Environment & Gardening

Wildlife

Wildlife is very important to us at the school and we try to encourage the children to learn about and understand the natural world we live in. Wildlife plays a vital role in our gardens and without many of the creatures that live around us, we would not have the ability to grow very much at all! Many of the children love finding the various insects and invertebrates that live in our gardens. Whilst digging out weeds in gardening club we found lots of earthworms which the children enjoyed gently examining and then returning carefully to the ground. Often we find woodlice, centipedes, earwigs and many other mini beasts living in our soil. These may seem creepy to some but they are responsible for keeping our soil fertile and getting rid of the buildup of leaves and other organic material. We also find lots of things living above the ground, bees are great example of an insect we simply couldn’t live without. Through our gardening methods we try to encourage as much wildlife as possible to our gardens by planting things that attract pollinators and also by providing safe homes for them to live in.

Last summer the gardening club helped us to create a mini wildlife area designed to encourage as many different creatures as possible. We made a mini bug hotel, a mini wildlife pond and a small drinking pool for insects and birds to cool down on a hot day. We also planted wild flowers to provide food. We try and think about wildlife throughout our gardens and we have learned how to be kind to nature.

Rockery

In the Autumn term we created a rockery on our large granite rock at the front of the school. We wanted to encourage biodiversity and add a new attractive feature to the area.

Gardening club helped to create the feature one lunchtime. We started by placing the larger stones around the rock, thinking about where best to place them to help prevent the soil from falling off the sides. We then added a layer of gravel to help with drainage. Once the gravel was spread out we covered it with compost which we spread out across the surface. It was then time to add the plants. We have used succulent plants that are very hardy and easy to grow in difficult places. These will spread to fill up the space and some will grow to hang down over the sides of the granite rock.

We built the soil up in places to ensure all the plants roots were well covered and made sure the plants were well spaced out. The finishing touch was to add another layer of gravel. This not only makes it look nicer, but also helps to prevent weeds from growing. It will also help keep the soil on the surface of the rock, preventing it from being washed away by watering the plants or the rain.

Growing and Harvesting

In the Spring and Summer terms all the children in the school planted fruit and vegetable seeds. We grew these on in our gardens with the children’s help and in the Autumn term we were able to harvest what we grew.
Some of our seeds were planted in pots and grown inside our polytunnel where it is warmer and others could be directly planted in the ground. The children used lots of skills, learning to prepare the ground, measuring spacing and depth, counting the seeds, caring for the plants and also learning how to identify different parts of a plant. They also learned about which parts of different plants you can and can’t eat.
We had lots of lovely fresh crops, year 6 used theirs to make some yummy soup. We will soon be starting our planting again and hoping to have even more lovely fresh food. If any parents/Grandparents or other relatives have things they like to grow and would like some space to do so please get in touch with Miss Homer. We have our community garden which we would love parents to use as well as lots of other spaces around the school site.