Saturday, March 31, 2012

See how these capsicums grow!

The 'Garden Buds' are looking forward to harvesting their capsicum crop! A good discussion included the size, colour, shape of capsicums, how they can be prepared for eating and other members of the family, i.e. chillies!

Up the Garden Path!

Students are learning from experience the value of garden paths ... they can be disconnected stepping stones, patterns made from pavers, wind their way around garden beds or sometimes it is necessary to make your own path!


Strawberries and Lemons!

For families with a small amount of space at home it is a good idea to grow two edible plants together, i.e. strawberries under a lemon tree! The students are nominating the food they would like to eat with the lone lemon ... fresh fish is a popular choice! However the strawberries are destined to be eaten straight from the plant!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Garden Discoveries!

An exciting discovery in amongst the weeds and marigolds ... olives ... on one of the two olive trees! It is necessary to have at least two trees before fruiting occurs ... now the students are busy researching the necessary steps involved, in preparing the olives for eating! An even more exciting find for the students, was the discovery of a very placid grasshopper, happy to pose for a photo!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St Patrick's Day!

In 1699 a Sicilian monk called Franciscus Cupani sent seeds of the local wild sweet pea to his friend, English schoolmaster Dr Robert Uvedale. This was the beginning of a love affair between gardeners and sweet peas that continues to this day.
St Patrick’s Day, March 17, is the traditional date for sowing sweet peas in many parts of Australia, but this date should be regarded as a guide, not a law.
Hence students at two Parramatta schools, planted their sweet peas one day early, just in time for the rain!


Meanwhile, en route to Nano Cottage Kitchen Garden, the students noticed the new garden nearing completion at Nagle College farm ... the word is roses and olive trees are soon to be planted by the Nagle College agricultural students!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Year Six students get to the bottom of things!

Year Six students from St Michael's Primary Blacktown South, discovered that spinach has a huge root system and keeps on producing leaves even when it looks spent and lemons take their name from their colour ... warning ... do not eat lemons while they are still green!

Mountain Devils lead a PLC up the garden path!

On Wednesday 7 March, the Parramatta Learning Community (PLC) for Sustainability met at St Finbar’s Primary, Glenbrook to discuss learning opportunities for students around developing oral language skills through kitchen garden groups and environmental programs.
PLCs are widely used in the Parramatta diocese and have proven to be highly effective in improving student learning outcomes by improving teacher practice. They generally refer to a group of teachers, leaders and professionals who come together to work collaboratively around a specific learning or teaching focus - in this case the environment and sustainability - to share information and learning opportunities.

Students show the visitors what a Mountain Devil flower looks like!

Clare Maloney says that students are engaged when they can use their senses to learn
PLC members were impressed with the students' engagment with the program
PLC members were impressed at the students interest and ability to communicate about their plants. Picutred here with Catholic Earthcare action director, Luke Edwards
Students led a tour of their garden. Pictured here with Catholic Earthcare's, Luke Edwards

As part of the meeting, St Finbar’s students from the Mountain Devils kitchen garden group led the PLC members on a tour of their school grounds, discussing their plants and herb gardens along the way.
Itinerant communication teacher, Clare Maloney, from Catholic Education is very involved in the PLC and Kitchen Gardens in Schools program with a focus on how students can develop oral language skills in a naturalistic and social setting. She said the student led tour is a great example of social and oral language development.
‘The program provides benefits to all students, particularly those with specific oral language needs,’ said Clare. ‘I had members of the group marveling at the students’ knowledge, interest and ability to communicate what they were doing.'
‘Kitchen gardens provide an opportunity for hands on learning and when students can use all their senses – touch, feel, smell, see, hear – they are more engaged in their learning,’ she said.
Those present at the meeting included principals, teachers and coordinators from several Catholic schools across the diocese, as well as Zhan Patterson from Western Sydney Regional Organisaton of Council’s (WSROC) Water in the Landscape Project; Damien Feneley from Department of Education and Workplace Training (DET); Jennifer Plaskett, Western Sydney and Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health Districts; Luke Edwards, acting national director from Catholic Earthcare; and head of environmental education at Abbotsleigh Anglican School, Helen Watkins who all spoke to the group about programs, initiatives and learning tools that can be implemented in their teaching.
The next meeting of the Parramatta Learning Community for Sustainability will be held 13 June at St John’s Primary, Riverstone 2-4pm. Interested schools, educators, business and community leaders should contact Clare Maloney via email: 
More information about Kitchen Garden in Schools via:
Several members from various educational, government and organisations are part of the OPLC
Several members from various educational and government organisations are members of the PLC for Sustainability
when syudents use their sense they are enghaged
Catholic Education's, Clare Maloney says students need to use all their senses to balance indoor learning with outdoor learning

Monday, March 5, 2012

Pumpkin Possibilities!

At last the students from St Patrick's Primary, Blacktown can savour the delights of the kitchen garden, starting with a pumpkin harvest! It was discovered that pumpkins can be roasted, baked, fried, mashed, used as an ingredient for scones and best of all, soup can be made from them! That activity will happen later, but already students have made layered corn cracker sandwiches and willingly assisted with the wiping up ... so stayed tuned for more photos ... meanwhile, great activities are planned for the rest of the term and these should present the students and teachers with many more exciting challenges!

Kitchen Garden Activities-Term 1
·       Introducing the students to the Kitchen Garden area.
·       Harvesting of the present crops.
·       Weeding and preparing the garden beds for new seedlings.
·        Watering and maintaining the present tomato and marigold plants.
6 - 9
Begin new rotations. One rotation per group each week over the next 4 weeks.
1. Rose Cottage-Kitchen Garden sight word/Literacy activities (Nancy)
2. Tiling group (Robin)
3.Watering, planting, harvesting, composting, no-dig garden and general garden maintenance (Maria)
4. Cooking activity/recipes/working in the kitchen (Sue)
·       Garden Maintenance
·       Easter Egg Hunt
Early Finishers Activity
If groups finish their activity early, they can join the Garden Maintenance group & assist with watering, weeding, etc.
Wet Weather Activity
Story & Literacy activities, eg: cloze passages, sequencing, story maps, etc.