The children at Cannons Creek School have been enjoying time in the garden, discovering the fun of growing their own food and using their harvests to create culinary delights in the kitchen through the Garden to Table programme. Below they share their recent garden and kitchen experiences with their latest autumn garden diary.
The Garden to Table programme has been going for two full years. Three Cannons Creek School classes participate - one Year 4 class and two Year 5/6 classes. The garden specialist is Alison Kurukaanga.
Cannons Creek has a great team of volunteers that come along each week and take small groups of children in the garden and in the kitchen.
The garden has had a glut of tomatoes, herbs, spinach, cucumber and zucchini after the summer holidays so we have been busy in the kitchen making delicious meals from these ingredients.
A day in the garden at Cannons Creek School
We had a beautiful day to garden today - sunny and mild with very little wind. It’s getting cooler in the mornings now but the days are still marvellous! It was also room 5’s first ever kitchen session so it was extra special.
Today we all worked really hard and accomplished a lot of valuable garden work. We were busy sowing, planting and transplanting, collecting mulch and composting, feeding and watering. This was amazing as we only had one volunteer - and she was fantastic!
The session began with a demonstration of sowing seed and a reminder about what three things seeds need to survive - Warmth, Air, Moisture (W.A.M!). When I asked who remembered what germination was Kingston knew the answer. We talked about buying seed (which costs money) and collecting seed from plants (for free!) which have ‘gone to seed’. For this we checked out our coriander and harvested some seed in a paper bag. We will let this dry out before storing in our little paper seed bags made last year by room 5.
After this we sowed more spinach in trays and later onions. Jahna was able to work out the dates of germination for the spinach when told it would take 14-21 days and won a prize for her quick thinking. Later we sowed onion seed. We covered the seed tray with wet newspaper.
Ms Leuluai took some of the children to sow more carrot seed in garden 1. The beetroot sown there by Ms Leuluai and Room 5 three weeks ago has germinated and is growing well. It was so good to see the results of their hard work. The parsnips sown opposite in the same garden don’t seem to have germinated so they weeded and dug another shallow trench to sow the carrots. These are a really colourful variety which the children love - yellow, purple, white and the usual orange! They mixed the carrot seed with sand to help them see it in the rows and marked the place with string and bamboo canes. They should germinate in 10-21 days.
There were lots of little plants coming up, including calendula in garden 1 . They transplanted these around the edges of the garden. After that job it was over to sow more beetroot seed in garden 5. The earliest seed sown some weeks back hasn’t appeared yet. There are seedlings appearing now sown two weeks ago. Ms Leuluai’s team sowed in between the gaps. Next this busy hard working team dug over the edges of the garden along the back fence. They learnt how to put their spades and forks along the edge and dig over the soil. It looks great!
Helen L and her team went to collect sawdust from the park next to the school. We had spotted the sawdust last week on our walk to gather mulch. It was hard work collecting it but they all worked really well. Angie said she loved every minute of it and was keen to keep going. The rest of the crew were very keen too, so it was off to the compost and more tough work! They added grass from the mower, food scraps and coffee grounds to the mix.
I took some of the children to plant out some seedlings in garden 2. We planted spinach, pak choy and lettuces. The plants are all watered in and fed with wee tea. We noticed that the brassicas under the nets had no holes from caterpillars but the ones with no covering were full of holes. Later we planted some mint among them to see if it helps stop the hungry and annoying white butterflies from laying eggs on the plants.
Our meal for lunch was delicious - herb and sunflower seed pesto stirred through freshly cooked pasta and served with a tomato, spinach, cucumber and herb (basil, mint, parsley, chives) salad with homemade vinaigrette. The schools are lucky to receive Village Press olive oil, which makes these dishes particularly tasty! After our yummy food in the kitchen the class came back out into the garden. There was lots of watering by everyone as the ground was dry. Some of the kitchen team came and helped to replant the strawberries which needed re-doing as they were coming out of the ground. They planted them more deeply. Some of these plants are looking a bit tired and thirsty so students watered them.
It was a very productive and fun day in the garden - well done to the students!
Photos courtesy of Cannons Creek School and Pat from One Percent Collective.
Tui & Garden to Table
We are excited to be supporting Garden To Table as our school programme this year. Garden to Table is a trust, which runs a gardening and cooking programme in schools across New Zealand. As participants in the Garden to Table programme, seven to 10 year-old children spend time in a productive vege garden and home-style kitchen each week. There they learn skills that will last them a lifetime, and discover just how much fun it is to grow and cook their own seasonal vegetables and fruits.
Tui is providing starter packs to each of the new schools, and seasonal packs during the year.