden and make a list of essential tasks for the holidays. Things to remember include watering, harvesting and keeping the weeds at bay. If you are making use of helpers who are not normally involved with the school garden, it might be worth providing written instructions, and information on where to find the watering can etc.

7  Put together a rota. Depending on your garden, a visit every other day or twice a week may be adequate to keep things ticking over. It may also depend on how many willing volunteers you are able to find. Keep things flexible, to encourage people to take part. Even if someone can only manage one visit during the holiday season, take their help and find a slot in the rota for them.

8  Circulate your rota amongst pupils, parents, teachers, neighbours, and any local interested groups such as for example the local allotment society. Also speak to the school holiday club, if you have one, as they may be willing to include gardening into their daily activities. Offer helpers the fruit and vegetables they harvest as a reward for their efforts.

Strawberries 2





9  Make sure access arrangements to the school grounds are in place, and helpers are aware of these procedures.

10  Ask participants to make notes in a communal journal or diary, so the school children can find out about what’s been going on in the school garden during their absence. This sort of record may also assist helpers to see where things are up to when they take over to do their stint.

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