Though we have only a small space around the school to use as a school garden, there’s lots of biodiversity in it. We’re very creative in using what we have.
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!
Look at all the different colours we made fairy houses with.
We found bendy sticks to play with.
We created a bug hotel cafe.
We served up rose hips, holly berries and haws and leaves for the bugs.
We explored the woodland area.
We discovered that holly is very prickly!
Today Junior Infants and their 5th class buddies picked kale in our garden.
Red russian kale and cavolo nero make good bunny ears!
We cut up the kale with our buddies.
We cooked it with some butternut squash and roasted up the seeds as well. Then we got to eat it.
Today we picked the last of the season’s rhubarb to make some delicious rhubarb crumble with Junior Infants and 5th class buddies.
Rhubarb has very big leaves!
We cut up the rhubarb.
We worked with our buddies.
We helped each other.
We made a crumble for the class to taste.
When we were out in the garden we tasted rocket.
We found a snail.
We noticed the broccoli flowers and seed pods on the same plant.
The garden is settling into winter slowly.
We noticed some mushrooms growing under the beetroot.
We are still harvesting food. We picked some beetroot and roasted it.
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.
Our green manure (part buckwheat, part rocket) is starting to grow.
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.
We are busy tidying and helping prepare the garden for winter. Thanks to the helpers who turned up for our October garden meitheal.
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.
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.
We also found a big frog and some beautiful mushrooms which are very good indicators of healthy soil and biodiversity.
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.
This month we are getting the garden ready for winter and harvesting the rest of the produce.
We are sowing green manure to improve the soil.
We are eating the beetroot and the last of the potatoes.
We are tidying up.
We sowed over wintering broad beans and we hope to have an early crop next June.
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.
Next the machine cut them into small little pieces.
We then pressed these small apple pieces with the press. We all helped.
And out came some of the most delicious apple juice which we all got to taste.
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.
Harvesting and seed saving
Today we harvested some of the delicious runner beans with our 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.
We have a new garden team who are very enthusiastic and full of ideas.
The Senior classes buddy up with the infant classes and get to harvest, cook and taste some of the garden produce each year.
Junior Infants are being introduced to the school and the garden.
They have noticed the red berries on the hawthorn tree and found crab apples on the ground.
The growing season means that everything is growing including the weeds!
In our vegetable beds, we have potatoes, beetroot, rocket, garlic, broccoli, raspberries and runner beans growing.
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.
The ladybirds seem to like the poppies.
The children like playing soldiers with the ribwort plantain.
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.
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!
The bug hotel provides a home for many living creatures.
We used buttercups to test if we liked butter.
We played soldiers with the flower stalks of ribwort plantain.
The blackcurrant bushes are partly in flower and some of them have unripe fruit on them.
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.
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).
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.
The eggs are turning into tiny tadpoles
The pond is alive with frogs
We planted potatoes with 6th class and their Senior Infant buddies.
Signs of Spring
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.
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)
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.
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.
Our next meitheal will be the 30th January.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.