Indoor Plants & Watering

Now that we have the Blog back up and running, I thought it would be nice to get back on track with the posts that were planned in earlier on this school year.

It has been claimed that keeping houseplants helps to remove pollutants and reduce stress, therefore increasing focus and creativity, but sometimes caring for your plants can feel like a full time job. There’s so much to remember, from feeding your plants to making sure they get enough sunlight.

We know the instinct to water them is strong, but over watering is the most common way to kill houseplants.

Generally speaking, plants like to dry out in between feedings. If soil is left too wet for too long, it can cause root rot. Letting your soil dry out before watering is key for plants to receive the perfect balance of water and oxygen.  So how do you know when a plant needs to be watered?

Tips: 

  • Stick your finger in the soil and if the first inch is dry, water. If it looks dry on top but is actually wet below the surface, don’t. The top of the soil should feel moist, not soggy.
  • Leaves are expressive — especially if they are large and thin — and will tell you a lot about a plant’s needs. If they are droopy, you know they need something and to check their soil. You might have to dig down a couple of inches
  • If your plant is in an unglazed clay pot, for instance, it may need to be watered more often than a plant in a store-bought plastic planter
  • For many plants, it’s wise to have drainage, because you can soak them to be sure that they are absorbing the water.
  • Smaller plants need more attention and frequent watering than larger plants. Additionally, plants that get more sunlight also need to be watered more frequently.
  • Watering from underneath is more homogeneous, less prone to overwatering and there is no concern of draining nutrients out. Plus, you can be sure that the water does actually get to the roots.
  • Place a saucer underneath the pot and fill the saucer with fresh water when it’s time to water. Let it soak for several hours. Empty the saucer and let the remaining water drip out.
  • Fill the bottom of a tray/container/sink/bathtub with a few centimetres of fresh water. Place your plant pots in and let them absorb water for a couple of hours. Let them dry before placing them back.
  • Self-watering pots are incredibly useful and time-saving. No more over-watering or under-watering, the plant does it all for itself. You just need to refill the water reservoir
  • Use pebbles as a soil topping to retain moisture longer.
  • Just like humans don’t like an ice-cold shower, your plants don’t either. Water with tepid water. Water straight from the tap can shock the roots, especially tropical plants.

This was our first autumn crop of this school year!

We had spicy radish to set off this years growing

Lavender Facts and Activity + Progress Updates!

I thought Lavender would be the perfect next topic of discussing following on from our Sunflower tips and tricks post. Lavender is such a beautiful herb that many people select for their gardens, you can occasionally find it growing wild too! Todays focus will be facts and benefits of the Lavandula Angustifolia plant.

Photography by Miss Dorman at Hitchin Lavender Farm, Hertfordshire Aug 2019.

Lavender has many benefits for wildlife, especially pollinators. It is one of the best plants to grow for attracting bees. It’s flowers attract hummingbirds and many species of butterflies including painted ladies, woodland skippers and tiger swallowtails, all three of which are urban species.

Its colouring makes it a beautiful plant for borders while also repelling wild Deer and Rabbit (Although that’s not really a problem we tend to have here in London!!!).

I decided to select the Lavender plant for our next growing topic is because the fragrance from the flower and oils produced are believed to help promote calmness and wellness.

It is therefore, commonly used in aromatherapy to make medicine to tackle anxiety, stress, and insomnia. It is also sometimes used to help sooth certain symptoms for depression, dementia, pain after surgery, and many other conditions.

Preserving your Lavender for use at home:

Fresh, cut lavender bunches can be put in a vase of water for 2-3 days. They will last up to 10 days in water, but if you want to dry the bunches, remove from water after 3 days.

Steps to drying your lavender:

Cut off brown parts of the stem and hang to dry.

Tie the stems together with a rubber band and hang them in a fairly dark room with dry, moving air.

Sun will fade the colour and moisture will spoil the flowers. This process will take about 10 days to two weeks. As the bunches dry, the blossoms will drop onto the floor.

A brown paper bag can be tied around the flowers to prevent the buds from dropping onto the floor.

After you have dried the flowers, you can strip the lavender off the stem, store in a muslin bag for fragrance. These sachets will last for years. Squeeze them from time to time and more Lavender scent will be released.

The Oils can be used to make essential oils, in creams, soaps, syrups and drinks. the photo on the left shows some Lavender products available for purchase at the Lavender field.


Urban Cultivator Updates!

As mentioned in the bulletin last week as well as our last growing post having received a grant provided by Savoy Educational Trust (another huge thank you to Deborah Loades) we were able to purchase a new bit of kit. After just two weeks of setting up and planting into our Urban Cultivator progress has been made!

What Are Microgreens?

Microgreens are young vegetable greens that are approximately 2.5–7.5 cm tall. They have an aromatic flavour and concentrated nutrient content and come in a variety of colours and textures. Microgreens are considered baby plants, falling somewhere between a sprout and baby green.

We currently have a variety of Microgreens growing;

Wheatgrass: High in Nutrients and Antioxidants. May Reduce Cholesterol. Great for aiding the body in getting rid of impurities and stored toxins. May aid in good digestion, leading to reduced bloating, gas, and stomach upset.

Spicy Radish Microgreens: Radish microgreens contain a high concentration of Vitamin B3, Vit.B6, Vit. C, Folate, and traces of Manganese. They are also abundant in Vit A, K, and E, iron, potassium, phosphorus, beta carotenes, calcium, magnesium, pantothenic acid and zinc.

Split Peas: In fact, taking a small cup of split peas in your daily diet can provide approximately 65% of the daily recommended value of fibre in your diet. The high fibre content of split peas helps regulate blood sugar levels. 

Basil Microgreens: You can eat these in the same way as you would normally eat basil, as a garnish on food, in a salad, with your sandwich, or even as a snack by itself. Research shows that basil microgreens contain as much as 4-5 times the nutrients that mature basil does!

Next Mondays post will be looking at keeping your garden insects thriving plus your usual weekly update on the departments growing!

The Design and Technology subject area introduce our current Departmental aim. ‘Growing Green’

Welcome!


Hello viewers & welcome to the St Marylebone Design & Technology Section of the blog!

We have decided to use this platform to share with you all, our progress with our current & new department development goals to go greener. We are calling this project ‘Growing Green’ and we plan to use this week to introduce it to you. Our aim is to post new each week. The next few weeks are all about introductions before we move onto the juicy stuff!

So the project as a whole intends to create a greener and more sustainable school environment as well as developing students’ understanding of the farm to fork process, scientific principles, environmental considerations and existing and emerging technologies.

The aim of the project is to create a greener, and more inspiring learning environment for ALL students. become more sustainable and environmentally friendly as a department, and later, a whole school community. Involve students in the growing process to not only support their learning, but mental health also.

Lemon tree from a Lemon seed.
Avocado grown from pip as seen below!

Stage 1- Greening classrooms Stage 1 of our project will involve making use of our classrooms to grow produce. Create hanging systems by windows and use of window sills for sowing seeds and growing produce. Purchase of an urban cultivator to demonstrate hydroponics and growing produce in an alternative way. Introduction of a wormery to dispose of food waste produced during lessons.


Stage 2- Use of Blandford Street roof space Use of roof space for growing produce and learning space subject to relevant permissions. Raised beds, water butt, small storage shed and potting area.

The photos are Ms Spielers potted Lemon and Avocado grown from seeds of food waste last spring, swipe for the process. The Last photo is Ms Bardens Lemon tree grown in a Banana! I will keep you informed on its progress every so often in our stories and highlights!

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