Plant, Sow, Make & Grow Mud-Tastic Activities For Budding Gardeners gives a fascinating introduction to gardening. Esther Coombs was inspired to write the book after becoming involved in her daughter’s school gardening club. She produced illustrated newsletters about the club and these have been combined to create a wonderfully informative book which encompasses learning across several curriculum areas.
At the beginning of the book is a clear and easy to read contents page. After an introduction from the author, we are given a list of tools and other useful items including some we hadn’t thought of – bubble wrap and lolly sticks.
Preparation for planting comes next and we appreciated the suggestions that are given for easy first crops such as sunflowers, beetroot and strawberries.
The book is divided into four sections – Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. Jobs and planting times are divided according to season and within each section there are also ideas for garden related activities.
Esther’s illustrations are beautiful and full of detail. The earthy colours are printed on thick paper and text boxes throughout give extra snippets of information and facts.
There are some really innovative ideas for using everyday household items such as biodegradable toilet-roll seed starters. This is one of the first activities for spring which also includes sowing salad, tomatoes and flowers and planting potatoes. There’s also information about wildlife you may find in your garden – the good (ladybirds) and the bad (caterpillars).
Summer activities include sowing pumpkins, pressing flowers and making a watering can out of a plastic bottle. How to conserve water is explained as is companion planting and the importance of bees.
Autumn is harvest time and we learn how to harvest root crops and wild flower seeds. Carving a pumpkin, building a bug house and making an autumn wreath are also included.
Winter is quieter, a time for keeping seeds and making seed bombs. There’s also a wonderful activity using broad beans to show how seeds grow and a page showing how to protect plants in cold weather.
Plant, Sow, Make & Grow is truly inspiring and packed full of useful information and fascinating facts. Did you know that sweetcorn is grown on every continent in the world except Antarctica and beetroot has been eaten in space?
This book would make a fabulous addition to a school library or classroom. Gardening can be used to initiate learning in maths, science, crafts and it’s always a treat to harvest and eat your own crops!
Age Range: 5 +
Author / Illustrator: Esther Coombs