School Garden

March

We had Junior Infants grandparents and friends in to celebrate grandparent’s day and to help us plant potatoes.  We planted 14 different varieties of potatoes in the patio yard where Junior and Senior Infants will get to water them and watch them grow.  2nd class and 6th class helped to move the soil upstairs to prepare everything.

junior infants planting potatoes

It was very exciting to watch the frogs in the pond.  Since 6th class removed a lot of the invasive crassula, we can see the pond life more clearly.

pond with grandparents

 

February

The garden is hopping (literally and figuratively) with signs of Spring.

There is a beautiful bird using the bird box up on the patio to make a nest!

bird in bird box

There are so many frogs in the pond laying lots of frogspawn.  Try and get to have a look.  (Remember that children have to be accompanied by adults in the pond area.)

how many frogs can you see

How many frogs can you see?

frogs

The crocus’ are bursting open along with the snowdrops.

crocus

Green is coming back!

November

We have lots of fun with our buddies in the garden.

The beautiful ash tree in the yard has been cut back and we got creative with some of the sticks!

making with sticks and found objects

Look at all the different colours we made fairy houses with.

fairy house hiding

fairy house 4

fairy house 1

fairy house 2

We found bendy sticks to play with.

playing with bendy sticks

We created a bug hotel cafe.

feeding the bugs holly berries

We served up rose hips, holly berries and haws and leaves for the bugs.

creating a bug hotel cafe

We explored the woodland area.

exploring woodland area

We discovered that holly is very prickly!

connecting with holly

Today Junior Infants and their 5th class buddies picked kale in our garden.

picking kale

Red russian kale and cavolo nero make good bunny ears!

bunny ears

We cut up the kale with our buddies.

cutting kale

We cooked it with some butternut squash and roasted up the seeds as well.  Then we got to eat it.

yummy kale and squash

Yum!

tasting kale

Today we picked the last of the season’s rhubarb to make some delicious rhubarb crumble with Junior Infants and 5th class buddies.

picking rhubarb

Rhubarb has very big leaves!

rhubarb umbrellas

We cut up the rhubarb.

preparing rhubarb

We worked with our buddies.

buddies helping each other

We helped each other.

cutting rhubarb

We made a crumble for the class to taste.

tasting rhubarb crumble

When we were out in the garden we tasted rocket.

tasting rocket

We found a snail.

snail

We noticed the broccoli flowers and seed pods on the same plant.

broccoli flowers and seed pods

The garden is settling into winter slowly.

We noticed some mushrooms growing under the beetroot.

mushrooms growing in the beetroot bed

mushrooms growing in the beetroot bed

We are still harvesting food.  We picked some beetroot and roasted it.

harvesting beetroot

harvesting beetroot

We picked some of the red russian kale and the cavolo nero kale, some garlic seeds and used these to roast with some butternut squash.

cooking with our harvest

Our green manure (part buckwheat, part rocket) is starting to grow.

buckwheat green manure

buckwheat green manure

Our over wintering broad beans are beginning to grow too – I wonder if we might have planted them a little early?  Gardening is always about trying something and then harvesting it or learning from it.

over wintering broad beans

over wintering broad beans

October

We are busy tidying and helping prepare the garden for winter.   Thanks to the helpers who turned up for our October garden meitheal.

garden meitheal oct

We are making our own organic fertiliser with nettles.  Have a look at http://www.makingyourown.co.uk/make-your-own-organic-fertiliser.html for more info.

nettle nutrient soup

We are cutting back the bamboo which is a very fast and vigorous growing plant.  It has gone under the concrete path into our flower and butterfly patch so we dug it out of there.  It has long roots and sends rhizomes (horizontal, underground plant stem capable of producing the shoot and root systems of a new plants) underground.

rhizomes from the bamboo

We also found a big frog and some beautiful mushrooms which are very good indicators of healthy soil and biodiversity.

mushrooms

The leaves are falling from the trees and all their energy is spent producing seeds and making the seeds taste good (fruit) so that they will be spread far away.  Make sure you get to enjoy the sound of shuffling through the crispy leaves and the sight of the multi-coloured hedgerows and trees around us.

nasturium raspberry sandwich

nasturium raspberry sandwich

This month we are getting the garden ready for winter and harvesting the rest of the produce.

harvesting beetroot

harvesting beetroot

tasting rocket leaves and flowers

tasting rocket leaves and flowers

We are sowing green manure to improve the soil.

buckwheat green manure sown

buckwheat green manure sown

We are eating the beetroot and the last of the potatoes.

tasting raw beetroot

tasting raw beetroot

We are tidying up.

We sowed over wintering broad beans and we hope to have an early crop next June.

sowing broad beans

sowing broad beans

September

Apple Day!

What a fantastic celebration of the Autumnal harvest we had today.  Thank you to everyone who brought in apples, helped work the apple press, was part of the garden meitheal and shared their enthusiasm.  Every pupil had an opportunity to taste super fresh, unpasteurised, delicious juice.

First we sorted the apples, then we washed them.

sorting the apples

Next the machine cut them into small little pieces.

cutting the apples

We then pressed these small apple pieces with the press.  We all helped.

pressing the apples

pressing the apples

And out came some of the most delicious apple juice which we all got to taste.

learning how apple juice is made

learning how apple juice is made

tasting the juice

tasting the juice

YUMMMM!

Garden meitheal

We spent most of our garden meitheal showing people the different areas of the garden so that people who want to help can do what they feel most drawn towards.

Garden committee showing parents the compost area

Garden committee showing parents the compost area

Garden committee showing parents the fruit and vegetable area

Garden committee showing parents the fruit and vegetable area

Garden committee showing parents the mini woodland area

Garden committee showing parents the mini woodland area

Garden committee showing parents the pond area

Garden committee showing parents the pond area

Harvesting and seed saving

Today we harvested some of the delicious runner beans with our buddies.

picking runner beans with buddies

picking runner beans with buddies

It was like finding hidden jewels when the children discovered the stunning pink and purple beans inside.  We then saved some of the seeds from the ones that had bulging beans in them.

saving runner bean seeds

saving runner bean seeds

Runner beans and their seeds

Runner beans and their seeds

Garden Team

We have a new garden team who are very enthusiastic and full of ideas.

Our garden committee

Our garden committee

The new garden team tasting and exploring

The new garden team tasting and exploring

The Senior classes buddy up with the infant classes and get to harvest, cook and taste some of the garden produce each year.

5th class & their infant buddies digging for potatoes

5th class & their infant buddies digging for potatoes

Washing potatoes with buddies

Washing potatoes with buddies

A motley crew tasting some of the school grown and cooked produce!

A motley crew tasting some of the school grown and cooked produce!

Junior Infants are being introduced to the school and the garden.

junior infants exploring garden

Junior Infants exploring the school garden

They have noticed the red berries on the hawthorn tree and found crab apples on the ground.

Haws on the hawthorn tree
Haws on the hawthorn tree
Crab apples

Crab apples

June

The growing season means that everything is growing including the weeds!

5th class enjoying weeding

In our vegetable beds, we have potatoes, beetroot, rocket, garlic, broccoli, raspberries and runner beans growing.

potato plants are beginning to flower

potato plants are beginning to flower

Also in our vegetable beds are some plants growing where we don’t want them to grow (otherwise known as weeds).  We have removed nettles, dandelions, docks, chickweed, wild rocket and other plants with the help of the children.

a new hairstyle

Weeding is fun

The ladybirds seem to like the poppies.

ladybird on poppy

The children like playing soldiers with the ribwort plantain.

Pupils playing soldiers with ribwort plantain

Pupils playing soldiers with ribwort plantain

May

We are encouraging lots of wildlife into our garden by have a wild patch at the back of the school.  Biodiversity (have a large variety of living things) is very important for our world.

Nettles provide food for the caterpillars of small tortoiseshell, red admiral, painted lady and peacock butterflies.

learning to touch nettles without getting stung

We were learning to touch nettles without getting stung

More than 200 insects and mites live on hawthorn trees which provide food for lots of birds.  The flowers provide food for bees and honeybees.  The hawthorn tree is also known as the bread and butter tree as people can use the leaves as ‘bread’ and the flowers as ‘butter’ and it is edible.  We tried it!

hawthorn in blossom

hawthorn in blossom

The bug hotel provides a home for many living creatures.

Investigating the living creatures in the DSP B&B

Investigating the living creatures in the DSP B&B

We used buttercups to test if we liked butter.

testing for liking butter

testing for liking butter

We played soldiers with the flower stalks of ribwort plantain.

playing soldiers with ribwort plantain

The blackcurrant bushes are partly in flower and some of them have unripe fruit on them.

unripe blackcurrants

April

5th class grew runner beans from seed and some of them have been planted out into the school garden.  We cut some bamboo from beside the pond for the beans to grow up. Watch how good they are at climbing.

runner beans

We planted potatoes in March and now they need earthing up (heaping earth around the base of the plant so that the tubers won’t be exposed to sunlight).

earthing up potatoes

The rocket that we planted last year is flowering again and produced lots of seeds so it is growing everywhere!  These plants need to be weeded.

weeding

 

The eggs are turning into tiny tadpoles

The frogspawn are growing tails

The frogspawn are growing tails

The pond is alive with frogs

young frogspawn

two frogs

frog with frogspawn

Planting potatoes

We planted potatoes with 6th class and their Senior Infant buddies.

planting potatoes

Signs of Spring

junior infants finding signs of spring

junior infants finding signs of spring

buds on tree

Looking at the buds on a tree

spring daffodil

Lus an chromchinn (plant of the stooped head)

spring crocus

Crócas

forced rhubarb

Biabhóg – soft food
This rhubarb is “forced” which means the crown is covered to help it grow earlier in the year.

Pond life

We cleared around the pond area in our February meitheal so that children and adults can come out and look at all the frogspawn turning into frogs over the next few weeks.  Our next meitheal is the 27th March.

frog in pond

Frog in pond

frogspawn

Frogspawn

ladybird on pond

We rescued a ladybird we found on the pond and put it in the bug hotel.

3rd class looking at pond

3rd class looking at the frogspawn

Bullrush seeds

Bullrushes are dispersing their seeds using wind.

 

Planting Rhubarb

Senior Infants and their 6th class buddies helped to plant rhubarb behind the school.

(Our next meitheal will be on Thursday, 27th February at 1:15pm)

digging hole for rhubarb planting rhubarb

November Meitheal

There are always a few surprises when we garden.  This month Liz found a frog happily ensconced in the soil by the down pipe under the ferns.  Four class got a surprise visitor through the window!  We cleared the patch for lots of rhubarb but left enough space for the frogs to overwinter.

frog November 2013

4th class visitor

We also weeded around the vegetable beds.  We are planting Autumn raspberries.  Tom picked some dandelion leaves for his pet rabbit.  The children also loved eating the raw brussel sprouts and the rocket as they helped in the meitheal.

eating brussel sprouts

eating rocket

Our next meitheal will be the 30th January.

Compost

Thanks to the parents and children who came to help at our October garden meitheal.  We sorted out the compost area and found lots of surprises.  We are going to work very hard to only put things that worms can eat into the compost bins.

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Harvest time

At the start of September there was a lot of produce (and lots of weeds) in the garden.  Thanks to 6th class who helped harvest the crops and to parents who helped clear the weeds.

We are using the potatoes, beetroot, brussel sprouts and herbs when we cook and taste with our buddies each Friday.

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Féach cé a tháinig go dtí ár ngáirdín – na síogaí! Rinne siad tithe beaga. Tá siad i bhfolach i ngach áit! An féidir leat an bád a fháil? Look who moved into our garden – the fairies! They made little houses. They are hidden everywhere! Can you find the fairy boat?

Fairy House

Fairy house March 2013

1st class try to find the fairy boat

Fairy boat by the pond

We have introduced bamboos to the patio area where the Infants classes play. After the adults planted the bamboos, the children helped plant spring bulbs.

Junior Infants line up to get bulbs to plant

Junior Infants help Ms Ellis

We have a Wildlife Garden at our school. We made our garden to attract wildlife to our school grounds. We have lots of different habitats and vegetable plots in our garden. We plant some potatoes, peas and corn in our plots. The garden is surrounded by a native hedgerow. We collect stamps for “Save the Bogs” campaign. We send them to the Irish Peatland Conservation Council.

Habitats

A Butterfly and Bee Patch: This habitat is planted with nectar plants to attract butterflies and bees.

A Mini Wood: We planted a mini deciduous wood. A deciduous wood has four layers.

  • The Canopy Layer
  • The Shrub Layer
  • The Field Layer
  • The Ground Layer

There are birch trees for the canopy layer; hazel and holly in the shrub layer; bluebells, foxgloves and primroses in the field layer and rotting leaves and insects on the ground layer.

A Log Pile: We have a pile of rotting logs as a habitat for insects and fungi. Frogs from our pond like to hide in the log pile.

A Wet Area: We have a pond as a habitat for animals and plants. There is a small marsh beside the pond. The pond overflows into a little bog.

Compost Heap: We put all the organic waste, such as apple cores, banana and orange skins, pencil shavings, tea bags, grass and weeds in the compost bin. When the compost is fully rotted, we put it on the vegetable plots.

Leaf Mould: In autumn we collect leaves and put them in large bags. We wet them if they are dry. They are broken down, by insects, into compost. We are saving our bogs by using our own compost instead of buying compost.