The success of the school garden is something I feel proud off. The garden is not big and our achievements are as yet small, but I feel the value the children get from learning how to grow food, or just learning that from a small seed a pumpkin grows, is huge.
Last week we harvested some of our crop and I made a big saucepan of soup, which some (though admittedly not all) the children enjoyed!
In total, we have seven pumpkins; some lovely fresh kale (though the caterpillars from the adjoining broccoli plant are just moving across), leeks, onions, beans, carrots, parsnip (they never got thinned so many are very thin!) and parsley.
For me the greatest value is seeing how much the children enjoy being in the garden; whether it is just the small ones relishing in digging holes, or some of the older ones remembering that “I planted those pumpkins and those beans” and now they are harvesting the rewards.
Now that the school holidays are here we are having a break from the School Garden Club but I just wanted to update you on our progress. Before we finished we harvested our first crops of lettuce, radish and mange tout peas.
The children also made some insect boxes to compliment the bird boxes that had already been made and put up. The fruit trees that had been planted were flowering and had also some developing fruit.
The children planted out runner beans and pumpkin plants and also some more seeds. The flower garden is beginning to look more colourful, but everything is still a “work in progress”.
As part of our work at our local school on the biodiversity green flag we have set up an “After-Schools Garden Club”.
I was delighted when we got a huge response from the children and over forty children have signed up for the club, which meets two Fridays of each month. We also had great support from parents with many offering to help and others offering supplies of compost, gloves and garden tools.
Our first week was very busy. We divided into class groups of up to eight kids and divided the tasks between classes. We weeded the existing flower beds, put up the bird boxes the children had made already, planted some bulbs, and some fruit trees.
Bucket full of weeds
Each child also got the opportunity to plant some seeds and bring them home. Some of these will be brought back to school to plant in the raised beds and into pots. We will keep you posted on our progress.
A huge thank you to all the kids and parents for being so enthusiastic and our sponsors of seeds, plants and compost (including Woodies in Castlebar, Homeland in Ballina and Shaws Garden Centre, Castlebar, Co Mayo)
Green-Schools, known internationally as Eco-Schools, is an international environmental education programme, environmental management system and award scheme that promotes and acknowledges long-term, whole school action for the environment. Biodiversity is the fifth theme of the Green-Schools programme.
I am on our local school’s green school committee (Eco-schools) and we have started working toward the school’s biodiversity green flag. I love working with the children they are so enthusiastic and full of ideas.
One of our first tasks as a committee was to map our school grounds. The school is situated in a small village so is lucky to be surrounded by green fields, and hedgerows. There is even a stream just over the school fence.
A couple of weeks ago we spent the afternoon making bird and bat boxes with 1st and 2nd class. My husband had a busy week cutting out the wood and drilling holes so that all the kids had to do on the day was assemble the boxes and hammer them together. It was noisy but the kids had great fun and no one hammered their fingers! The boxes will be placed in the school grounds to encourage birds and bats to use it more.
Making Robin box
Some of the finished bird and bat boxes
Painting finished boxes
Last Friday we are started an after school’s gardening club. I hope to keep everyone up to date with our progress here.
Bird box plans
Bat Box plans