Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A new year and a new harvest

Apologies for lack of updates to the blog. The end of year madness intervened, but the garden continued.

The official opening of the garden, at the end of October went off very well. Despite the fact that Sally Wise, author and cook, could not attend due to illness, her colleague, Bret Flood of Clonmel Cottage, soldiered on and did a marvellous job!

The weather was not our friend, raining fitfully most of the afternoon, but the event was well attended, with approximately 5o parents and students, along with local politicians, Mike Gaffney, Latrobe Mayor and Mersey MLC, and Jeremy Rockcliff, MHA attending.

The Advocate Newspaper ran an excellent article and pictures, while Eliza Wood of the ABC Rural Report interviewed staff, committee members and students. This interview was aired one week later.

The school's twilight fair was held the following week, with the garden creating much favourable comment and discussion.

Our volunteers worked hard over the summer holidays, and the students were keen to get back to gardening with the start of the school year. On Wednesday, 17 February, the school held a vegetable stall, selling beetroots, carrots, rainbow chard, tomatoes, beans and herbs. The money raised was sent to Caritas for its programmes in Australia and overseas.

The children were very proud of their achievement, raising $85 for this charity, and parents happily took home produce grown by their children.

The next phase of the project begins over the next month. The school hall and kitchen has been re-furbished and the kitchen set-up will go ahead in the next few weeks.

As summer produce is harvested, autumn crops will be planted. The pond, learning areas and irrigation system are being installed, and a large composting system is being built.

We may also be getting some chickens, to help with our gardening and pest control.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Spring is here!

Spring is finally here, and with the warmer, sunny weather, the garden is growing well.

The Garden Grows

Potting Up

Onions as thick as hairs on a cat

Grade 5/6 weeding their bed

Re-planting cereal crops after destruction by birds
Grade 2 hoeing the garden

Grade 1 erects wire for climbing peas

Along with garden maintenance tasks, some of the parents and garden committee have been building the fence. Other major works at present are construction of learning areas, planting the fruit trees and work on water features.

Much work has been done to make sure the garden is ready for its opening next Friday, and visits by local dignitaries. Bret Flood, of Conmel Cottage will be talking to the teachers and parents about vegetables and gardening in general.

Unfortunately, Sally Wise, who had been coming to open the garden is unable to attend due to ill health, so we will have her visit later.

The hard work of the committee and students is certainly beginning to pay off, with the seedlings growing. We will report on the opening (and the afternoon tea) in the next post, along with photos.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Garden is Planted

The initial plan and planting guide is finished.
Seed mix prepared for the Ley Bed

During the final week of the winter term, students from all classes planted their beds, with the Grade 5/6 students working on the plans for the berry garden, learning areas, sheds and auxiliary areas, as part of their contribution.

Grade 5/6 students mapping placement of pond, polyhouses and learning areas

Kinders prepare for planting

Kinders start planting

Kinders admire their work

Prep class preparing their bed
Gumboots are a must for Preps in this weather!

Grade 1 take their instructions seriously!

Grade 1 planting their pea bed
It's a reach for a grade 1!
Grade 1 sows a ley bed

Grade 2 prepare their bed
The worm proves the soil is healthy.

Grade 3 sows carrots

Grade 4 sow onions

It's a dirty job, and Grade 4 has to do it!

The 5/6ers erect their sign

Grade 5/6 sow the cereal bed

Now the seeds have been sown, we need to hope that the weather helps the garden along. The constant rain from July to September has made life very difficult for all farmers, but some warmer and sunnier weather will be most welcome.

When the children return to school next week, we hope the first seeds will be sprouting. We can then proceed with plans for the garden's official opening and we are hoping to have some 'celebrity' gardeners and cooks to talk to the staff and students about the importance of growing and eating your own food.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Garden Grows

The weather has been against us lately.

Although the rain is much appreciated, there have been almost no clear days to get the construction work on the garden carried out. The brave band of gardeners did manage to find a break in the weather on Saturday, August 15 to finally construct the major beds and paths. Here is some of their work.

Please note the black clouds visible in almost every picture. Apparently, if it rains on St. Swithins Day it will rain for the next forty days. We are well into that!

Here is the picture diary of the day's work. Click on the photos to embiggen

Preparing for construction

The first bed begins.....

and is finished!

Bringing in the heavy machinery!

Some of the willing workers

The beds grow

Looking like a garden

Completed beds

A good day's work!

The Grade 5/6 class are tasked with designing the layout for the berry garden and other areas. As some of these students will be moving on to high school next year, this is their chance to make a lasting contribution to the project.

Over coming weeks, each class will become responsible for the planning and planting of their own garden bed. Teachers will be including the garden into classroom curricula and activities for third term.

During this time, we will be incorporating the garden and its produce into the Move Well, Eat Well program which is currently running at the school. Once construction and planting is complete, the project will move into the next phase, including an official opening for the garden.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The First Post!

This blog was created to follow the progress of the St Patrick's Primary School Kitchen garden project in Latrobe, Tasmania.

We received a grant from the Commonwealth Department of Health and Aging to assist with set up costs for the garden and upgrading the canteen facilities to encourage our children to enjoy growing organic food and to learn how to cook and eat the produce they grow.

Latrobe is a rural town, not far from Devonport, Tasmania on the North-West Coast of the island. It enjoys a temperate Mediterranean climate, and farms in the areas grow an enormous range of produce.

Currently, the plans for the garden have been drawn up, planning for the site is well underway, and organic soil is being delivered to fill garden beds. We are planning a working bee to undertake construction of the beds, drainage and fences.

We are also examining plans for a worm farm and for composting, a growing and planting plan and linkages between curriculum, the garden and the kitchen.

Photos will be posted soon, and this blog will document progress towards a healthier lifestyle for our kids.