Having good thymes in the garden

“We might think we are nurturing our garden, but of course it is our garden that is nurturing us”.

As the weather warms and the day lengthens, the soil is getting warmer and the plants are bursting into life. It has been a rather busy start of the season in our school garden. The children worked hard digging and aerating the soil, adding compost to prepare our raised beds for seasonal vegetables, such as cauliflower, broccoli, parsnip, carrots, spinach and herbs.

Our strawberry plants are enjoying the warm sunny weather and we hope for a successful harvest in June. They don’t mind growing next to garlic which is growing rapidly. Our raspberry plants had to be replanted by the south-western wall to allow us to have more space in raised beds. The children from the gardening club put lots of effort in preparing the patch for raspberries, which are now neighbours with the geranium flowers.

As a part of the Science topic, Prep 3 children planted seeds of gigantic sunflowers which are also a token of support to Ukraine. We observe how the seeds germinate and try to work out what plants need to grow well. We experiment by placing the plants in different conditions, the children can make their own observations to get a clear idea of the best conditions for a variety of plants.

We made an appeal to the local community asking for any unwanted items that we could utilised in our garden, and managed to obtain a great selection of gardening tools which now reside in our shed. We also had other things very kindly donated to us, you may have noticed the rain water butts, which hopefully will be installed very soon, then we can use rain water to keep the plants alive.

No stopping here, staff have been putting lots of creative thinking into reusing and recycling of unwanted materials, as this helps to educate the pupils and demonstrate how many different items can be recycled as planters. This has been a huge benefit in helping the children learn more about the life cycle of different materials during their Science and Outdoor Learning lessons. We used wellington boots as planters with pansies and petunias making a beautiful addition to our school garden.

In winter months, we collected the materials to create our own compost and plan to use kitchen waste and grass cuttings to make more compost in coming months. The next project will be to utilise the unused beds next to the wall, which can be a good sized vegetable patch, where the children have an opportunity to plant and grow potatoes, onions, garlic and other root vegetables, with a few flowers to attract the pollinators.

Lastly, as a school garden we applied for the Level 2 of RHS Gardening Awards and are delighted to announce we have now been awarded this. To achieve this level, we had to provide evidence of the skills used to prepare soil, sow, plant and water cultivars. We have started to grow the plants and show we can use gardening tools safely. As a reward we will receive a RHS book packed with top tips and advice for gardening.

Keep an eye on our garden as it develops into an attractive and productive space.