I started by welcoming them to the site and asking what they knew about allotments. I knew from my youngest that they had been talking about allotments at school for a few days already so they had some idea from that. Some of them had even helped out at Grandad's or Aunty's allotment. Then we talked about the seasons and I explained why there wasn't much growing at moment. It was then that I invited them to plant some potatoes and broad beans.
Eighteen children took seed potatoes from me and lined up along the trench Steve had dug out last weekend. There was a plant label at each point where a potato needed to be planted and I explained to the children to pull out the plant label and place their seed potato where it had been. The instructions were clear and the children managed it easily. Then as I pulled the soil over the top of the potatoes we talked about how potatoes grow, the tools I was using and other random things like the cat they spotted in the background or empty snail shells on the soil. Those children who hadn't planted potatoes then got to sow a row of broad beans with me.
Planting done, as I leaned on my hoe like an old-time gardener, the children asked me questions. Great questions like, what things do I grow, how long do things take to grow, where does the water come from and what things eat the plants. Then there were the amusing questions that you might expect from 6-7 year olds such as: are cats allowed on the allotment, do I stand guard all the time, why don't I get my dad to fix a tap close by for watering, and how old am I? You've got to love them!
We were just finishing off when the second class of 30 children arrived. So then a repeat of the session, although with slightly different directions taken depending on the questions asked by the children.
By 2.30pm the children were heading off back to school, having thanked me in the enthusiastic way that primary children en mass do: "Thaaaaannnk yooooouuuu!" The teachers also thanking me and saying they felt inspired to get an allotment now, or at the very least plant some strawberries.
So not a bad afternoon at all. My first early potatoes and 2 rows of broad beans planted and hopefully lots of learning having taken place too.