In the autumn of 2012 we began to develop a link with the Primary School with the aim of making the children and their parents aware of the Walled Garden. In addition it was felt that the children would benefit from working alongside other gardeners within the local community. All the local Primary Schools have received funding to enhance the provision of gardening as part of the curriculum. The Head Teacher selected Year 3 as an ideal group for us to work with as they have a further three years at the school within which to develop their knowledge and skills and hopefully to build a lasting interest in gardening. A visit was made to the class to prepare for their first session in the Walled Garden and in March they came along to plant potatoes. Six heritage varieties were planted by six teams of children. The trenches had been dug but the children added compost before planting the potatoes. They found the morning very exciting and showed great enthusiasm!
On July 10th the children returned to harvest their potato crop. Several of them had visited the garden with their parents during the growing period to see how their plants were progressing. Happily, all six groups had a very successful crop and most took away around 5kg of potatoes. We provided information about different ways to cook each variety and we will hopefully hear how the children got on with that – or whether they delegated the job to the school cook!
Overall the project has been very pleasing on a number of levels. Firstly, the children have learnt a lot about how something that they eat most days actually grows. Secondly they have had hands on experience of gardening and worked together for a clear purpose. But perhaps most importantly they have met and worked alongside people from their local community who have been willing to share their interest and knowledge. We hope that from September we will be able to go back and visit the same class of children in order to plan a further gardening activity for the next year. We may even be able to support them in their gardening at the school. Many thanks to all the Walled Garden Group members for their involvement in this valuable project.
We received some wonderful letters for the students who took part in this activity. You can view them below.
Copyright © 2013 Allesley Park Walled Garden.
If you are retiring or going part time and have an interest in gardening/growing your own food, we would love to hear from you!
In 2013 our education team ran two successful education projects involving local schools. This year we have further developed our links with yet another school and another project.
So this year we are working with three primary schools – Allesley Hall Primary, St John’s Church of England Primary and St Christopher Community Primary. We link where appropriate into the valuable local initiative ‘School For Thought’ that runs in 11 local primary schools.
It will be third year we have run a potato project. Six varieties of potato have once again been chosen, all of which have an interesting history. Their names have significance as it helps the children to remember what they are growing on their dedicated patch in the walled garden. We choose varieties like Duke of York, Home Guard, British Queen. Before breaking up for the summer holiday we expect the class to return to the garden to harvest the crop, take them back to school and ask the school kitchen staff to help cook them and organise a tasting of each variety.
For the second year we have run a Companion Planting Project. Children grow seven varieties of flower and seven varieties of vegetable in their school grow tunnel. At the end of June we collect the children and plants and have a giant planting in a dedicated plot at the walled garden. The message we are conveying is simple, 'Grow flowers and vegetables together as companions'. The nasty insects generally love the flowers and leave the veggies alone. So after all, contrary to the all too common commercial practice, we can grow food without spraying chemicals all over it.
This year’s new pioneer project is based on the growing of annual herbs and we have chosen 14 herbs to grow with a class of 30 children. By June we expect to have the class work with us on a layout suitable for its own plot in the walled garden, and plant it up with all the herbs the children have grown.
While each of our local schools has a greenhouse, grow tunnel and raised beds, the advantage of giving three plots over to schoolchildren in the walled garden is clear. It complements the work in the school garden, allows a larger plot to be planted by a whole class rather than the restrictions of a garden club, and not least the results are available for viewing by parents and the general public on seven days a week.
The Allesley Park Walled Garden Group has already seen the enthusiasm of youngsters as we have worked together sowing seeds, growing them on, and working in the walled garden as part of their school day. We just need a few more enthusiasts to join our walled garden education group, as we have other local schools wishing to take part.