Learn to Grow 2015

 

Grow to Learn is an organisation which works with Primary Schools delivering food growing projects. The project is based at our local Hazelwell Allotments. Whilst completing the project, our children learn to sow, nurture, harvest and cook the food they produce.

 

Week One

The children met Mrs Smart and Mrs Frere, who know an awful lot about gardening! We learned about staying safe on the allotment including safe handling of tools and equipment.

We then planted seed potatoes and onions. We were very lucky as we had a glorious and warm afternoon for our first visit and the children had lots of fun!

 

Week Two

We had plenty of jobs to do this week on the allotment! Firstly we “earthed up” the potatoes. This meant we had to put a fresh layer of compost over the growing potatoes. They grow best when they have to push their way through the soil so we are hoping for a bumper crop of lovely potatoes later in the year.

Our second job was to plant pea plants. As they are climbing plants we built a structure for them out of canes and string so they can climb tall and straight.

Finally we did a terrific job of weeding a small plot so it`s ready for planting.

 

Week Three

We had another packed afternoon with plenty of jobs to do on the allotment. Firstly we put another layer of compost on our potatoes to ensure they continue to grow. We are already beginning to predict how many potatoes we may harvest in the Autumn!!

Next we sowed carrot seeds, planted runner beans and lettuce.

Finally we dug two trenches and planted some more seed potatoes. It will be interesting to see which way of growing potatoes is more successful. The final job of the afternoon was to water in our new plants.

 

Week Four

Mrs Lane had the pleasure of taking the Grow To Learn children this afternoon along with the expert gardeners Mrs Smart and Mrs Frere. The children planted pumpkins, French beans and beetroot during a very busy session. The potatoes had to be covered with soil which is called 'earthing up'. This, we learnt, prevents green potatoes forming. Once the new plants were planted the watering began! The children not only had a gardening lesson but also found and learnt about many garden creatures including frogs, spiders, ants and even a huge centipede!

Mrs Lane is now hoping for an invite to the tea party in the Autumn term when all the vegetables have been harvested and cooked!

 

Week Five

Our afternoon was non -stop! We planted tomato plants, peppers, radishes, spinach and mint. We also checked on our potatoes and carrots. Old CDs were tied to bits of string in order to act as a deterrent to the birds. They move in the breeze and glint in the sunshine and scare the birds away! We also spotted lots of tiny frogs in the allotment pond!

The final mammoth task of the afternoon was to water the seeds and plants. We filled the watering cans at least 5 times to ensure all the plants had a good drink.

Week Six

The best part of growing your own produce is eating it!!! We enjoyed the various lettuces we have grown on a cheese and salad cream sandwich – delicious!

We then harvested our potato crop much earlier than expected as there were signs of potato blight which makes the potatoes go soft. We still managed to count over 60 potatoes which surprised us all.

Our pea plants have grown well and we tasted peas straight from the pod. They were so sweet and fresh!

Other tasks included planting cucumber plants and kale as well as the never ending task of weeding around the crops.

Finally we worked together to make an amazing bird frightener using old compact discs, paper, fabric and scraps of art materials. The end result looked amazing and no birds will dare come near our plants.

In September we will have a full day harvesting our crops and then cooking them back at school. We can`t wait!

Session Seven

 

We had the best day ever!!! First we walked to the allotment and harvested all of our produce. We picked beans and dug up carrots, picked lettuce and radishes and apples from the tree. We picked spinach and dug up beetroot and shallots.

Back at school a hectic day of preparing and cooking commenced. Using our beetroot we made beetroot and lemon cupcakes. We grated apple to use in apple flapjacks. Using the carrots we made crunchy coleslaw and the potatoes went into an amazing potato salad and our potatoes, beans, shallots and spinach were used to make frittata. The shallots were also the main ingredient of delicious mini tarts.

After a hectic few hours of cooking our guests, (parents and carers) arrived! They thoroughly enjoyed the food we had prepared with perhaps the vegetable frittata and the beetroot and lemon cupcakes being the favourites. We were even asked for the recipes!

The whole experience of “Grow To Learn” has been fantastic and we can`t wait to start planting again in March with a different group of children.