Over the past few months, the Y5s have been undertaking the ambitious and challenging task of constructing vegetable beds in order to grow their own produce. We’ve been learning about “farm to fork” and how the fresh produce in our supermarkets is grown. This builds on the children’s Y3 Science learning on plant growth and will enrich and broaden their Design and Technology learning, with the children growing, then (eventually) cooking their own ingredients.
The children started off by learning about how the beds would be constructed and solving maths problems to calculate the area, perimeter and volume of the beds, as well as calculating and converting the measurements of the materials. They also designed signage using Microsoft Publisher and worked to format the required features in an eye-catching and clear way.
In groups, the Y5s worked to dig the marked-out foundations and fill them with ballast to avoid the beds sinking into the ground. Some Y5s also helped position and screw together the wooden sleepers to form the walls of the beds. The turf taken up was re-used to repair some of the banking at the side of the path. The children worked in teams, using spades, forks, rakes and wheelbarrows – learning how to use the tools safely and properly. Some of the children learnt how to use a spirit level to ensure that the beds were lined-up and level (by far the most challenging task!)
After a sizeable break (due to poor weather and delayed materials) the beds were lined (to protect the wood and guard against pesky weeds growing through) and the children filled them with a mix of topsoil and compost, before tidying up the site and getting ready for planting. This included an exhaustive search of the waste soil to ensure that the beds were well-stocked with earthworms – to improve the soil quality and provide them with a good home!
Groups of children then planted out some of the produce, as well as constructing bamboo tripods for some of the plants to grow up. The bed closest to the path was planted with herbs to flavour recipes and as a resource that the whole school can use. They will also make a pleasant sensory garden for the children and adults using the paths. Many of the Y5s are now making sure that the plants are kept watered and weeded at lunchtimes – ensuring that the plants are well cared for!
A massive well done to the Y5 children and staff who took part in the project. A lot of hard work went into constructing these beds and making a resource that children in the school will be able to use for years to come. We will update you with the results come harvest season!