Vicarage Primary School Garden – The Story so Far
It has been a long held vision for the school to have its very own garden. We have had many mini-growing projects, but we still didn’t have a garden that could be used by the children all year round. This meant that we had to visit other gardens to learn about the importance of growing food locally, to experience harvesting fruit and vegetables, composting as well as identifying common plants and insects. Vicarage children now have the opportunity to visit, look after and enjoy their very own garden. Over the past year we have forged strong links with using the garden for teaching of Science.
The main school garden situated is the rear of the school. This used to be a large field until some of it was developed into a multi-games use area (MUGA). The garden area was developed soon after. There is now a shed, bird table, a seating area made out of logs, a mini- beast manor, a strawberry patch and a herb patch. Some garlic bulbs have been planted and we are looking forward to our first harvest. Lots of winter greens, salad leaves and spring cabbages have also been planted for the first time.
Royal Horticultural Society Gardening Awards
Vicarage’s garden has been awarded two prestigious gardening awards. These were gained on the recognition of the gardening skills that have been learnt and the vegetables that have been grown. The children are keen to achieve the Level 3 award.
We will need to answer yes to the following questions to gain the level 3 award.
Leadership Team or local community support our gardening project
- We have built on our practical skills and can prepare areas ready for planting
- We grow a simple range of fruits, vegetables and flowers
- We encourage wildlife to the garden by providing homes and habitats
- We re-use as many things as we can and understand composting
We are well on our way to achieving level 3 and we will be submitting evidence to the RHS in early 2018.
Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Level 3 Award achieved in November 2017
An application was submitted to the RHS for the Level 3 award and we were delighted to have been granted the award. We will receive a certificate and Rocket Gardens voucher worth £150 for a series of three boxes of vegetable and fruit plug plants.
12 Raspberry canes have planted in four lined tyres and refilled with some lovely organic compost. Last year we used these for growing garlic. The raspberry canes were purchased from the proceeds of the Vegetable sales.We are looking forward to harvesting Vicarage’s first ever crop of raspberries.
The children in the spring will plant up to 50 new strawberry plants. These were saved from last year’s plants. We are looking forward to a bumper crop this year.
What’s growing in the garden?
Winter and Spring Vegetable were planted out and will be harvested soon by the children to make a delicious winter salad.
Wild Flower Meadow
The wild flower meadow has been marked out and is in the process of being prepared for planting the seeds . The ground is quite hard and dry therefore requires a lot of effort to remove the turf. We will persevere with the project and we are looking forward to seeing the end result.
Plants are now being sown in the autumn/winter growing season. Traditionally, we have waited until the Spring to sow seeds and found that we could not grow as much. Since, we have started planting seedlings in October-November, we are able extend the growing season and enjoy a much wider variety of vegetables.
This year we will be planting some delicious vegetables have already been planted. This includes Spinach, Pac Choi, Giant Red Mustard Rainbow Chard, Frills Mustard, Wild Rocket, Chicory, Mizuna, Endives , Lettuce (mixed), and Raspberry canes.
Children from Year 3-6 are now able to visit the school garden during their lunchtimes. This has proved to be very popular and they thoroughly enjoy their time there.
The children are keen to get involved and learn new skills. Last summer, we had a lovely time picking salad leaves, and preparing a salad, which we then drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice. The best part was eating it al fresco, together in the sunshine.
Vicarage Garden Vegetable Sale
On Thursday 27th April 2016, we had our first vegetable sale. The Japanese mustard leaves were very popular and quickly sold out. All the other vegetables sold out too. We were very thankful to all the parents/carers who brought some of the vegetables.
We sold nearly £30 worth of vegetables. The children were amazed to find out how much they had raised. This money has reinvested back into the school garden. The children wanted the funds to be used to buy 10 raspberry canes.
Upcoming projects for 2018
Wild Flower Meadow
We are looking forward to creating a wild flower meadow. This will attract lots of insects and will enable the children to study a natural wild life habitat, discover how flowers grow and enjoy and beautiful flowers in Spring.
We are already composting some of the garden waste but we would like to divert some of the green (fruit and vegetable) waste to the compost bins.
Reducing Food and Paper Waste Campaign
In collaboration with the School Council, we will be taken an in-depth look at just how much food and paper we waste at Vicarage. We will be investigating ways to reduce our waste.