Building an organic kitchen garden
Resource: Case study
Crondall primary school in Hampshire joined the Food for Life Partnership as a flagship school in 2009 and has achieved Gold. Around 200 students attend the school, which is located in the heart of Crondall village.
What they've achieved
Crondall primary school has its very own organic garden thanks to the collaborated efforts of head teacher Megan Robinson, Garden Organics’ Paul Sadler and parents. A group of volunteer parents drew up a design for the garden, complete with raised beds, potting shed and greenhouse, allowing plenty of room for wheelbarrows and children. The school then looked to the National Lottery for funding and was delighted when it was awarded a small ‘local food’ grant.
After that, there was no stopping them. Volunteer parents used a small digger to level the site, before hauling in untreated oak sleepers to make raised beds. The heavy clay soil had to be sieved through by hand to get rid of the stones and rubble, and a good layer of horse manure worked in. Concrete foundations were laid for the potting shed, tool shed and greenhouse, and four large compost bins were built to accommodate organic waste from the garden, kitchen, classrooms and staffroom. For the final touch, heavy gauge weed matting and a thick layer of wood chips made up the paths, and a local firm was brought in to build the chain link fence.
What they say
A representative at the school said,
“Blackcurrant and gooseberry bushes, strawberry plants, raspberry canes and rhubarb were all planted by the children in the autumn, along with apple and plum trees which have been espaliered against the chain link fence. Crondall primary school is a flagship school and we are very keen to promote healthy living. We are willing to share our experience with anyone who is interested in starting a garden, or who would like to visit the school, or simply like further information on the garden that we have made.”
The difference it makes
Each year has been allotted a bed and a vegetable family, and children have already had a hand in planting seeds. By the time they reach Year 6, they will have planted vegetables from all families and their beds will have benefited from crop rotation. There was even enough money left over to employ two gardeners on job share, and they have been ‘highly successful’ in teaching the children about plants, organic growing techniques, composting and the environment. There’s also talk of selling excess produce to the local community, but only after the children have savoured their hard earned efforts.