Abbeywood Tots Allotment Blog
The Abbeywood Tots allotment has been a true highlight for the children throughout the summer of 2014 and as the summer draws to a close this September now is a good time to reflect on what it has given us. As you may or may not be aware, Abbeywood Tots allotment is not like many others. We believe in planting not only the normal vegetables and fruits such as broad beans, sweetcorn and strawberries etc, but we also like to plant the more exotic kinds such as banana trees and melon plants, this gives the children a wider knowledge of where fruits and vegetables come from, rather than just thinking they come from the local supermarket!
Some plants have responded better than others to the fairly wet august that we’ve had, our runner beans have come in first place as they have responded well to our soil conditions and the weather we had. We planted around 8 plants and all have shot to be over 6ft tall with a bumper crop of organic beans to keep us going.
The sweetcorn has also been another success, considering that they were only small plants in the beginning, we have had a good handful of fresh corn on the cobs,however many others have been eaten by the pesky slugs and other insects (however in nursery we do like to share!). Having an organic approach we accept that slugs will be a problem and we are looking for ways to stop the slugs without using pesticides and researching some slug friendly traps for next year. The strawberry plants have been great, we had a good amount of strawberries around June time and we were hoping for more as they were so delicious. However it wasn’t to be, but we have two very large rhubarb plants instead which are ready to harvest – keep a close eye on the nurseries lunch menu and you may spot rhubarb crumble sometime this month.
This year we decided to experiment with more exotic plants as discussed, our banana and melon plants have turnout to be another success, although not fruitful the children had great fun planting them and they enjoyed seeing for themselves where bananas actually come from as many children didn’t know what a banana tree actually looked like. Although banana trees actually live in a lot warmer climates than here in England we have a had very warm and mild summer which they thrived in and if they can survive the harsh winter ahead we may get lucky and have some fresh, organic, Abbeywood tots grown bananas; for this to happen we have to wrap the banana plants in a blanket or coat for the winter to keep them warm, our nurseries shall be holding a banana tree coat activity where they will be designing and making a coat for each plant.
Our resident chickens have settled into there new home brilliantly. As our chickens hatched at our own nursery in Stockwood the chickens are used to being around children and have become quite fond of a daily visit. The children also enjoy visiting them too and making sure they have enough food and water. This gives the children a good idea of the chickens lifecycle as seeing them from as egg to an adult chicken, we shall look forward to eventually getting an egg off the allotment chickens to complete this cycle.
Another highlight of the summer was making a bottle greenhouse. This took great effort from everyone involved, from collecting the bottles to then building the frame and then putting it all together. We held a parent and children event one saturday to build the eco friendly greenhouse and it was a great success. We would like to thank all the parents, staff and children who participated in this as it is a great addition to the allotment and shows what we believe strongly in here at Abbey wood tots – recycling, environmentally friendly and Organic.
Overall the allotment has been an excellent addition to the abbey wood tots nurseries. It has provided the children with knowledge on where vegetables and fruits come from, also seeing the lifecycle of a chicken first hand and witnessing some of England’s finest wildlife which a lot of children didn’t know actually existed. The staff at the nurseries have found toads, frogs and slow worms all here underneath logs and in our small pond, for example one highlight was finding a frog and a toad allowing the children the opportunity to spot the difference between them both. We shall be keeping parents up to date with the allotment, although the summer harvest is nearly over we have to look forwards to the spring and planting many new and different fruits and vegetables and of ofcourse focus on keeping our banana plants warm!