Project managed by Richard Smith, ‘Growing Together’ was formed in April 2016.
The aim of the scheme is to:
- Show the children where fruit and vegetables come from as well as how to grow them from seed to crop.
- Teach pupils how to maintain their crops by using the correct feeds and fertilizers.
- Educate pupils how to care for their plants using both watering can and irrigation systems.
Through our ‘Growing Together’ scheme, we want to inspire and support children and adults to grow food and flowers by focusing on raised bed and container gardening. We hope to enable pupils and adults to recognise that being a producer of food is simple, fun, and rewarding. We also hope to see the transformative experience that gardens can have on participating individuals and families.
Our intention is to share our school grounds at no cost with all people who are interested in growing food, while continuing to enable the pupils at Dove Bank to plant and maintain the garden on a weekly basis.
How it started…
We made a start in Summer 2016 … our newly refurbished garden contained some raised beds, a polytunnel, a wild flower area and an orchard and large soft fruit patch to give the school a constant supply of fruit for the children to pick themselves. Mr Smith had got big plans!
Why is the project so important?
We feel that the community garden project is a brilliant idea as it enables children to grasp gardening skills at a young age and encourages them to question, understand and appreciate their environment.
As a natural and sustainable resource, the project will offer huge benefits to their pupils across all areas of the curriculum, but importantly also in supporting children’s social and emotional development.
Not only do we believe that the project provides opportunities for increasing scientific knowledge and understanding, and improving literacy, numeracy and oracy, but it will improve pupils’ confidence, resilience and self-esteem.It will give them a sense of responsibility, and foster positive behaviour, particularly for those with behavioural and learning difficulties.
We hope that the project will make pupils stronger, more active learners capable of thinking independently and adapting their skills and knowledge to new challenges at school and in future. We also hope that they will gain a more resilient, confident and responsible approach to life so they can achieve their goals and play a positive role in society. They will learn vital job skills such as presentation skills, communication and team work, and fuel their entrepreneurial spirit.
As the project develops, we hope to be able to open our own nursery so that pupils can then learn to perfect their business skills by selling produce and items such as hanging baskets, to members of the local community.
Through our ‘Growing Together’ scheme, children will have the opportunity to grow crops and then use the harvested fruit and vegetables to make jams, pies and soups with, thereby helping them to understand the importance of a healthy diet.
We hope pupils will embrace a healthier, more active lifestyle as an important tool for success at school and beyond.
We have had help from a number of amazing companies who have donated hardware, landscaping materials and plants. We’d like to say a massive ‘Thank You’ for your incredible support…
Latest News …
Summer Term 2017
Lots of plants have been growing in the polytunnel during the Summer Term… courgettes, tomatoes and spinach to name a few. Outside, the potatoes and beans were thriving.
The wildflowers sown in October looked lovely.
During the holidays, Richard and Emma put the new shed up and added some super lettering to the fence ‘Growing Together’. The gate is due to be constructed soon.
We were delighted to have won two awards at the NEC’s Gardener’s World event in June: ‘Best Primary School’ and ‘People’s Choice’ for our meal in a wheelbarrow entry.
The veg trugs look great and lots of new herb pots have been attached to the fence by Class 3 to create another living wall.
Spring Term 2017
The last couple of month have been very busy at Growing Together.
We have been preparing the bulbs, polytunnel and our super new veg trug area, which will form part of our salad, herb and edible flower garden.
We have also plumbed in our water tanks, kindly donated by Straight and Whitefurze.
We started our compost bins ready for next year’s compost.
Our bulbs have come to life and have really brought some wonderful colour to the school grounds. The turning circle looks fantastic now!
We have grown cabbage, parsnips, broccoli, chard and over 300 runner bean plants, to name just a few.
We will be planting onion, garlic, shallots and potatoes soon.
We have also propagated 200-300 pumpkin plants.
The potted plants in the mini-tunnels are beginning to show signs of life.
We will hopefully be building a runner bean tepee in the next few weeks, as well as an irrigation system, kindly donated by Irrigatia.
Our pond has been cleared to encourage the frogs to produce their frogs spawn. We have started our fruit patch which will be completed by the end of May.
Autumn Term 2016
During September, we have enjoyed harvesting the tomatoes and courgettes. Class 1 grew a huge pumpkin in their vegetable patch! Gardening Club members have also been busy weeding the raised beds, composting leaves and picking up any litter from the school grounds.
To celebrate Harvest, we invited parents into school for the day to take part in a variety of activities inspired by our wonderful ‘Growing Together’ Garden Project.
We made Vegetepals out of a wonderful range of fruit and veg and created a ‘Walled Garden’ out of planted plastic bottles. We had great fun planting Spring bulbs and Winter bedding plants. We also set seeds for a wildflower garden.
Pupils in Key Stage 1 did food tasting with lots of different fruit and vegetables. Using a range of Autumnal ingredients, we cooked a range of items, including flapjack, bread, pear muffins and soup.
Class 4 made Pot Men and painted the boat, which will be filled with plants.
We couldn’t plant the onion sets as mice had been into the storage area and nibbled them!