22 March 2009

planting workshop - sprouting seeds, salad leaves and wildflower pot

The second of the St Giles - Seven Dials in Bloom planting workshops.  A day of beansprouts, salad leaves and wildflower pots.

I started with a seed sprout demonstration.  First passing round the (lidless) tubs of the various seeds to sprout; mung beans, alfalfa, mustard, peas.  I forgot how lovely seeds can feel running through young but clumsy fingers.  As a result there will be no alfalfa sprouting on windowsills this time round - whoops!  I swiftly moved onto a seedsprout rinsing demo' with impromptu chanted accompianiment from the children - "fill it up! - pour it out!".  We made up the sprout kits - plastic tub, muslin top, rubber band, seed of choice - and discovered they double as maracas!
Next came salad leaves to be sown in pots.  These will be ready to cut as baby leaves in three weeks or so.  They should re-grow to provide further crops.  There was a choice of 'spicy oriental', 'californian mix' or 'mild mix' - I wait to see how different they will be, looking at the packet photo and seeds they look to be variations of the same mustard/pak-choi mix.  Concerns over 'spicy' levels made for much discussion.  

The seeds were sown thinly over the surface of the compost and just covered with a sprinkling of compost.  To be watered from beneath when they get home (it's too messy and heavy to carry the pots otherwise).  
The wildflower plugs had been delivered the day before, beautifully packed, and were healthy and raring to grow.  Each pot was to have four plants; ox-eye daisy, red campion, betony and fox and cubs, which should give success wherever they're placed to grow, some liking full sun, others shade.  I did a full demonstration and bit of a talk.  

I am disconcerted by the serious expressions my plant talks seem to induce.  I hope it's because I am inspiring but maybe I ramble on aimlessly and it's just confusion?
I had to diplomatically fend off some 'help myself' hands from the plug trays.  At last years spring planting day lots of plants that were being given away free were grabbed by a few particularly pikey parents incapable of sharing, which offended me deeply (they stole my Geranium pyreniacum 'Bill Wallis' too  - that's a trauma).  Still somewhat embittered I now dole plants out from behind my table to keep it calm and to protect the greedy from themselves!  
The wildflowers were planted into the pots and looked really good (I'd been concerned they might be overly 'weedy').  Everyone seemed very pleased with them and, with no pictures, very  interested in what they will look like when they flower.  

A busy day with 32 people taking part.  

I reckon they'll be queueing for the next one.  

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