Kids gardening project

My name is Josie. I am eleven years old and have been gardening for as long as I can remember.

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I enjoy gardening and think that more children should garden, which is why I am writing this set of easy to follow instructions.

I am going to show you how to grow four very easy plants –marigolds (calendula), dwarf French beans, dwarf peas and radishes.   I will also show you how to grow exploding cucumbers, which are a little bit harder but very fun.

plant pictureHere is a list of the varieties I am growing and a bit about why I have chosen them:

Oskar peas
These very dwarf peas don’t need any support and are extremely easy to grow, you just stick the seeds in the ground and stop them getting swamped by weeds.  I really like these because their peas grow very big, very often getting square because they are so crowded in the pod, but are still tasty.

Minidor dwarf French beans
I’ve chosen these because I like dwarf French beans, they’re easy to grow and have amazingly yellow pods.

Red top radishes
I wanted a small mild radish because I don’t like very spicy ones and these look nice because they’re red on top and white on the bottom.

Flashback mix marigolds/calendula
For as long as I can remember I’ve liked growing flowers.  These are pretty, easy to grow, and the petals are edible and look good in salads. 

Exploding cucumbers
These are a little bit harder than the other things I’ve chosen but are very fun because if you touch them when they are ripe they pop and throw their seeds everywhere. 

How to make your garden

To grow any of these plants you need a nice sunny piece of garden, or if you haven’t got a garden some good big pots full of compost in a sunny place. 

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I am going to grow some of my peas in a pot so I have photos of things growing in pots to show you.

To get your garden ready to sow your seeds you need to dig over a patch of earth big enough to grow things but small enough that you can keep it free of weeds. Then rake it to get rid of all the weeds you've dug up and break up the big clumps of soil.

Here I am getting my plot ready. I have marked my garden out by putting white stones around the edges (you can't see it in some of the photos because I put them down after I dug it over and raked it).

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To get your pots ready you need to fill them with compost. You can buy compost in sacks or if you have a compost heap just sieve some to get rid of all the big lumps and weeds. (My mum says if you are buying compost look for 'all purpose peat free compost' at the shop.)

Here I am using our funky compost sieving machine.

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Every time I do something to my garden I will write about it so you can do the same thing.

6th March 2013

Today I sowed my peas! I took lots of pictures to show you, and this is what I did:

First, I made lots of dents in the compost with my hand.

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Then, I put one pea in each dent.

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Then I filled all the dents in, and smoothed the earth down on top. You always have to label your plants, otherwise you won't know what they are! Here is my label. I have written the type of pea (Oskar) and the date (6th March)

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Here is my pot, finished!

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10th March 2013

Today I sorted out my garden and sowed my calendula.

First I made a small trench in the ground for my seed to go in. The proper word for this is a drill but trench is the best word I could think of and you can see from the picture what it is. If you make your drill straight so that your plants come up in a straight line then you'll know which are weeds and have to be pulled up and which you should leave.

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Then I put two or three seeds every inch or so in the drill. Here is my hand full of seeds, and here I am putting them in the ground

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Then I covered the drill up (and chased away the blackbird that was trying to eat my seed)

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I wrote a label for my seed with the date (10th of March) and the type (calendula)

Here is my garden after I sowed the calendula. The white stones (inside the ones around the edge) mark the ends of the row.

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8th April 2013

My peas are coming up! They normally take less than a month but it has been so very cold that they haven't done anything until now.

Here is a picture of them so you know what they look like.

You should always water plants that are growing in pots because they dry out more quickly than plants growing in the soil.

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I also watered my calendula to try to get them to grow, because they haven't done anything yet.

I also planted my radishes today and this is what I did:

First, I made a drill, and because it has been very dry, I watered the bottom of it.

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Then I put one seed about every centimeter.

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Then I covered up the drill. Don't cover your seed up too deep or they will struggle to get to the surface.

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19th April 2013

My radishes are up! Here is a picture of them so you know what they look like and don't mistake them for weeds.

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My calendula still aren't up, so I'm going to resow them. They were probably killed by the frost.

28th April 2013

Today I sowed my Exploding cucumbers! These are a bit harder than the other stuff I chose to grow, because you need to start them in pots somewhere warm. But like most things they are quite easy to grow if you know what to do. This is what I did:

First I got three small pots (you can see how big they are from the photos) and filled them with compost.

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Then I made two holes in the compost in each pot. I used my first finger and pushed it in so that the compost was level with the first joint on it.

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Then I put one seed in each dent.

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Next I covered it up.

I put my pots in our greenhouse, but you can also put them in the house on a sunny windowsill. Here they are (in the house):

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I also thinned my radishes today. You have to pinch out the baby radishes so that you have one about every inch. It always feels really bad pulling up your baby plants, but if you do this all the other ones will grow much better.

I also finally got round to re-sowing my calendula today. When I did it I noticed that there were two baby calendula plants there, but I resowed it anyway, leaving the two seedlings.

7 May 2013

My exploding cucumbers and calendula are up! This is what the calendula look like:

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And this is what the exploding cucumbers look like:

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When they are first up they look like the first picture, but after a bit they ought to look like the second picture. (The second picture is one of my mum's and hers were in the electric germinator so they came up quicker.)

I also thinned my radishes a little bit more. One of the ones I thinned out looked so like a radish that I took a photo of a playmobil person holding it. Then my dad showed me some of the clever things you can do with Photoshop to make this picture:

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After thinning my radishes I sowed my beans. This is what I did:

To use up the rest of the space in my garden, I made three relatively deep drills.

Then I put seed in the drill, one seed about every inch.

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After that I covered up my drill and labelled it. If you are wondering where my exploding cucumbers are going to go (I used up all the rest of my space) I am growing them in a pot like the pot my peas are growing in. Because of the size and shape of my garden it is quite a lot simpler to make a frame for them to climb up in a pot.

If you are reading this and are making your own garden, could you email me to the address below as I would like to know if there are people reading this.

If you email me a photo of your garden, every time I post I will choose my favourite photo and put it up (if you like with your name and age).


26th May 2013

My radishes are ready! You can eat them at any point but I think they are nicest when they are about 2cm across.

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My exploding cucumbers are very big so I am starting to put them outside in the daytime so that they get used to the cold. You have to do this so that they don't die of shock when you plant them out. This is called hardening off.

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When you are hardening off you have to be very careful not to put them out when they are too small and not to leave them out in the cold overnight until they have got used to it. I didn't put mine out when it was really stormy because it was only their second day of being hardened off. I will post again in about a week's time when I have planted them out.

My beans are coming up! Like normal, here is a picture of them so that you know what they look like. I've got lots of them because I did three rows to fill the rest of my garden.

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11th June 2013

Today I planted my exploding cucumbers out. It would have been better to do them sooner but I didn't have time. I have written about how to fill a pot with compost at the top of my blog so I will tell you what to do from then.

First you have to stick five or six tall canes or sticks into the compost around the edge of the pot.

Then you take a piece of string (baler twine works well) and wrap it tightly around the tops of all the sticks. Then tie a knot or a bow so that the tops are all tied together in a wigwam shape.

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Next take a piece of netting and wrap it round the wigwam (its best to get a friend or a helpful adult to help you with this bit) tying it in every two or three canes at the top and the bottom.

Then you have to plant out your exploding cucumbers.

All of my cucumbers germinated so I had two plants in each pot. You don't want the plants growing this close to each other so you have to split them in half. How you do this is by tipping them out of their pots, sticking both of your thumbs into the middle of the lump of earth, then grabbing it and gently pulling them apart.

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Make one hole for each plant equal distances around the edge of your pot (its best to do this before you split them). Then put one plant in each hole and cover them up.You need to water them well if it is dry.

My peas are nearly readybut the plants are very big and you might want to put something in to hold them up.

25 June 2013

My peas are ready!!!

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