Sunday, 15 December 2013
Earlier this year we sent out 30 of these "Garden Start UP" packs of the following seedlings from Awapuni Nurseries:
Chives & parsley for salads and omelettes through the year
Rainbow beet for all year round greens
Yellow cocktail tomatoes for a bit of salad fun
zucchini for summer grilling (great finely grated in the Edmonds 1 egg choccie cake too!)
Lettuces for all summer long crunch!
It was great to receive the following photos of some of our Garden Challenge families':
The flowers give this garden away!
LOVE the use of egg shells "Flower Fairy" for keeping away any hungry slugs!
Tetch grew a Garden as part of her William pike Challenge...the green house has really given everything a HUGE head start!
Our resident "Handyman" Garden Warrior...top effort Rhys!
Another of our regular Garden Warriors...nice work!
Looking fabulous, loved the pictures of your beautiful chooks too!
...top effort Hearne family, you can be very proud of your efforts in such a short time!
Interestingly ...most of our gardens are coastal, and thriving!
These yellow zucchini look destined for a frittata! Nice work Jordan.
Love the use of broken flower pots to edge your raised Garden, and add a coloured boarder. Great to see one of our "Compostbots" residing over everything!
WE really loved this garden housed in a DSM screen form the Holcim cement works!
Everything looks to be growing really well too Anika & Caleb!
More West Coast ingenuity...a few sheets of clear light around the edges to trap a bit of heat, protect form the wind and...stop those pesky Wekas form pulling everything out!
plenty of summer salads here Anderson family!
Another beach side garden...this one made very creative use of already potted plants!
Our head Garden Gnome likes to mix up rosemary with her roses...she may try tomatoes now!
Standard roses under planted with lettuce...tasty!
absolutely stunning effort Barrell family!
This photo was too cute not to include...great to see EVERYONE enjoying gardening!
Thank you for sharing your garden with us Micah, these potatoes, beans and sweet corn are probably ready to eat by now seeing as this shot was taken about a month ago!
Just as well Awapuni Nurseries have given us a little something for every family that has put in a "Mint" effort this spring, and really hit the "Bulls eye" with their gardens!
Be sure to come along to final assembly tomorrow afternoon to find out who takes home the beautiful Tui books above!
The Tui NZ Fruit Garden book can be found in our school library to help out with our new orchard, as can a complete set of the other 3 fantastic Tui books!
Every family who registered for the Grow Fresh Garden competition will be heading home with a packet of giant pumpkin seeds to grow over summer...weigh in is early April at the school Gala!
Each family will also receive a certificate of achievement for their efforts ...and either a "mint" plant or a "Geranium Bulls Eye" flower bush, courtesy of the very generous folk at Awapuni Nurseries.
Delivery is free to non-rural addresses, and for orders of more than 6 bundles...so grab a neighbour and share some bundles!
Thank you to ALL our families' who took up the Challenge...it has been a lot of fun & inspiring!
See you at the gala with your pumpkins!
It was our intention to give everyone an apple cucumber plant to add to their gardens...but alas one of our very helpful Garden Warriors kindly gave them all a generous handful of fertiliser each...such wonderful observant helpers we have in our garden!
Wednesday, 27 November 2013
Sunday, 17 November 2013
Creative Classroom Ideas
Westport North School
Due to the popularity of our foodie days in the garden these last 14 months, this year our focus for the Tui School Challenge has been to create and outdoor classroom and kitchen for whole school use.
Our feedback from the Garden Warriors is that they would like to spend MORE time in the garden ...like...everyday!
Recently we invited the Wonderful Staff of Westport North School to an Alfresco Staff Meeting in our outdoor Classroom...aka The Garden!
On the menu this afternoon was an ample serving of creative ideas for class involvement in this living resource we had created:
How can I can get my class involved?
· Eating: come in and whip up a salad together or a pesto, or just graze on our abundant herbs and greens... hand out your recipe cards or post on the blog, kitchen resources & BBQ are in the lock up
· Growing: sow some seeds & find a place to plant them out, just leave a note and map on the black board in the propagating shed...so we can find them!
· Weaving Panel: this needs refreshing with flax strands threaded through, then weave through flax and assorted found items such as bark etc…set your imagination free! Flax can be found in the front garden
· String panel: hammer nails evenly around the 4 sides and go wild with coloured wool making a geometric pattern
· Knitting Dolly: very popular last year, let’s use some rope this year & make something more permanent or use flax and make a dream catcher or net …have a look at this Utube clip for inspiration http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpdeWmAMDA4
· Warrior compostbots: we need 2 more, it’s time we had a Maori warrior design (paint pens are in the lock up)
· Zen Garden: very easy interactive installation that will be a hit with the juniors. Plants are laid out ready, we just need some of the hockey turf or old carpet, then sand, pebbles and stone, and some drift wood rakes for pattern making...
· Bottle edging: finish off this boarder next to the high school, choose your own design...
· Bean bags: have a smashing time breaking up polystyrene and filling old pillow cases, then inserting into chook food/coffee/Tux dog bags for outdoor bean bags...then sit back and admire your hard work...
· Bug Hotel: continue adding to the hotel, make some welcome Hotel signs “Weta Bed & Breakie”…have fun with words! See if you can guess who our likely guests would be...
· Viewing Window: needs a bright paint job, test pots on stand by in the lock up.
· Sculptures: make a bird bath from threaded/stacked terracotta pots, add more windmills & improve the design
· Flowers: VERY popular, make wax stained glass windows, sand saucers, have a floral arrangement contest
· Mural: next year’s "Leave a Legacy" project with the Year 8's to create our own legend and paint by number on the wall
· School Grounds: get out there and adopt a front garden to tidy up and nurture, do a good deed and shovel and sweep up the sandpit sand
- Rain Gauge: start a graph and record our weekly rainfall throughout the year
- Ginger Beer: get our "How to make Ginger Beer" book we made out of the library & start a "bug", sell your ginger beer at lunch time to raise class funds
- Soup: have a class room roster and take turns brewing up a BIG pot of soup with our vegetables form the garden, once a week. Again, raise camp or classroom funds.
- Cook Book: put together our best "Garden Warrior Recipes form our Garden" and publish, take pre-orders and raise some camp funds.
- Compost: when emptying your bins, conduct a survey on the most popular fruit eaten, is there any seasonal variance in eating habits winter & summer, what percentage of the apple is eaten (parents look away now)...
- Viewing Window: graph how long it takes for the compost layer to break down, and long it takes for the worms to mix through the layers
- Student Council: start a weekly sandwich station, build your own sandwich with garden produce, or start a weekly lunchtime "Master Chef Challenge" with different students each week taking up the challenge with garden produce...
- Orchard: wander through and see fi you can name all the different trees, make a map & have a go at figuring out what fruit will be ripe in which season, look at the different shaped leaves, do stone fruit have a common leaf shape, do pip fruit have a common leaf shape, is an avocado a fruit, is a tomato for that matter?
· Blog: get your budding jurno’s onto the interactive white board and blog about your garden excursion
· Worms: keep feeding, and study our worm population, their life cycle...there are lots of VERY cute baby worms at the moment! Design worm wine labels & come up with a marketing plan for selling our worm wine!
· Science/Art/Engineering: build some pallet furniture, design and build a water feature, design a mural and apply to Resene for paint
· Visit: just read a book together in the garden, draw some pictures, nibble some herbs, pick a class bunch of flowers, and dream a little! Feel the magic of our tranquil space...
The following books and accompanying web sites are a wonderful source of inspiration, and are hosted in the school library. A HUGE thank you to Tui and Mother Earth for these complimentary copies:
Don't forget ...THIS... our very Own Garden Blog...the ultimate Outdoor Classroom Resource!
EVRYTHING you need to know is right here on this blog...need an idea...just flick through the posts...any time spent in our Outdoor Classroom is sure to be a hit!
Meet our Westport North School Garden Gnomes
Today our Head Garden Gnome received an exciting phone call from Jenna at Tui...we are the 2013 Primary Category winners of the Tui School Challenge!
Hence, its time we introduced the small group of volunteer parents and their families that are the back bone of our School Garden, they are the ones that apply for funding, turn up twice a week to run our lunch time garden sessions, muck in on the weekend to keep everything under control, and "creatively" source resources.
Without our Fantastic Garden Gnomes we would have no garden...
Mr Hitchens joined us this summer in the garden balancing things out by entering "Gnome mans land", and taking on our building projects with our Garden Warriors who embrace power tool challenges with relish!
Our original Garden Gnomes the "Gnoman Empire Builders"...Gardens rather than viaduct builders in this case...Mrs Smith-Edge & Mrs Ferrier were the two "Can do" mum's who took away the first trailer load of rubbish, and came back with a trailer load of tyres...and the rest is now history!
Mrs Skerten joined us this spring as our "Gnome on the Range" ... practical & well grounded (another Geologist!), stepping up to our cooking & building challenges, a valuable asset to our garden!
Meet Kamran, a recent school leaver who has joined us in the Garden this term to gain valuable work experience! Turns out he is rather in his element, and is not phased by any of our cooking challenges or the exuberant company, we look forward to providing him with a glowing reference!
Our School Principal Mrs Marsh (there's that Flower Fairy again, she pops up everywhere) has backed our Garden Gnomes all the way, trusting the creative vision to unfold...THANK YOU!
Last but by no means least...we need to THANK the Garden Gnome Families'!
All of our Garden Gnomes are working Parents, with Families' & employers that have tolerated and embraced the intrusion of the School Garden into all their lives...and put up with the unintentional "relaxing" of their normal household routines!
A HUGE thank you from every Garden Warrior, thank you for sharing your Parents with us!
Our School Garden has "Sown" us for Life!
"Leave a Legacy" Orchard
This year we started a new tradition at Westport North School with our Year 8 students, where our Year 8 students "Leave a Legacy" for the benefit of future students...before they move onto the adventures that await them at High School.
Our Garden Gnomes enlisted the help of our Parent Group to host a lunch time BBQ prior to the inaugural planting of our "Leave a Legacy" School Orchard.
We decided it was time to rethink the traditional kiwi sausage in bread offering... and serve up a new Garden Warrior interpretation:
Half pita pockets, crammed with garden salad so fresh it travelled a mere 10 metres from our garden to table...accompanied by sausage slices marinated in teriyaki
Needless to say we sold of pita pockets rapidly.
One year 3 student summed up the influence of ALL the eating and growing that we have been doing with the kids in the garden, when he asked for ..."a sausage in bread please, and one of those things that ALL the other kids are eating"!
We eat Fresh and grow fresh here at Westport North School!
Meanwhile, in between delicious mouthfuls of pita pockets, everything was laid out ready for our 36 year 8's to learn how to plant a tree...
Our soon to be feijoa hedge was waiting in a well regimented & orderly line...
Our Year 8's appeared very relaxed about leaving such an amazing Legacy for future generations...
Mr Aldridge was re-enlisted from retirement to kick off proceedings and provide the tree planting demonstration with Sophie, one of our very regular Garden Warriors
For several decades Mr Aldridge had been Westport North School's caretaker, until retiring early in 2012. It was Mr Aldridge who originally started the school garden with the 4 raised beds behind the pool...and you know the rest!
Tree planting demonstration dispensed with ...it was time to try mixing compost and fertiliser into our soil
...place trees carefully flush with the surface and not too deep!
Add water, & replace the soil around the trees...
Stake our trees carefully so they can concentrate on growing, rather than battling any winds!
We have used our very recent Tui Finalists, Tui product prize winnings... to purchase many bags of Tui compost and fertiliser to give our School Orchard the VERY best start!
Many hands made very light work of planting out over 30 assorted fruit trees!
What a Legacy!
3 x fruiting cherry trees (can't wait to see the puzzled faces on discovering 2 different coloured cherries on the same tree!)
3 x late season plums
3 x different apples
1 x persimmon for autumn colour & flavour
1 x pear & 2 x nashi for late summer juicy crunch
1 x nectarine
1 lemon for feeding our ginger beer bugs & squeezing over salads
1 mandarin who promises to fruit abundantly!
A pair of cocktail kiwi fruit vines...should be able to feed an entire class!
A dark and juicy grape for the back fence
An entire hedge of feijoas...should be enough for at least 1 fruit each
An Avocado tree, a 5 year growth investment fund, with potential marketable returns!
1 Pecan tree to provide shade and nuts for many, many decades!
What an asset to our school...definitely a Legacy for many generations to come!
Well done Year 8's, it was a privilege to work with you all on Friday and share this experience.
A LOT of work by our Garden Gnomes went into preparing everything for you, but seeing how much care and thoughtfulness went into the tree planting by some of you, made it all worthwhile!
Sophie's entire class came to admire the very special Cherry tree that she planted with Mr Aldridge as guests of Honour. We'll miss you next year, and wish you all the best at your new School.
Be sure to come back and visit your tree next summer, and work out just how its possible to have both dark red cherries and rosy yellow cherries on the same tree??
We wish you all the best Westport North Year 8's at Buller High School in 2014...be sure to pop over the fence and see how your trees are growing!
So what could next years bunch of Year 8's "Leave as a Legacy"...a mural on our garden fence perhaps?