BLOG POST BY: Mrs Bethan Chewter – Allotment Club Co-ordinator

It is amazing to think that this time last year, there was only a green patch of grass in front of the Boerderij and a small group of students wanting to see how it could develop and grow.

Senior School Students from all Year Groups tend to the Allotment throughout the term

Working in school for the last 9 years I felt that there was a disconnect between young people and their understanding of where their fruit and veg comes from. We have probably all seen the TV programmes about how much waste of vegetables there is, because they are not the right shape or size, well I want the students to see how difficult it is to get the perfect vegetable and what it takes to grow them.

To support our development and to work towards a goal, we registered with the Royal Horticultural Society School Gardening Scheme. This scheme has 5 levels. Level 1 is simply planning a growing area, it could be a small space to a large area or even pots for growing. The levels progress in away that allows you to develop your allotment space and involved the wider school community. For our level 3 we developed our composting, making our compost bins out of old wooden pallets. We encourage our food tech department to compost their green waste along with our science department. Level 4 we organized a cake sale with a difference, that of all our cakes were made with fruit or vegetables.

We are currently waiting to hear if we have achieved our Level 5 School Gardening Award – if we do , it will mean we have a 5 star RHS garden.

Homegrown hydroponics system

The students have been so committed to the project. Whatever the weather they are out there! Even on lunchtimes when the club isn’t running you will find students outside working in the allotment. Some students have never tried to grow anything before and have been amazed at the successes and failures they have had whilst growing fruit and vegetables. Our Pumpkin plants were one of those things that just did not grow well last year!

The students amaze me on a weekly basis. One student has grown her own apple seedling from a seed and another has built his own hydroponics system at home. The allotment has also become a retreat for staff to wanting to get out in the fresh air during the day.

If you had ask me this time last year whether I would have thought that the allotment would have grown as much as it has, I would have said let’s see. It is great to see more and more students getting involved in the allotment, club members bring their friends along, and together they are learning – not only how to grow fruit and veg, but also how to work with one another.

Watch this space to see our developments, great things are coming after February half term.