- Expose students to all aspects of growing their own food
- Develop a curiosity about where their food comes from and how soil works
- Enable students to identify basic weeds, flowers, trees, vegetables.
- Encourage tasting of new foods e.g. fresh peas, lettuce and spinach leaves, radish.
- Recycle/Upcycle locally sourced material
Start Date – March 2021
Existing Garden Infrastructure
- 4 large (4.80 x 1.30m) raised beds, great quality, currently daffodils growing
- Aspect is south facing. Soil is pure sand.
- Raised beds have been covered with cardboard since October 2020. Have never grown food.
- Cooch grass and horsetail among weeds visible throughout the sand
- Beds are surrounded by grass and beside 5 mature cherry trees
- Space is surrounded on all sides by high walls
- Met with school principal and interested class teacher (2nd class)
- Decided to begin with growing potatoes in containers. Sand needs to be replaced with soil in the raised beds before food growing can begin.
- We can use seed potatoes which Michelle has had chitting on her windowsills for the past few weeks.
- Michelle lead an informal 20 minute workshop with 2nd class about potatoes; how we eat them (chips, boiled, roasted, mash), how we prepare and cook them (using oil/hot water, peeling them, slicing)
- Chatted about some potatoes (earlies) needing 90 days to grow and others (main crop) needing 130 days to grow. When they are harvested they will have grown a ‘whole bunch of friends around them’.
- Duke of York, first earlies, sourced at Urban Plant Life on Cork street, left on classroom window to chit.
- The school ordered bags of compost from Urban Plant Life and LIDL in advance of the seed potatoes being planted out in containers.
- Michelle sourced 5 x 10L mayonnaise tubs from a local chipper in Crumlin to be used as containers. She collected old shopping bags from members of Bloomin’ Crumlin. She cut some holes with a scissors on the bottom of these sturdy to allow water to drain away.
- Planted 2 early varieties in containers. Colleen and Duke of York.
- Students mixed compost, manure and rotted leaves which we found on site, in the containers and planted their potatoes which had been chitting on the windowsills.
- Great fun was had. Students were rolling up their sleeves mixing all the various organic matter. Laughing and joking about adding in the farmyard manure.
- Sowed lots of peas with a couple of classes in toilet rolls outdoors in the sunny garden.
- Placed the moist toilet rolls in tupperware containers and put them on the south facing windowsills.
- Earthed up the spuds
- Earthed up the potatoes.
- Planted out some peas which were growing in toilet rolls on classroom windowsill.
- Willie Brennan of Blarney Park Community Garden visited the school to assess the garden site and advise on how to build a good compost system
- Divided a tomato plant in 3rd class classroom. Now they have 3 tomato plants growing.
- Diluted feed for the tomatoes from Michelle’s wormery. Students got great fun talking about the worm poo feeding the plants.
- Earthed up all the spuds growing in containers.
- Watered the 3 tomato plants in 3rd class classroom. They were looking very sad.
- Continued weeding the first sand bed.
- Built 2 bamboo and string frames for the peas.
- Watered indoor tomatoes and checked on sunflowers growing in pots upstairs.
- Brought out 3 students from 2nd class and watered the container spuds. Also watered the peas growing in their frame along with spinach, beetroot, carrots and salads.
- Students picked off lettuce and spinach leaves and tasted them.
- Planted out pea and radish seedlings which had been growing in coffee cups on 2nd class windowsill.
- 3 students returned to class and presented what they had done. They explained that the pea root is really long because the pea grows tall but the radish roots were small because the radish is a much smaller plant.
- Brought out 6 students from 2nd class. Started by watering the container spuds. Did some weeding around the potato bed with the Main Crop spuds.
- Noticed how bees were buzzing and feeding on the talk yellow wild flowers/weeds in Bed 4.
- We checked out the spinach/salad bed and nibbled on some pea shoots and some pea pods.
- Finished with a little chat in a reflective circle saying what we did and what we enjoyed.
- 5th class teacher brought his whole class out and we planted out their sunflowers in the middle of the beds.
- Last day of school
- Emptied out 2 of the best looking 10L spud containers
- Students had a great time rummaging in the soil for potatoes, we joked that it was like looking for hidden treasure
- Each 2nd class student took a potato home
- Spent the morning in the school digging up all the rest of the potatoes which we had grown in pots. Students gathered 126 potatoes in total.
- We brought them inside, weighed them all, washed them and put half of them in a large pot to boil. Some students commented that they had never eaten a potato with the skin on.
- The other half we sliced into strips, covered them with oil and roasted them in the oven. The students kept a record of the weight of all of our potatoes. They took turns at weighing and recording all the data.