As the summer heat appears to be in decline, we are preparing to sow our winter vegetables. Snow Peas are shooting already; the seed sown from last year’s prosperous harvests. Cabbages and cauliflower seedlings will be planted, and we will begin to discover which pests will need to be kept at bay from the brassica species.
The children had a chance to taste some delicious Midyim Berries which are a popular Aboriginal bush tucker food. The white-speckled berries taste similar to a blueberry and can be eaten fresh, or used on pies or jams.
We will be planting cucamelons in the coming weeks. Also known as ‘mouse melons’ for their small grape-sized fruits which look like tiny watermelons and taste similar to a cucumber.
Our worm farms have finally been gaining momentum this term. We have been learning all about how a worm farm produces lovely nutritious ‘goodies’ for us to use in our garden, and how incredible worms are for recycling scraps from our kitchen. How to care for the worms, what they eat and don’t eat, and how to ensure they thrive in the worm bins we provide for them.
We also have a new addition to the garden. An ‘in situ’ worm bin. This is basically a large pail with a lid and some holes cut into the sides. We bury it into the soil with just the lid visible. Then we add some kitchen scraps and other organic materials such as dry leaves. The worms can enter the bin via the holes, party and eat at leisure, and exit again. The fun part is that the children can explore these busy worms anytime, by just opening the lid and peering inside.
Our eggplants have been somewhat… disappointing! Perhaps it was the variety? They are tiny and brown. We enjoyed cutting them open to see if their appearance was due to any nasties getting inside. Unfortunately, it appears they were sunburnt.
We have been amazed at how our ‘pots made of soil’ have been progressing using the wicking system we built. The children use a recycled cream jar as a mould to shape some soil ‘pots’. It looks much like a small sandcastle but it’s made of soil. The small castles sit upon an old towel, with part of the towel submerged in a large pail of water. The towel ‘wicks up’ the water and supplies the soil with the moisture it requires to germinate and begin to grow the seed we plant in the top of the castle. This has been a very successful experiment and we will continue to water our new seedlings this way.
The children have started to demonstrate their nifty knife skills. We’ve been learning how to hold a knife. How to use it safely and what can go wrong if we aren’t thoughtful. Ask your child if they could safely ‘hand a knife to you’ – hopefully, they will put it down on the bench and tell you that it’s ready for you to pick up.
Alongside our knife skills, we have been looking at germs. Where do they live? Which ‘doors’ do they use to get inside us? How can we attempt to prevent them from getting in? We have certainly heard many imaginative and interesting ideas surrounding these questions.
Knife skills and hygiene will continue to be a focus during Kitchen Garden this year.
Some useful and interesting videos on YouTube:
‘How many living things are in a drop of dirty water’ by Sci-Inspi.
‘Stop Germs from Spreading, wash your hands’ by Cincinnati children’s.
Pink Tuna Dip
This fortnight we made and tasted a Pink Tuna dip!
We combined 500g of cottage cheese with a small tin of tuna in oil, some chives freshly picked from the garden, and some beetroot (just for the pinkness!). I would say it was a hit, but you can ask your child what they thought.
Alongside the dip, we practised our knife skills by cutting up some vegetables into ‘sticks’ including Radish, Capsicum, Cucumber, Zucchini, Carrots, and Celery. Yes. Radish!. It was amazing to see how many adventurous children gave radish a go!
We also discussed if these ingredients grow under or on top of the ground.
You can view our adventures in the Kitchen Garden by checking out our YouTube videos. As always, you’re very welcome to join us in our Kitchen Garden classes each Tuesday.
Please see the office to volunteer your time.
Nicole Young, Kitchen Garden Coordinator
For more photos please click here