Our Kitchen Garden lessons are always designed with ‘purpose’ in mind.
Your children are bringing so much enthusiasm, excitement, and a natural curiosity for what’s happening here in our Kitchen Garden. My hope is to inspire them to grow their own foods, by teaching them simple skills that are easy to understand and easy to undertake themselves.
However, inspiration is more than just having the ability. It’s a ‘feeling’ that comes with the hands-on, adventurous, creative and playful nature of being in a garden. That ‘feeling’ is what we hope to encapsulate here, and what we hope your child will take with them on their journey ahead.
This month we talked about failure in the garden, and the children already knew that this was an important part of how we learn. Our snow pea that was growing in a small pot didn’t reach out with its tendrils and grab hold of the twig/stake as we had anticipated. We discussed what may have gone wrong and what we could do differently next time to help us succeed.
We explored some unusual roots which were alien-like, bulbous, and purple with funny spikes. I asked the children what they could be. The children were intrigued and we received some awesome guesses. Is it passionfruit? Is it a potato? An onion? I was not expecting the next question: Is it a dragon fruit? The extent of the children’s knowledge so far has astounded me. I feel so hopeful and encouraged that evidently, families are exposing their children to a diverse range of fruits and vegetables. Well done parents and carers!
The strange root was arrowroot! The children had never heard of an arrowroot biscuit, nor a Tim Tam for that matter! The funny-looking root can be used just like a potato and tastes much the same. The plant is actually a canna-lily with a red flower and will look very pretty growing in our garden this season.
Our strawberry bed is waking up. We should see fruit in two to three weeks. We explored the strawberry flowers and many children already knew that the flower is where the strawberry will grow once it is pollinated. We tried our hand at putting little netted bags (organza bags) over the flowers that were pollinated. We talked about the purpose of this, which is to protect the fruit from the Queensland fruit fly, which will attempt to lay their eggs inside our delicious soft fruits! Now we just need to hope the birds don’t find our strawberries!
In Week 3 we were blessed with two brand new hydroponic growing tables! What a treat! The children will be experimenting with this system, which uses recirculated nutrient water to grow vegetables. No soil in sight!
We’ve made a start on some microgreens. The children have been using chia seeds to grow in recycled strawberry punnets. We have been incorporating the harvests in our weekly recipes which you will find below.
The students have been deconstructing and reconstructing the insect netting house that we use to protect our brassicas from the white cabbage moth. They have shown excellent skill in this task, you will find some of the footage in our YouTube video below. Music: Groovy Funky Disco by Shane Ivers, used with permission.
We have discussed the materials being used, which include recycled plastic milk containers and bamboo stakes.
We used the milk containers to cut out plastic ‘moths’. These are used as decoys which are said to deter the moth from laying their eggs on our plants. They don’t like to lay eggs where there is already competition for food, and so the hope is that they will move on.
The children are marvelling at finding the very camouflaged snow peas amongst the foliage. These are in abundance now, with masses of lovely white pea flowers on show. The garden is slowly coming to life before our eyes.
Tristan J from 2W took great pride in planting one of our tromboncino plants. He made plans to visit and care for it each time he comes into the garden. These zucchini plants grow into a large vine and the unique fruits resemble a trombone, which I’m sure will fascinate.
Daniel M from 2G stopped me in my tracks by asking if we have any carnivorous plants, and proceeded to tell me all about them. Simply incredible and inspiring knowledge. Thanks Daniel!
Oscar G from 1M uncovered a centipede with about thirty fantastic BLUE legs! We marvelled at God’s creativity!
Asher L from 2M was all too keen to help with planting our spaghetti squash vine, and he did a masterful job at gently removing it from its pot.
A very very big thank you to Sarah and friends from 6M. Any spare moment they had, they helped us to cut out nearly 270 plastic moths over these past few weeks!
A huge thank you to Mrs Peters and her team in hospitality who have been collecting milk jugs for us to use in our program. Thank you!
Only half a month before spring is upon us and everything bursts into colour = bugs and flowers, hooray!
Volunteers are warmly welcome to join us in the kitchen garden every Tuesday – please contact the office.
Please enjoy our recipes for this month:
Strawberries salad with Chia Microgreens.
Chia Microgreens, a handful
1 fresh orange sliced, and a squeeze of the orange juice (citrus)
100g feta (dairy allergen)
3 tbsp pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1 tbsp chia Seeds
1 calendula flower (edible petals)
Slice all ingredients into 2cm pieces.
Add seeds and flower petals.
Combine all ingredients and enjoy.
Snow Peas with garlic mushrooms.
1tbs Olive Oil
Snow peas, a large handful
1tbs garlic, minced
Chia Microgreens, a handful
1 calendula flower (petals)
Salt & pepper, to taste
In a medium pan, add olive oil and minced garlic.
Cut snow peas into 1cm pieces and slice mushrooms. Add to the pan.
Sautee for 3 minutes
Just before serving, add microgreens and flower petals.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Nicole Watts, Kitchen Garden Coordinator