Our school garden has gone from strength to strength this year. Despite some delays in autumn we have got a new large flower bed that we planted rather late in the year with bulbs and perennials. Year 1 pupils were in charge of the flowers, adding annuals in spring and sunflowers in summer. The children sowed and raised all the plants. Each class also designed their own raised bed using field crops like flax, spelt or amaranth and field wildflowers. The vibrant flower beds were enjoyed throughout the summer by the whole school community.
The Year 2 pupils were growing all the vegetables in the garden. In contrast to last year, each child was in charge of his/her own little patch of land, marked with their name. They sowed at least three different vegetables directly into the beds and tended their beds throughout the year. Later they planted tomatoes and other seedlings. A particular emphasis in the hot summer was learning to save water by mulching and water wisely. The harvest is still going strong!
We use the garden produce in our meals at school which is an important outcome of our gardening efforts. Because of limited facilities we can only prepare simple meals. The Reception classes prepared kale and made kale crisps. From the potatoes they planted and harvested the children enjoyed chips cooked on the barbeque.
The Year 2 classes used chard to make chard puff pastries and Year 1 classes included vegetable and lettuce leaves in the smoothies they prepared in the garden. The children also enjoyed taster sessions and realised that interesting we can be influenced by other senses, like sight and smell, when we choose and taste different foods.
Our pupils learn about vegetables through our ‘Vegetable of the Week’ event. We mostly choose vegetables from the garden that are in season, and pupils are encouraged to eat them for lunch. Simple recipes are available for parents and their children to cook those vegetables at home. Occasionally these vegetables are sold by the pupils on a school stall.