Slow Food Perth (Australia) sponsored this Edible School Garden at Wembley Downs Primary School. Here the students describe how they planted, maintained and harvested their garden and then used the produce to cook a delicious meal together.
Autumn (March – May) is the best time to plant lots of winter vegetables. We raised at lot of our plants from seed but we raised them first in pots in seed raising mix. Each day we had turns in spraying the seed raising mix with fine water and taking our seeds out into the sun. After school we would tuck them into the art room to keep warm overnight. Over the holidays some of us were chosen to take our seeds home and keep them watered. Almost every seed came up Mrs Evans was so impressed. Sam’s seeds grew so well. Mr Oliver, the school gardener helped us to build the garden beds after Mr Muir’s Year 7’s worked out how many sleepers we needed and how much compost we needed for our garden. They were so clever!!!!.
Then the compost arrived. It smelt so nice and the Year 7’s and ourselves filled up the beds with Eureka compost.
We all were given a seedling to plant out carefully into our garden. Some of the plants were grouped together because they are good together just like some of the children in our class. We sowed seeds of beans, celery , radish, spinach and broad beans. The year ones have a garden of broad beans that they raised from seeds that they germinated in the classroom.
We had a very dry start to winter and we had to water our seedlings by hand with watering cans. Then Mr Oliver put in some black pipes with sprinklers attached to water our garden. What a difference it made, in one week we could see that some of the plants had doubled in size.
June 21 – Winter Solstice
The shortest day in the year. The Pre-Primaries gave us some worm juice form their worm farm and we watered our plants with it.
We thinned out some of our seedlings to give each plant room to grow and transplanted the other seedlings into other parts of the garden where there were no plants. We also planted some cherry tomatoes, basil, oregano and strawberries.
We noticed that the celery and bean seeds hadn’t come up. Mrs Evans said that it is because the ground is too cold for them to grow.
No Dig Method
We put newspaper on the ground and then filled our garden in with clean sand and organic compost. This compost doesn’t have heavy metal in it. It has only natural materials to grow beautiful vegetables.
Weeding is one of the most important jobs to do in the garden and instead of throwing the weeds away we put them into buckets and added water to them. After two weeks they will be a bit smelly but the liquid is full of nitrogen and makes terrific fertiliser.
We planted seed potatoes or Delawares in a small garden plot near the garden shed. Mr Oliver said that he hopes that these spuds will grow better than the ones grown with straw method. The potatoes had just sprouted and we planted them 15cm deep and 30 cm apart. We also threw in some blood and bone.
July 4–25, 2006
Wow !!! Our garden had grown so much over the two week break. We are now harvesting radishes and boy were they yummy. The English spinach is ready to pick and we have peas. Thrips have arrived but aren’t causing too much trouble.
We have planted seeds of dill, borage, coriander and thyme. They will be kept in the Art room until the frosts are over.
August 11, 2006 – Winter
The weather is wet but starting to warm up and the days are getting longer.
In the garden we have eaten radish , beetroot leaves, peas, spinach, rocket, spring onions. Tasted DELICIOUS !!!!!!
We have noticed and collected several insects. They were slaters, green caterpillars, stink bugs , thrips, lady bugs. We also saw ants and bees pollinating our flowers. We saw grey and black eggs all over our plants.
Some insects are good for us.
Today we will:
Put worm juice on the garden – Cameron and Melanee
Fertilise with blood and bone the potatoes – Patrick and Taylah
Take out old plants from raised garden bed and put on compost heap – Emma, David, Jake, Ryan
Take all the seedlings and put on the table in the nursery – Courtney, Sarah and Abbey
Adam will put seed raising mix in egg cartons.
August 15, 2006 – Harvesting and Cooking Day
Antoine’s Mum came in and helped us to cook up a yummy vegetable and noodle stir fry.