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Plant Pots Direct Gardening Blog

Working with Lawns Park Primary School, Farnley, Leeds

Welcome to our blog!

Jamie Paul, the owner of Plant Pots Direct, is a very keen gardener, has two allotments of his own and works at Lawns Park Primary School two afternoons per week passing on his knowledge and experience to the next generation of gardeners. Our knowledge is no means the finished article, we read books, search the Internet, ask other gardeners all searching for the answer to grow the best potatoes or cabbages, but best of all we love to try!

This year we have decided to tell you the story of our experiments, methods, successes and failures (yes, we all get them). To help us we have enlisted the help of the pupils of the School to explain a few things, giving a view through their eyes, with drawings, photographs, lists and examples.

So sit back and enjoy or ride!

Peas & Beans at the ready

Pea seeds ready for plantingPea & Broad Bean sowing

The sowing season is now officially underway and all I can see for the next couple of weeks is seeds, compost and plant pots. I just hope we have enough room in the poly tunnel... If not there is a whole school to work with and i'm sure the window bottoms can be utilised in some way.

Well after a week of sunshine and warmer weather the heavens have finally opened, meaning that we have had to use the shelter of the poly tunnel to work on today's sowing activity and trying to cram 5 children into a 12 foot poly tunnel is hard to do especially when we all need space to sow our seeds.

We are starting off with an two varieties of Peas (Onward & Ambassador). Onward is reported to be the most popular of garden peas, plump blunt ended pods produced in pairs with large peas of super flavour the plants are expected to grow to a height of 75cm. Ambassador again are a popular variety they are semi-leafless type with dark green blunt pods that have good tolerance to bad weather and have an excellent resistance to powdery mildew and fusarium wilt, these again with grow up to 75cm.

With Broad beans I have opted for just one variety (Bunyards exhibition). Bunyards will produce a heavy crop of white seeded beans, they will give you a long pod of 8 or 9 beans, the flavour is excellent.

The best thing about both Pea and Bean seeds is that they are easy to handle due to their size, the younger children can plant them and you know that they will only plant one seed (if you ask them), unlike the smaller seeds where when the plants germinate you'll find 10 seeds have been planted instead one 1, but that's all part of the fun i suppose!

 

Method - Planting Pea & Broad bean seeds in plant pots

1. Prepare the compost - When planting any seeds it's always best to start with the basics. Compost is a funny one, when you go to the garden centre, super market or hardware store there are plenty of composts to choose from. Ones with added this ones with out that, the more a company has messed around with it the more expensive the compost will be. With budget in mine, I like to buy in bulk (We are going to use a lot throughout the season) and keep it simple. With the compost i find it holds a little too much water, certainly for germination, so I always add a little bit of sand to help with drainage, something like 1 hand full of sand to every 5 handfuls of compost, mix the sand in and we're ready for sowing.

2. Selecting the Plant Pots - When selecting the plant pot to grow your plants in you have to consider a couple of things. First is how long is the plant going to be in the plant pot?, second is how fast will the plant take to grow? and third is how much space do we have? In this case both plants are very fast growing, they needs a larger pot, but we will be potting them outside within 4 weeks. For the Peas i would recommend one of the following 9cm Round Plant Pot or 9cm Square Plant Pot both are quite deep and will hold enough compost for the plants to grow into. With the Broad Beans I would recommend a slightly larger pot, 12cm Round Plant Pot or 13cm Round Plant Pot again both are large pots and given that the Broad Bean is a very rapid growing plant and the root systems need compost to grow in to. I have selected 9cm Round Plant Pot for the Peas and 13cm Round Plant Pot for the Broad Beans.

3. Fill our Plant Pots with compost - The easiest way to explain to the Children to how to fill a plant pot with compost is, fill to pot to the very top so that the compost is still fluffy, don't pat it down and don't make a mess. It's amazing to watch the Children do this, some dive straight in with their hands, others ask for gloves and a trowel. When all pots are full there is always more compost on the poly tunnel floor than is in the bucket. With the plant pots now full with 'fluffy' compost we are now ready to add the seeds.

Broad Bean seeds ready to grow
4. Planting the seeds - With both Pea and Broad Bean seeds, they are very hard and quite strong, I find it easier to place the seed in the middle of the pot and then push it into the compost for about 2cm (or 1 inch) then simply cover the seed with compost from around the pot. With the Broad Beans we place one seed in the middle of each pot, the Peas however are slightly different, we place 3 seeds in each pot. This is the most interesting part to find out which Children know what 2cm actually is, some seeds will end up just under the surface of the compost others will be pushed to the very bottom of the pot so it takes ages for the shoots to reach the surface (if they ever do) but time will tell.

Two of the 6 trays of planted Peas
5. Review - At the end of the potting afternoon we had planted enough Peas and Broad Beans to feed the whole school, around 150 Peas and 60 Broad Beans. We gave them all a good watering and left them in the Poly tunnel to allow the germination to take place. I would imagine it will be 2-3 weeks before the shoots are starting to come through, but I'll keep you updated.

 

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