Written with the help of Harry, Blake, Taylor, Clara, Eesha, Jack, Rohan, Lola, Leo, Walter and Ted
In their role as Head Gardeners the children (Garden Gang) aim to become expert gardeners through hands on experience and manage our school garden from ‘Plot to Plate’. Their roles and responsibilities include:
- Carrying out day to day tasks such as watering and weeding
- Helping to organise crop rotation and sowing
- Supporting their peers during bespoke gardening masterclasses
- Leading the annual whole school potato growing competition
- Harvesting crops
- Helping to run our fruit and veg stall
- Looking after our community herb garden
- Managing our compost system including collecting waste from playtime snacks and the school kitchen
- Letting Chef Nick know when crops are ready for him to use for school lunches
- Making jams and chutneys for our stall to help manage crop wastage
- Sharing gardening knowledge through whole school assemblies
- Organising Grandparent Gardening Day
Children in Years 1- 6 who are interested in this role must fill in an application form stating who they are, describing their interests and explaining the reasons why they would like the job and what qualities or experience they believe they could bring to the role. Application forms are then shared with our 3 wonderfully green fingered Garden volunteers who select 2 successful candidates from each class to form Garden Gang. Garden Gang meet after school once a fortnight throughout the school year are always exceedingly busy!
Jobs to be completed include:
- In Winter we prepare for the planting season such as planning, preparing the soil and raking up millions of leaves for leaf mould and tidying the potting shed
- In Spring we dig over all the beds, chit the potatoes and launch the potato growing competition and buy all the seeds ….. eventually we get to sow and help with the masterclasses
- In summer we are VERY busy we water, transplant seedlings into the beds, water some more, stake the runner beans, pick strawberries and make jam and do MORE watering!! We also get to find out which class have grown the heaviest yield in our potato competition.
- In Autumn we do lots of harvesting (we plant as late as possible so that we don’t miss everything over the summer holidays). We sell vegetables on our market stall and plant our garlic cloves.
Our School garden is self-funding – we grow and harvest enough to sell so that we can buy more seeds for the following year. We pick produce for our market stall which can be found just outside the main school entrance. We also encourage Chef Nick to help himself to our vegetables and herbs to use in school lunches and in our cookery masterclasses. We want everyone to see our vegetables and fruit going from ‘plot’ to ‘plate’ – sowing them, growing them and eating them!
We hold an annual potato growing competition, whereby every child is given a seed potato to chit and then plant. The class who grow the heaviest yield win a popcorn and film treat. Each class has to look after their own crop and we are getting much better at caring for our potatoes – giving them the right amount of water, as each year our yields are increasing. Jimmy Doherty even came to see us harvest our potato crop and bought some for his tea!!
We have achieved the RHS school gardening Level 1,2 and 3 awards and are in the process of applying for the Level 4 award. We have also made a film about our garden for the BBC Gardener’s World viewers gardens section and hope to see it on screen very soon!
We believe that gardening helps us in lots of ways – not only are we learning skills associated to our county’s great farming heritage, but we are learning where are food comes from, learning about plants and our seasons and we are busy being active outside in the fresh air which keeps us fit and healthy “I love being outside – I have learnt so much in our garden – it is the best classroom!”