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Homeschool Garden Club - Jobs for April

This is the month where things really start taking shape in the Orchard Training Gardening Club. Although this year has got off to a bad start with the February storms taking out the green house and all the seeds and seedlings we had already started off.

This year we have collectively decided to grow potatoes, beetroot, cabbage, carrots, courgettes, cucumbers, garlic, leeks, onions, parsnips, runner beans, sweetcorn, shallots and tomatoes.

After the confusion of the rotten wooden labels last year, we have very strictly used plastic ones for the garlic, leeks, onions and shallots. We got ourselves in such a pickle last year when we potted on that we had a bit of everything everywhere. this greatly upset those of us who like order and neatness. In my own garden I didn't mind so much as these crops grown among the flowers and it was a nice surprise.

So, for this April our tasks in the Garden Club are as follow:

Keep on top of your weeds. If you haven't already been out and hand weeded the area after beeping disheartened by the loss of seeds and seedling earlier - do not despair our lovely friends down at the allotments and those we have seed swopped with have donated some spares and so we are back up to capacity. Extra deliveries will be made this weekend so get weeding so you are ready for the seedlings - hopefully after this present cold spell.

We have taken delivery of the fruit tree feeds so those of you who need some can collect and feed the trees this week. Although it is not an issue this week, with the weather as it is, you will need to keep an eye on water for those in pots from this point onwards.

Because we planted the fruit trees in their pots up last year, we will not have to check if they a pot bound this year. However, we will need to do so next year. So make a note in your forward diary to do so next April. Over the course of this year we can look out for four large pots for them and put them to one side. The learner who is monitoring the recycle sites for us will add this to the list of things needed.

For those of you growing carrots now is the time to mesh them after sowing. Remember the fine sand trick to spread them out sparsely and to water the row with water first.

During our winter jobs we sorted, clean and sterilise the bamboo canes. they have been put away in size order and those growing bean in teepees can come and collect the taller canes. Those growing peas will have their pick of the shorter canes. We will be holding back some canes for the sunflower competition.

We would be normally thinning out seedlings at this time of year but we have had such a cold start we are just about ready to pot on the seedling we have resown. So, on the first warm day of the easter holidays we will be potting on outside.

The Herb garden is doing rather better than inspected, many of our herbs form last year have survived the winter, we can propagate from this this week if you want so to grow your own herbs.

Any herbs growing at home can have a trim, cut back the older flower stems to allow the new growth through. If your are not sure we can Face Time, best done now as it becomes tricky to do later on.

Last year, not all the potatoes grown were collected and eaten, and we have new shoots on the ones left in the potato growing bags. The frost has bitten a few leaves but they look healthy so we won't buy any more potato seeds than we already have, this year.

We have a number of learners who are in both in the Orchard Training Garden Club and the Orchard Training Cookery and we are looking for a challenge this year. So, the free seeds from the National Vegetable Society has provided an opportunity, after the absolutely disaster of the pickled gherkins during lockdown picked onions will be this year challenge.


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