Little Growers provides horticultural equipment, advice and support to schools across the UK,
encouraging children and communities to grow, learn and work together for a healthier and greener future.

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Allotment Garden Safety Guidelines

 

Always inspect your tools BEFORE using them for damage (splinters, loose, bent, or cracked handles)

 If a tool fails your inspection, remove it from use.

 

Do not use garden tools taller than you. 

Walk with tools facing down, by your side and be sensible.

 

Stand with your back straight when using long-handled tools such as hoes, rakes, and shovels.

 

When picking up heavy items, maintain a straight back, bend your knees, firmly grasp the object, and slowly lift with your legs.

Wear protective clothing to prevent cuts, burns, & bites:

          

              

Use eye protection with any tool that causes flying, crumbling, chipping, or sparking debris.

   

   

Drink plenty of water while gardening.

 

 

When finished, clean your hand tools and store them in the garden shed. Then, wash your hands.


Introducing... our logo

Posted by: Barton Mills Jr Allotment Club

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Barton Mills Jr Allotment Club

 

Part of our Feb meeting was to choose our new logo,  with that, we are very happy to present it!

Many thanks to a wonderful artist named Renee from Ohio, USA. Her vision was spot on with ours! She has amazing skill and her heart is in it too.  She is retired  and does this in her "spare time". She helps charities at no charge, but is usually quite busy. We are very fortunate to have found her.

We hope you like the logo as much as we do!

 


 

We could hardly contain the excitement everyone was experiencing as they came into the classroom. Today was the day to see how “growing” gets started. We layed the classroom out with our supplies and started investigating. We gave everyone a dry pea seed, a 24 hours soaked pea seed, a 3-day soaked pea seed, a hand-held magnifying glass , and a sheet of paper. It makes it feel more official!

 We started with the dry seed first. So we asked, “Is it dead or is it dormant?”

The first answer we hear is, “definitely dead!” We responded by asking, “Then how do you think this happened?” Opening our hands to reveal a pea pod that had been soaked for 24 hours and comparing it to the dried one.  Does it look dead now? 

If you look really closely, the secret will be revealed. Using our magnifying glasses we spot a very small, teenie, tiny hole called the micropyle.   This micropyle lets water get in and starts things up. It was the water that made the seed wake up and begin its journey.

 Looking at the 3-day soaked seed, we could see that it had swelled so that the outer shell or coat sheds and the seed begins to split in half. There a very small shoot appears near the micropyle.  These are actually the roots of the plant forming. They will begin to dig in to the soil to supply the seed with nutrients.  The shoot is hidden.

 We split the seed in half to show everyone the center of the operation. Deep inside the pea, we asked everyone to stop and draw what they see. There, in the middle of the seed and on the papers of the kids, appeared a small bean shaped nucleus, called the hilum. The hilum is like the umbilical cord on people. The place on a seed that was attached to the plant. The brains of the operation are stored here. This will send out the stem and the leaves and the fruits. It is the central system of the seed.

 As the seed continues to become established, it will push up through the Earth until it reaches the surface. This will allow the pea seed to continue to combine the soil nutrients with the suns nutrients and feeding the hilum, becoming a primary producer.  Primarily plants are called this because they use energy of the sun and soil instead of eating food.

Our group concluded that the seed was not dead after all, it was dormant. Patiently awaiting waters arrival. 

 

Next month we are on the site for soil testing. What are we working with?


2011 Programme Year done (well kinda)

Posted by: Barton Mills Jr Allotment Club

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Barton Mills Jr Allotment Club

Last year, we piloted monthly sessions at the allotment site. Covering topics like weeding and plot care, the benefits of a wormery, pumpkin  dissections, and how to design a vegetable garden. They were fun, interesting, and well attended. 
So this year, we decided to empowered the children to take ownership of their programme and tell us what they wanted to learn about. We gave them some ideas  and they came to us with learning about soil, insects that benefit too, plant id,  seed germination and storage, how to shape a growing plant, and vitimans and minerals in fruit and veg.  Mixed in with a few fun "growing" competitions amongst each other - just to keep things lively! Looks like 2011 is sorted!

Can't wait till  "Looking Closely a Seeds" for Febs meeting,   another great eco project-focused learning tool from www.plantscafe.net where the kids look at various stages of a pea seed life cycle with microscopes - ooooohhhhhhhhh!

 

 


January was for the bees

Posted by: Barton Mills Jr Allotment Club

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Barton Mills Jr Allotment Club

The topic for our January JACs meeting was making a bee hotel.

 Our expert beekeeper, Tim Harris, started the meeting by asking, what do bees do for us? You could see by the expressions on their faces – their eyes getting bigger and slightly leaning back in their chairs – they were having a think, when Olivia says, “they help our gardens grow!” That’s right, they aren’t just scary things flying around. In fact, Tim explained to the children, bees are one of the most important pollinators of fruit and vegetables. We rely on bees to pollinate apples, onions, carrots, broccoli, melons, and much more. So, he told them, we are building a bee hotel for the allotment. Tim explained how the bees would come to live in the hotel and help us pollinate. Using scrap wood, he made a box frame (but you could even use an empty soda bottle with the top cut off, see the link below with opal) and the JACs would be stacking the inside of the frame with bamboo. This would make the “rooms” for the bees to live. As the children pushed in the bamboo they talked about how many bees would live in their hotel and how our veg will be bigger and better because of the bees. They we so excited we made two, one for the ground and one to hang.

When to install your bee hotel

Ideally, according to Opal, the bee hotel should be put in place by mid-March and taken down and stored in an unheated shed or outhouse at the beginning of October to keep it out of the worst of the elements to extend its life-span. If you take it down for the winter, make sure you remember to put it back up again next spring so that the bees can emerge outside.

(http://www.opalexplorenature.org/sites/default/files/7/file/Howtomakeabeehotel.pdf)


The seeds arrive!

Posted by: Barton Mills Jr Allotment Club

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Barton Mills Jr Allotment Club

The seeds have arrived, the seeds have arrived!” enthusiastically shouts a youngin' in the group who has just spied Helen walking up the path towards them with a large brown paper bag in her arms. As Helen tips the contents of the bag on the table, the children grab at the packets of seeds. ‘Wow look at these…pumpkins, they’re huge!’, ‘I’ve got cour..ge..ttes….what’s that?’ says another. Just holding these packets of seeds makes you feel good, ‘cos you know in a few short months you will be out on the allotment, hands in the soil, helping these children see the wonder of growing and tasting their own veg. 

When can we get started?”, Olivia asks. Right now, we say! Spreading the packets of seeds on the table, we begin...  

First: We organize the seeds. (we spread out on the table, pages from a calendar) As the children scoop up the seeds, we tell them we are going to put the seed packets on the month that the seeds need to be planted. “How will we know?”, Tom asks.  We show them the instructions on each seed packet. “Flip it over, do you see where it say’s Sow?” lots of pointing of fingers and heads nodding in unison. Good, we’re half way there! The children begin talking among themselves. Soon, they are racing around the room to find the month their seeds should be planted. At first, there’s some reluctance to let go of their packet but when they realise there are lots more seeds to go on the calendar, they’re off.

Second: We write down our findings. Everyone steps back and looks at the calendar – some months are filled with seeds, especially March, April and May, but a few months are empty. Abbi, the oldest JAC member, writes the veg on the calendar page and then hands it to the younger ones to put the seed packets into shoeboxes sorted by months. We put the calendar back together and promise to hang it in the allotment shed for everyone to see. All sorted.

 I can’t wait until April!” says Bella. “Don’t worry”, says Liz, “we’re going to plant some sweet peas later this month and make an insect hotel”. Whoops of ear splitting joy fill the room.


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