Back to school top tips for Autumn

Planting seeds in the school garden. Photo: Jane Baker/Garden Organic

The Summer holidays are over and we’re back to school.  The mixture of sunshine and showers over the holiday period has been kind to the crops but with a new group of enthusiastic reception students and excited returning student gardeners, what tasks should you put to the top of the list this term?

Harvesting

You may still have some fruit and vegetables growing in your plots.  Over the next couple of weeks it’s time to dig most of them up and start planning a tasty meal. Vegetables like carrots, potatoesonions and beetroot can be harvested along with the last of the fruits like raspberries, blackberries, apples, pears and tomatoes.  If you can’t use them all straight away, our friends at Garden Organic have some great advice on storing your produce. Or you could try preserving them in jams, chutneys, pickles and juices.

Even better, why not encourage your enterprising youngsters to turn their produce into cash?  Enterprise Events held across London offer the opportunity to sell at markets or stores, but students can also set up their own pop up market at school to give parents and the local community a chance to taste their gardening successes.

The brand new Grow Your Own Business themed activity pack for 2016 is packed full of ideas and tips to help your students to Sow It. Grow It. Sell It!  The free to download pack includes links to enterprise resources, activity sheets, partner events, competitions, and top tips on growing, cooking and selling your school produce, and much much more…

Sowing and Growing

It’s not just about harvesting though, make sure you plan your plot to get the most out of the Autumn and Winter seasons.  September is a good time to try some late sowing of quick growing plants – leafy varieties like spring cabbage, pea shoots, pak choi and winter lettuce can be ready in just a few weeks.  Other seeds to try in September include chard, rocket, kale, spinach and mustard.

And as a final late autumn treat, put some seed potatoes in a large pot or sack, keep in the warmest part of the garden and transfer to a greenhouse once it starts to get a bit nippy outside.  With a bit of luck, they will be ready to harvest just before your school Christmas meal!