Belmont's Kitchen Garden Project - The first year
We started our garden project in September 2018. In just one school year we have managed to transform our unused concrete car park into a space where our pupils can grow, learn and enjoy nature. Working through the RHS School Gardening Awards has helped to guide our journey and we are incredibly proud to have been awarded Level 5. Regular updates can be found on our dedicated garden twitter feed @KitchenGardenW4
Here is a summary of what we got up to each month in our very first year - to show how we went from car park to garden.
Our old car park is being transformed into a garden classroom. The aim is to provide our pupils with a natural environment where they can grow fruit and vegetables. The food produced will then be cooked by the children in Forest School and served in our canteen. Outdoor learning has been shown to improve well-being and we hope to use the space for other outdoor leaning activities such as reading, art and science. Our EYs and KS1 classes are named after fruits (apples, apricots etc.) and we hope to grow all of these in the garden - banana and orange will be a challenge! Our KS2 class trees are going to be grown in the Forest School area. We have been successful in achieving the Level 1 school gardening award from the RHS. Level 1 is about showing commitment to developing a space for gardening.
Below are the plans for our garden project. They are a guide and are subject to change.
Phase 1 (starting now)
Phase 2 (after playground/drainage works)
Year 2 Gardening
19.10.18 - Y2 have been outside today planting bulbs for the spring- alliums, daffodils and tulips were planted and we’ve got our fingers crossed that the squirrels don’t dig them up.🤞
We have moved a pear tree and cherry tree from the playground to a sunny spot at the front of school - hopefully the trees will be much happier in this new position.
We had 1000 litres of compost delivered this week, along with some large tree containers and watering cans. Picnic benches, a storage shed, bug house and wormery are all arriving after half term. A big thank you to the BHSA for funding this project.
We also had our first delivery of free used coffee grounds from Caffe Nero- thank you! 👍
We now have our very own worms working hard in their wormery. The new worms were given a couple of days to settle in and have now had their first meal of lettuce and carrots scraps from our canteen. Classes will be on a rota to check and feed the worms over the next few months.
There are two silver bins in the garden. One is for used coffee grounds and the other for vegetable scraps from the canteen. We have wooden compost bins arriving soon and then we will start using shredded paper from our classroom recycling bins to mix with the food scraps. Staffroom used teabags are also being added to the compost!
Year 1 Gardening
Year 1 took part in their first gardening lesson! They all got the chance to plant pea shoots and meet the Belmont worms! The peas shoots will be ready in a few weeks' time.
Kiwi fruit harvest!
Mrs Nicholas collected 60+ kiwi fruit from a tree in our playground so all Y2 children are bringing one home today! Can't promise they will be sweet - a few teachers taste tested them and pulled funny faces! Kiwi do ripen off the tree so keep them a week and they should be tasty. Y2 will be sketching them in class.
Year 4 Gardening
11.12.18 - Today Y4 took part in their first gardening lesson! They all got the chance to taste pea shoots that Year 1 planted a few weeks ago - yum! They also made twig trees using sticks from the forest area, got the chance to meet the Belmont worms and planted garlic. Good work, Y4!
Here are some quotes from the Y4 children...
I learnt that there is a type of worm called a tiger worm. AN
When I was doing gardening I was really shocked by all the garden materials you bought. Also I learnt so so much and I really enjoyed so much so now I can garden with my dad. YD
It was actually really fun holding the tiger worms, and I learnt that in the Belmont worm area there are more worms than students! RS
I thought it was really fun when we got to hold the worms because they tried to wriggle out of hand. I want to go every day. Thank you for the garden. LR
Year 1 Gardening Update
17.12.18 - The pea shoots that Y1 planted in their last gardening session are now ready to eat!
Before playtime... After playtime...
Another 1000 litres of top soil has arrived at school!
A very BIG THANK YOU to ex Belmont pupil, Adam Mitchell (Eira's son), who volunteers in our garden on a weekly basis. He is studying horticulture at Gunnersbury Park and has been fantastic at keeping on top of caring for all the new plants that have been arriving.
We have been successful in achieving the Level 2 School Gardening Award from the RHS.
9.1.19 - Y2 started off their new topic (Fighting for Survival) by making herbal remedies outdoors! Mary Seacole used the power of plants to help treat poorly/injured soldiers during The Crimean War. The children used root ginger, lemon, mint (from the garden) and a mixture of herbal teas (ginger, nettle, chamomile and sorrel).
We collect all used tea bags from the staff room- about 100 tea bags (or three bowls of tea) a day! This is used as compost in the garden or added to the compost heap.
Grow Your Own Potatoes have sent us free potatoes to plant at school. They are happily chitting on the windowsill in Apricots classroom.
29.3.19 - This month we hosted our first ever family event in the garden. This event sold out quickly and we will try to offer a similar event in the near future.
We have now also achieved the RHS Level 4 School Gardening Award. There is just one more level to go for us to reach 5 stars! March has been a busy month.
5.3.19 - Y2 have planted their free Grow Your Own Potatoes. We have Jazzy potatoes and Rocket potatoes.
Y3, Y4 and Y5 have planted Desiree and Charlotte potatoes, and Y6 have planted Pink Fir Apple potatoes.
The Belmont Bug House is now open! Pollinators are encouraged to shelter here and they will have a lovely place to spend next winter. Thank you for collecting so many pine cones. The children (and adults) have been fascinated to see them close when wet and then open when dry.
Our new school compost heaps and wormeries have helped us achieve level 3 of the RHS School Gardening Awards. The gardening club have been in charge of turning the compost to help speed up decomposition.
We applied for the innocent ‘big grow’ seed pots and were lucky to receive class packs for Year 2. Tomato, cress and pea seeds have now been planted. The children will be bringing their pots home for the Easter Holiday.
A very big thank you to John Gill, the Schools Project Co-ordinator at Chiswick Allotments, for donating (and delivering) a fantastic selection of seeds, compost and pots for our school garden. Find out more about our local allotment sites by visiting their website www.growchiswick.org.
We are joining in with the Chiswick Horticultural & Allotments Society Summer Show this year. It takes place at the Trading Hut on Sunday 23rd June. Please see the attached letter and contact Mrs Nicholas via firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to come along. There is more information on their website too...
18.4.19 - First butterfly spotted in our garden this morning. Think it's a Holly Blue and it's on our new holly tree! The tulips and daffodils that Y2 planted in October are now in flower!
There is blossom on the tall apple tree and on the pear tree. This is a good sign that we will get fruit this year!
What a busy month!
Health & Well-being Week 2019 - All classes got the chance to take part in a mud play session. Many mud creations were made and everyone got very...muddy! Playing with mud has many benefits. It helps children to connect with nature, be creative, create memories and has health and well-being benefits too.
Staff were also given a little well-being task in the staffroom this week.
We were thrilled to join in with the Chiswick Horticultural & Allotments Society Summer Show 2019. Y2 children designed wooden spoons and shared their allium artwork. Milla (Y5) won first prize for her home-grown lettuce and got the chance to meet famous chef, Rick Stein.
Y2 children each got to take home a potato. The rest were cooked with some rosemary from the garden and eaten for a mid morning treat.
Kitchen Garden Strawberries - here are the ones the birds didn't get!
The Belmont Summer Fair 2019
All classes grew sunflowers and they were judges on the day of the fair. Chestnut class were the lucky winners and they will get a picnic treat provided by the BHSA!
All money raised goes towards buying things for the garden.