If you’re looking for a delicious mid-winter dish, look no further. Our students were busy frying up some broccoli and broccolini. What’s the difference you ask? and how long do they take to grow? Ask your P-2 children and let’s see what they say. (It takes around 100 days to grow just one head of broccoli).
Throw in some bacon, chives, brown onion, garlic, snow peas, and fresh calendula petals and we are raising our noses high in the Kitchen Garden this season. We are blessed.
What happens if we don’t harvest broccoli? Broccoli is an unopened flower. Students were surprised by this idea. Broccoli that is left in the garden will open up into a beautiful bunch of yellow flowers. Bees simply adore it. They will help pollinate the flowers after which each plant will provide us with thousands of seeds. God is generous.
We have begun looking very closely at our new garden residents. Our delightful native bees, Tetragonula Carbonaria. They like to sleep in on these cool winter mornings, often not venturing out of the hive until after 12 pm. Several ‘guard’ bees dance around the entry, peering out into the garden. Uninvited guests will be covered in mud, wax, and resin. Our bees may not have a ‘stinger’, but they have strong ‘mandibles’ which are used like jaws.
The anatomy of our Tetragonula Carbonaria bees is very different from the European bees our children are more familiar with. No fuzzy, buzzing, yellow bodies here. Just black, tiny, fly-like, unassuming little creatures. Six legs, five eyes, and four wings. These native bees come and go quietly and peacefully from the safety of their timber box.
Using a pinecone as the body, children had the chance to craft their very own native bees this term. Some of them will be displayed around our garden space.
Students discovered how flowers can be pressed and used in crafting activities. Using an assortment of seeds, pods, bark, leaves, and pressed flowers, they have tried their hand at creating symmetrical artwork in the shape of our Native bees. Students are discovering the plethora of symmetrical shapes that can be found in nature. From spider webs to daisies, snowflakes, and butterflies.
Our beloved microscope is working overtime this term. Our fruit-fly traps containing apple-cider vinegar have managed to catch about eight flies so far. They are being studied under the microscope to see if they are male or female flies. Females contain an ‘ovipositor’ on their bottom. This is the part which they inject into our soft fruits and lay their eggs = maggots = pupae = more fruit flies.
Many petals and leaves are also being explored with our microscope. Nasturtium leaves are highly ‘hydrophobic’, meaning ‘water-fearing’. In this case, the leaf is covered in a waxy bumpy surface that traps air underneath any water which it may encounter. The water simply rolls off, leaving a dry surface.
This idea inspired some fun. Children have been testing their fine motor skills by using a pipette to place a droplet of water onto the leaves and then attempting to delicately pass the droplet to another nasturtium leaf being held by a partner. Other students were walking around the garden attempting to ‘balance’ their droplets. The entire nasturtium plant is edible. Students have enjoyed nibbling the spike on the back of the scarlet flowers to access the sweet-tasting nectar.
We have a new compost bay in the Kitchen Garden. We are hoping that by having our compost pile touching the soil (as opposed to being in a plastic compost tumbler) that we will attract more bacteria and worms to aid in the decomposition. Children are raking and collecting fallen leaves to add to our compost.
Children check in regularly with our worm farms. Harvesting the worm ‘tee’ in their watering cans and generously offering it to all our edible plants. The worm farm needs the bedding turned regularly and fresh food scraps added. Our Year 6 students have been helping to do this each week.
Our Cheesy Broccoli recipe is offered below. Do enjoy the rest of your winter!
Cheesy lemon broccoli with bacon
- Broccoli 2 heads
- Broccolini 1 bunch
- 10 Snow Peas
- Bacon 2 middle rashers
- Brown onion, 1
- Cannellini beans, 1 tin
- Garlic, minced 1 tbsp
- Olive oil, 1 tbsp
- Lemon zest 1 tbsp
- Lemon juice 2 tbsp
- Calendula petals, 1 flower
- Parmesan cheese, half cup (dairy)
- Chives, 1 handful
- Microgreens if available.
- Set aside lemons, microgreens, calendula, chives, and cheese.
- Slice all ingredients into bite-size pieces and add to the frypan with oil and garlic on medium heat, stirring for 7 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Zest and juice a lemon and add,
- Add calendula petals (Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Antioxidants & Lovely colours!)
- Add microgreens & chives
- Sprinkle on parmesan cheese.
***Check all allergens before serving (dairy)
Sit in the winter sun and enjoy!
Happy Gardening, Bless. Nicole Young, Kitchen Garden Coordinator