Summer is here and we’re starting to eat lots of home-grown food from our Garden Classroom. Here are some important garden activities for July that you can enjoy with your children.
Garden Activities for July
#1 What to plant in July
Keep planting a succession of salad, peas and beans so you will have fresh crops to pick right through to the very end of the summer.
If you are growing sweetcorn, use a hosepipe to give a light spraying of water from the top of your sweetcorn stalks right down to the bottom, to encourage fertilisation and lots of sweetcorn cobs.
#2 Feed your plants
The seed and potting compost you used to start off your seeds in the spring will be running out of its added nutrients around now and, in any case, all flowering and fruiting plants will benefit from a boost this month. You can make your own liquid feed using comfrey, nettle and dandelion leaves steeped in water, or buy some liquid comfrey or seaweed feed. Follow the instructions on the bottle to add the correct measure of feed to your watering cans, so you have the right dilution.
#3 What to harvest in July
The garden is really coming into production now and you can send the children out each day to see what’s ready to pick. July is a good month for onions, garlic, beans, peas, salad, courgettes (before they turn into marrows!), strawberries, cherries, and raspberries. Edible flowers such as the petals from calendula and nasturtium make a very pretty addition to salads.
You can harvest all your onions in one go to make space available to grow a different crop (perhaps some more lettuce plants). You’ll need to dry the onions out before you store them. You can pull them up and then just leave them on the soil to dry, provided you have sunshine rather than rain. We like to use our mini greenhouse to dry out our onions. The lattice shape of the shelf is the perfect size for the onions, and it has a covered roof, so the onions get to dry out even if it rains.
Keep picking sweetpeas, cosmos and other flowers to encourage more blooms, and deadhead any flowers that have finished, so the plants keeps producing more flowers rather than setting seed.
#4 Take literacy outside
One memory from my own school days is the special occasions when our teacher declared the sunshine meant we were all heading outdoors for our lesson that day. Such a treat to relax in the shade of a tree and read or listen to a story read aloud. Try these ideas for some really simple ways to take literacy outside, and try these suggestions for the best books about nature – and some amazing outdoor book nooks.
#5 Take math outdoors
These simple leaf math games are perfect for some outdoor counting, addition and subtraction practice.
#5 Explore the smells of the garden
Smell is often overlooked in sensory play, but it’s such a delight to explore the fragrances of the garden. You could make petal perfume, set up a rose petal sensory tub, or try this homemade playdough recipe with herbs.
More creative ways to use nature to inspire learning
Fill your year with hands-on, creative learning inspired by nature. Click through to see our Garden Classroom resource and get your free Garden Journal.