Posted on 22nd April 2020 at 08:51
Each year we have children come to Edgmond Hall to learn more about how plants grow. They sow seeds or plant vegetables in our kitchen gardens well as water or weed if it is needed. Sometimes our chickens even get some worms to eat!!
Sweet Peas are always a colourful, popular addition to the centre; Sue from Edgmond Hall shows you how grow them, along with experimenting with sprouting carrot tops destined for the bin, dried beans, and all kinds have things things that you could try.
SIMPLE STEPS: Sowing & growing Sweet Peas
It’s the time of year to get growing. I have taken some Sweet Pea seeds collected from last year plants and will grow them at home. It would be great if we are back at Edgmond to plant them out later in the summer!
We mostly grow vegetables, herbs and fruit at Edgmond but we always grow some Sweet Peas for their scent and colour! We also grow sun flowers and have a competition to see whose grows the tallest. This is a fun thing to try with your family.
Children planting seeds at Edgmond Hall in 2019. We use old toilet rolls at the centre & discuss recycling.
1. Create pot from old toilet roll. You can fold to make a bottom to the pot... but you don't have to.
2. Fill the toilet rolls with damp, peat-free, multi-purpose compost.
3. Gently push in one seed per pot. They like it near the edge.
4. Add a label with the date that you've sown them.
4. Give them a bit of water.
What else could you try growing at home? If you don't have a garden, how about trying Carrot Tops and Sprouting Beans?
Carrot & Parsnip Tops
1. Cut the top off your carrot or parsnip leaving about 5cm of the orange / white part. If it has green tips already leave the same amount on the top. Don’t worry if there is nothing sprouting yet!
2. Place in a little water into a small dish, bowl or saucer and put near a window or on a window sill.
3. Soon you should have leaves sprouting!
4. The root will not regrow even if you planted it outside, but if you did plant it the greens would keep growing and you might get flowers which would be beneficial for pollinating insects!
For more experiments with carrots – and everything carroty have a look at World Carrot Museum!
Some people also regrow the green tops from the spring onion bulbs and garlic cloves. Try to keep them upright maybe in small glass. These tops can be cut up and used when cooking e.g. stir fry’s, salads or soups.
If you have dried beans in your cupboard you could try sprouting from any of them; Mung Beans, Chick Peas, any dried bean..
Not all beans will sprout from beans bought for cooking but you can experiment!
Get some beans and put them on wet newspaper or damp kitchen towel and leave on a window sill to see if they will sprout. It will take a few days so be patient!
Important Note: If they do sprout, please note eating raw beans is not recommended! More guidance is available at https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/sprouted-seeds-safety-advice/
If you do have a garden, speak to whoever is in charge of the garden and find some space to get growing! You can sow straight into the soil or into pots. Pots will need compost which might be hard to get at the moment, but some garden centres will deliver to your home, and there's often a bag that you can pick up at the supernmarket along with your food shopping.
Please please try to get peat-free compost though. When peat is extracted from peat bogs, it not only disturbs rare wildlife but releases millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide in to the atmosphere. Peatlands also store water and help to reduce flooding.
Things that you can sow outside right now!
Raddish and Lettuce or Rocket– these grow quite quickly so will give you something to try while you are waiting for other crops to be ready. You can plant these around your main crops.
Potatoes – need a bit of space; if you have a sprouting one in the cupboard dig a hole put it in and see what happens!
Peas and Carrots – these can go straight outside now and are familiar vegetables for most children.
There are lots more vegetables you could try that can be sown outside now or very soon. You could look online and see when you can sow different seeds straight outside. The back of seed packets will show you when and how to sow.
Try sowing a few seeds of different things to see what works well in your garden. Not everything will work, and birds and mice like young seeds too!! Failiure is part of learning though, right?
You should be able to get seeds posted out to you, and you may find some in supermarkets at this time of year.
If you are still working with children in school you could get some free seeds by registering with the RHS School Gardening Scheme https://schoolgardening.rhs.org.uk/about-us
One week on...
The Sweet Peat are well on their way.
Not such good news with the beans...
2 weeks growth on the parsnip!
Good luck, get growing, and share what you get up to
using #SRESatHome as we'd love to see it!
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