We filled pots and planted seeds
We planted some of the seedlings in the foundation unit bed. We do a group every Tuesday in term time. Groups of 5 children join the session every 3 weeks or so so every one gets a chance to join in if they want. We feel that if we plant the enjoyment of growing when young it sticks!
Our first funding was from the Co-op Community fund. We bought a compost ball with it. Our hope was that it would combine composting with exercise....but it was very heavy when full, and very hard to roll around even for the adults in the group. The children did enjoy opening it up to see what was inside though!
WE pushed and pushed and rolled and rolled! The compost rolled out a few times because we hadn't put the lid on properly!
WE emptied the ball, and sieved the contents. None of the children wanted to help with this!! It was hard work but we got some great compost. Anything that as too big was put back into the ball to rot down further.
Unfortunately there was a lot of rubbish put in the bin...this is just a small amount. We are hoping in future to get funding to develop the composting side of the project as there are a lot of educational opportunities involved and it will help towards the projects long term sustainability. Reminder....Tetra milk cartons do not compost! Neither do plastic straws!
SCARECROWS! We designed scarecrows on rainy days
We made them during the holidays and positioned them around the school. Some were even wearing school uniform.
The bulbs were dug up and transplanted into pots. The ground was then covered with cardboard. The first layer was the peelings collected by the school. It mainly consisted of fruit, in particular oranges! You can also see the children emptying bags of horse manure on top!
The children then spread manure collected from a local stable on top. This was followed by a layer of leaves, and shredded paper. Then another layer of newspaper and cardboard, and the layers again repeated. Finally many donated bags of compost was spread on top!
The children in the foundation unit had made bunting for the bed, painting pictures of their favourite fruit, vegetables and flowers. As school was closed for most of April due to Easter holidays, we left the bed to settle, and started to work with the children in May 2011. We used a bulb planter to cut through the layers of cardboard to make our planting holes.
We became a community group for two reasons. Firstly, we wanted to be part of the wider growing community in Leeds, as opposed to a school group. Secondly, we had no money, no pots, seeds, compost or equipment!
After our first meeting in Summer 2010, we had our first activity day in the Autumn of 2010. The Bracken Edge PTA donated £70 to the group to buy a few hand tools and Spring bulbs, which we planted around the school grounds. We planted tulips, daffodils, crocuses and snowdrops. Over 30 parents and children came to help out and add a splash of colour to the school.
WE then identified our first area to give a make over to. A large brick raised bed by the school entrance gate. For many years this had been neglected. The bulbs no longer flowered under the compacted soil which had been jumped on over many years by the pupils at the school.
As we had no money, we started to approach local businesses for support. Lidl gave us a £30 donation and our local garden centre "Strikes" agreed to donate ripped bags of compost and grow bags, over 40! Alas Strikes is no more.
We decided to use the bed to demonstrate how gardening did not have to be expensive or involved fancy equipment and tools. We help a Lasagne Bed Day in late February 2010. Along with the ripped compost bags, we collected leaves from the local park and woods, shredded paper form local offices, manure from a local stable,cardboard and newspaper, animal bedding, in particular guinea pig and chicken manure from a local neighbour, and vegetable and fruit peelings from the school community.