Our school allotment was relaunched and overseen by Mrs Southwell in October half term 2020. It was overgrown and in desperate need of being revamped and loved once again. Mr Smith contributed a lot of time to helping redevelop the area, making it safe for pupils to access. He made new raised beds, assembled a new garden room from wood donated from a local business and created new steps to access this space.
Back in 2020, this was the allotment..
Thankfully, our blog continues to showcase the fabulous achievements and progress we have made since then. Pupils at Brooke Hill have the opportunity to contribute to the growing and maintenance of a small allotment on the school site and is a collaborative project to support the development of pupil leadership within school through our eco council and school gardening club.
Pupils are involved in planning, growing and maintaining the allotment. We hope to seek further opportunities to share our progress within school and the local community, in addition to this blog.
New for September 2021 is a newly fenced off area to create an eco garden beside the allotment. We aim to promote the importance and value of nature and wildlife within our school grounds. Pupils will continue to have responsibility and ownership over this new project.
Autumn 2: Pop-up Cookery session to make pasta sauce using tomatoes from our allotment
Autumn 2: Repotting classroom plants
Autumn 1: Filling the raised beds, weeding & collecting tomatoes. We also hosted a mini tomato sale after school to sell some of the extra produce we have grown.
Autumn 1: Little Explorers Session- Potter in the allotment
Welcome back! During Autumn 1 our KS2 Gardening club have been busy harvesting our crop and maintaining our school allotment.
Tomatoes collected today and given to our Kitchen staff to use in school meals.
We will be researching ways in which to ripen tomatoes
Digging up the last of our potatoes
We're making a frame around one of our raised beds.
Preparing and covering the raised bed.
The weeds protected the rhubarb well, but its time to clear them now!
July: Beetroot harvesting & selling
Selling our beetroot at the school summer fair.
July: Using onions from the allotment in our school meals
Earlier in the term, we harvested our onions...
...and gifted them to the school kitchen staff to use in our school lunches.
July: Working with the ELSA team: Strawberry picking
June: Birch Class on the search for snack!
We visited the allotment to pick strawberries for our morning snack
June: KS2 gardeners strawberry picking & watering the bee meadow
June: Birch Class (Reception): Jobs at the allotment
Working together to build a bean frame
A donation of tomato plants
sprinkling wildflower seeds to grow our 'bee meadow'.
building a frame to protect the strawberries from birds
June: Promoting biodiversity at the allotment
May: Eggshell crushing & weeding
Mrs Castle and Ms Clarke have been saving egg shells from our school kitchen and drying them out in the greenhouse. Today, we crushed the shells and we will sprinkle them around our salad plants to deter snails and slugs.
May: Thank you!
One of our keen School Gardeners donated some tomato plants to the allotment to grow
May: School Gardening Club- Planting beetroot and leek plants
May: RHS 'Grow Well' initiative
A collaboration between the School Gardening Club and the Wellbeing Ambassadors to take part in the new RHS Grow Well initiative 2022. We have been gifted 100 calendula seeds (potted marigold) as part of the initiative to highlight and share the wellbeing benefits of planting and being involved in nature. With some additional Year 5s and 6s, all the seeds have been planted and are being taken care of. The aim will be to plant the potted marigolds around school to create memories and in recognition of our participation in the initiative.
On Thursday after school, our School Gardening club hosted a strawberry plant sale to raise money for the allotment and eco-garden. They successfully raised £12.50 and will have responsibility of spending the money on seeds, compost and other garden items. Thank you to everyone who was able to support.
April: Collecting grass cuttings
Reception children have been collecting grass cuttings from the school playing field to put in to our new compost bins.
Thank you to Mr Smith for repurposing some wood to make new compost bins for the allotment area.
April: Planting potatoes & emptying the old compost heap
The school gardening club have been busy putting the last of the compost on to the raised bed, which is almost ready to be planted with seasonal vegetables.
The potatoes have gone through the chitting process and have been planted in the tyres.
April: Removing the compost
The lunchtime gardening club have been emptying and dismantling the old compost bins. Mr Smith has been busy constructing a new compost bin and wheelbarrow store, which will sit in the footings of the previous bins. The young gardeners were curious to see the different layers of compost and the discovery of many worms created great excitement!
KS2 School Gardening Club
March: Little Gardeners, session 1
Exploring the potato chitting process.
Using collected rainwater to water allotment plants
March: Finishing off the Pre-School raised bed
KS2 School Gardening Club
March: World Book Day 2022: Making seed envelopes
Using Origami to make an envelope
These are our completed origami seed envelopes
Counting out 5 beans
Adding the instructions
Linked to their topic of 'Let it grow', Reception children's World Book Day was themed around 'Jack and the Beanstalk'. Reception children enjoyed making their own origami seed envelopes to take home their 5 beans to grow at home.
March: Pre-School Raised Bed Mini Project
We have moved away from the Eco-garden for our next mini project and are focusing our attention on the Pre-School raised bed. We will be preparing the ground and planting some annual plants. There will then be space left for Pre-School children to plant their own bulbs and make it their own.
KS2 School Gardening Club
February: Worm Hunt and Investigation
Twanging describes placing a garden fork in the ground and rocking it backwards & forwards
Using garden equipment safely
We tried a mini worm dance (feet stamping) to encourage the worms nearer to the surface
How many worms can we spot?
Having a closer look at the worms
Reception children went on a worm hunt this week, linked to their focus story of 'Superworm'. Children have been learning how worms help keep soil healthy; and counting how many worms they can find within different areas of the school grounds.
The children learned some new techniques to encourage worms to come closer to the surface including:
--> a 'worm dance' where children stamped their feet for a minute over the ground they were going to dig
--> 'twanging' which involved putting a garden fork into the ground and rocking it forwards and backwards for a few minutes
-->habitat spotting- so looking for where they think worms are most likely to be living
--> going outdoors just after it had been raining proved to be very successful.
All the worms were returned safely to the ground and any earth disturbed was put back as they found it.
Children's Mental Health Week celebrated as a whole school with 'Plant a Bulb Day' 2022
Our whole school 'Plant a Bulb Day' to support Children's Mental Health Week 2022. More pictures on the Eco-Schools blog.
RHS School Gardening Award Level 2 achieved!
Congratulations Gardening Club & Eco-Council on your achievement!
February: Last Gardening session before half term
Digging a hole for lavender
We are using cardboard to supress the grass and weeds beneath.
Beetle pledge: Thanks to Year 2 for making a beetle home
Planning/arranging the different coloured heather plants
Planting a hebe near our new tree
Wedding the bed where the wildflower seeds will be scattered
January: Our younger pupils visited the Allotment and Eco-garden this morning..
Identifying herbs through smell
Wondering which beetles may like to live here...
Looking at the compost
Checking on the rhubarb
January: Sakura Cherry Tree Project: Celebrating our friendship with Japan
The Lord-Lieutenant of Rutland delivered a speech during the celebration
Members of the Eco-council helped water our newly planted tree
...and checked the wind wouldn't be able to blow it over..
We received 1 of 7000 trees gifted through the Sakura Cherry Tree Project
Kind Donation from Nurture Landscapes
A kind donation from Nurture Landscapes, organised by Mr Pugh, of some propagators and hand trowels. They'll be incredibly useful, thank you.
Eco Garden: Deciding what to grow
One of the School Gardening club members wrote a list of suggestions for herbs to grow.
January: Developing our Eco Garden
Levelling the pathways around the raised beds
Turning the soil to make room for herbs
Using gardening equipment safely.
Mr Smith has secured branches to mark out pathways and raised beds.
October: The tidy up
Mr Smith has attached guttering to our garden room to collect more rain water
The leeks are looking like they'll be ready to be made in to soup after half term.
Some of the beds are being cleared ready to be used in spring.
Fingers crossed we can make rhubarb crumble next year...
September: Making a vegetable casserole
"We've got 28 beans"
Counting the tomatoes
Our vegetables casserole, ready for cooking
This term, Birch and Blossom class's enrichment activity is cooking. We have been exploring where our food comes from and how to prepare it for eating. We visited the allotment to pick some beans and tomatoes to put in our vegetable casserole, along with a few other vegetables. It was great fun and went down very well!
Summer holidays: Elsewhere in the allotment
Mr Smith has been tremendously busy in the allotment too. Amongst all the other jobs he has completed over the holidays in and around school, Mr Smith has also put the roof on our new garden room shed and constructed a narrow raised bed for pupils to grow herbs. It looks fantastic- thank you!
A huge thank you to everyone who has been onsite during the summer holidays to ensure the allotment is maintained ahead of pupils returning next week. It's a hugely appreciated.
Summer holidays: The raised beds are looking busy...
Summer holidays: Mini munch in the greenhouse...
The mini munch seeds planted by Year 1 pupils during the summer term are ready for harvest when pupils return next week.
Just as the summer holidays have begun: Our first courgette
Our first courgette was harvested only 3 days after school closed for the summer holidays as it wasn't quite ready on our last day. The children did such a wonderful job of nurturing the growth of all the fruits, vegetables and plants in the allotment this year. Congratulations to everyone on the achievements and a huge thank you to everyone who has contributed in making our allotment this academic year successful.
July 2021: Bean harvesting during Golden time
With thanks to Mrs Moss for donating some rhubarb which will sprout during the next season
July 2021- Signs of growth in the allotment
A huge thank you to Mr Smith who has been incredibly busy constructing our new garden room building using wood donated from William Hercock Ltd... picture to follow...
June 2021: Courgette plant donation
June 2021: Strawberry picking
Using egg shells to deter slugs and snails
Science in the allotment: growing beans...
Post lockdown tidy up of the allotment
Some new additions to the garden..
A twist on the traditional game noughts and crosses
A familiar character from a popular young infants book
A beautiful donation received this week.. link to their Facebook page can be found on our social media page.
A kind donation from local business 'Molly & Maisie' based in Melton Mowbray.
Our year 6 pupils have been busy again, this time clearing the weeds off the vegetable bed.
Mr Smith has also been busy repurposing wood to create a much larger raised vegetable bed over the original one. Amazing work! You may have also noticed the tyres have been repurposed and attached to the fence- we are hoping this will become a 'bug hotel' and that our year 1 pupils will be able to help with this.
Unfortunately not the ones with chocolate chips.
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