Welcome to our last term of 2022!
Our lovely new Hydroponic tables are pumping out some green goodies. The lettuce and celery are looking super healthy and will be utilized in our Ham and Salad Rice Paper Roll recipe. The children have had fun soaking the rolls, filling them with various offerings from the garden, and then trying their hand at rolling them up. They really did a wonderful job! Many children asked if the rice paper rolls were edible. This gave us a smile. We assured them that these are made from rice flour, not plastic as the texture suggests. With the addition of some ham and french dressing, they went down a treat.
The children have been increasingly keen to lead us in our prayer before every tasting. It’s beautiful to see their growing confidence and ease within our school community.
We have been learning about the role of ‘pollen’ this term, and the purpose of pollination.
The children were provided with examples of two different flowers, a strawberry, and a zucchini flower. We examined the male and female parts and discussed the various ways pollination could occur.
Then we looked at what happens after pollination (fruit and/or seed production) and then the ways in which seed is dispersed so new generations of a plant species can continue.
We are also talking about ‘why’ bugs visit plants in the first place.
I encourage you to ask your children questions about what they are learning each week in the Kitchen-Garden class, I bet their knowledge will surprise you! They surprised me!
Our two zucchini plants are already fruiting! They have been covered with netting because the fruit fly simply adores these soft, fleshy fruits as a lovely place to lay their larvae. Now they are netted, insects will not have access to pollinate them for us. This was a dilemma. The children came up with a solution: Hand pollination!
We were incredibly lucky to have a male zucchini flower and a female zucchini flower on show at the same time in weeks two and three. This gave the children a first-hand look at the differences in the structure of these flowers, and we even hand-pollinated them by gently moving the pollen from the male flower onto the female flower with our finger. This is the process by which a zucchini fruit will begin to develop.
Zucchini plants are hugely productive and many children will have a chance to harvest them this term.
A number of flowers don’t quite ‘make it’. Some Zucchini and Pumpkin flowers fall off onto the soil. The children have been excitedly finding and opening up the fallen flowers to reveal if they are boy or girl flowers!
Snails seem to be finding their way into our garden this month, hiding amongst the shrubs and under objects. The children are SO good at spotting them! We take the snails for a little walk, away from our garden space so they don’t indulge.
You may notice a new teepee in the middle of our garden space with a few wires leading to garden beds. Ideally, this will be the grow space for many different climbing-bean varieties and colors.
The children have discovered how quickly radishes can grow (within 5 weeks) and how fun they are to find and pluck out of the soil. The peppery taste of them raw wasn’t appreciated, but it was rather fun to observe their reactions.
Some students have had the chance to ‘prick out’ some developing seedlings. Testing their fine motor skills, they are tasked with ever-so-gently removing a seedling from the soil without damaging its delicate root systems. This has been done with some flower (zinnia) seedlings and then placing them into our hydroponic system as a trial.
We are so blessed with this amazing space and it is being thoroughly enjoyed by all.
Please enjoy this month’s Kitchen-Garden recipes:
Corn and Zucchini Fritters
The recipe makes approx 30 fritters.
2 large Zucchini, grated
1 Handful Garlic Chives, chopped
Half cup Corn, kernelled
A handful of chopped mint
A handful of chopped –
rainbow chard stems and leaves! (aka silverbeet).
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese (dairy)
2 eggs (allergen)
1/2 cup plain flour (gluten, wheat)
1 tsp baking powder
A lemon (optional, for serving)
Grate Zucchini, chop chard, mint, and chives.
Add all to a bowl.
In a separate bowl,
Add flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper.
Whisk eggs and add to the bowl, mix to form a batter.
Add all chopped ingredients to the batter + corn kernels, and mix.
Cook in a hot frying pan for a few minutes on both sides.
Check all allergens before serving. (Dairy, Egg, Gluten, wheat, Maize, Citrus).
Serve hot or cold with a squeeze of lemon (optional). Enjoy.
Salad and Ham Rice Paper Rolls.
30 Rice paper rolls (1 per student)
1 Large Red Capsicum, sliced into long strips
2 Large Carrots, cut into strips using a vegetable peeler
1 Large Cucumber cut into thin sticks
4 Spring Onions, thinly sliced
Lettuce, large handful, cut into strips
Parsley, handful chopped
300g Ham, sliced into thin pieces.
2 tbsp French dressing (contains soy)
Prepare all ingredients by chopping as suggested above.
Add French dressing to the bowl of chopped cucumber, instead of squirting it directly onto the rolls.
Soak the rice paper roll (1 at a time) in the hot water for 15-20 seconds or until it is soft and flexible.
Gently shake off the excess water, and place it directly on the table surface.
The roll will not stick together if it’s sopping wet.
Neatly place the chopped ingredients in the centre of the roll.
Firmly hold and fold one side over your ingredients.
Then fold in the left side, then the right, then roll. (you may wish to google this method!)
Enjoy them on their own or with a dipping sauce such as soy sauce, sweet and sour, or mayonnaise.
Enjoy Term 4! It’s going too quickly!
Nicole Young, Kitchen Garden Coordinator
You can see all the photos here (without having to click on Pixevety first!)