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Dig in!

Grow your own fresh produce on school grounds

Getting pupils involved in growing their own fruit and vegetables is an amazing way to…

  • Spark enthusiasm for a project that changes almost every day
  • Get outdoors in the fresh air, away from phones and tablets!
  • Learn about life cycles and how plants grow
  • Get some exercise
  • Develop a sense of community, responsibility and confidence
  • Taste the freshest food ever – and perhaps even try something new

What you’ll need to start a school fruit and vegetable patch:

1. An area in your school that could be used to grow produce
a. Any size will do, whether you’ve got 1 square meter or 100
b. Ideally it should be in a spot that gets a good amount of sunlight
c. Somewhere peaceful where the plants won’t get trampled, eaten, too hot or too cold

2. A budget
a.You’ll need money in the kitty before you start in order to purchase your materials
b.Sources might include the school PSHE budget, the PTA, a special fundraising event, or even local corporate sponsorship

3. Some basic materials
a.It’s best to have a strong, raised bed to keep it all contained and prevent people and animals like foxes taking short-cuts across your carefully tended soil
b.Weed control membrane is really handy
c.You’ll need enough topsoil and compost to fill the bed
d.Plenty of buckets and spades of all sizes, for all sizes of helpers!

4. Seeds
a.Look for varieties that are marked “easy to grow”, and can be planted out directly into the soil (some need to be grown to seedlings in a greenhouse and then acclimatised)
b.Try to find a selection of fruit and veg that will be ready to harvest at different times – this helps show pupils how life cycles differ for different plants
c.Why not get some sunflowers too? They grow fast and look really impressive – ideal for keeping hold of shorter attention spans!
d.Potatoes are also easy to grow – let the roots develop for a week or two in the classroom, then plant in a growbag

5. Helping hands
a.Everyone can have a job to do in a veg patch – tiny fingers are great at picking up small seeds for planting, while experienced grown-ups can muck in with the heavy lifting and construction
b.A rota for watering and weeding helps keep the plants healthy
c.Can the pupils come up with some exciting recipes to use the produce you grow?