We tried growing corn at Ravensbury and a lot of it didn't ripen due to the poor summer. Still we got some really nice cobs. We put them in the microwave for 8 minutes and had corn on the cob. Growing corn is perfectly feasible in northern England but this was a big surprise for a lot of people in school!
A great autumn activity is to collect seeds from plants that have finished growing. Here is part of a sunflower head we grew at Armitage. You can also do this with peas, beans, rocket, radish and many flowers. The trick is to leave the seeds to dry on the plant and only take them when the frosts are about to start.
Picking the seeds out is a really nice, quiet, therapeutic activity. A colleague at Armitage thinks it should be reserved for the adults in the school!
Always an interesting time to see what has grown over the summer and what hasn't. Not a bad crop at all at Ravensbury, enough for a good soup I'd say. Those carrots are miles better than anything we ever get on our allotment.
St Johns has a large lean-to greenhouse which has an ancient looking grape vine. This year I did some research about how to prune it properly and we got a couple of bunches of grapes which were there waiting for us when we got back after the school holiday. They were really sweet and the children loved them.
I like things that are easy to grow, cost a lot in the shops and taste better than you ones you buy. Strawberries tick every box. Plus each plant makes 4-5 new plants every year so you can give them away to children and parents.
This was just the perfect pea pod we picked today at Armitage. Peas are a lovely thing to grow in schools, easy and reliable and virtually all children will eat them. Mange tout are also easy to do and you can get all kinds of interesting varieties, we've got some purple podded peas on the go at Armitage. At the end of the growing year let a few pods stay on the plant to dry out and you've got next year's seeds plus a real life illustration of the plant life cycle.