Thursday, 29 December 2011

Josh takes care of the garden

Doing a great job Josh - well done!

The green manure crop is starting to germinate

We don't really want the tomatoes to be producing fruit just yet!!

Pumpkins, corn, chives and beans

Capsicums seem to be pretty advanced too!

Cabbage, marigolds and chives

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Community Involvement

Oakdale Industries kindly donated beautiful chopping boards, trivets and coasters for our kitchen.

Granton Plants donated lots of seedlings for our vegetable gardens, together with a large bag of lime. The seedlings look really healthy and will hopefully provide us with a good first harvest in Term 1 2012.
Last day of term 2011. Three beds planted with a huge range of seedlings. Seven beds seeded with green manure crop seeds. Fingers crossed for a good harvest next term!!

Seedlings were also provided by Terry and Chris Moran, two members of our local community. Terry and Chris are also keen to become volunteers in our garden program next year.

Community involvement is developing with the contributions mentioned above and also the summer holiday watering volunteers:
  • Tracey and Josh Hill - parent and student
  • Howrah Child Care Centre
  • Southern Support School Holiday Program Workers
AND so good to get feedback from these volunteers about how the garden is doing - Tracey sent a text to say that the green manure crop seeds have germinated already!!

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Friday, 16 December 2011

Week beginning 12th December 2011

A busy week in the garden!

We filled our apple crates with straw and then put soil on top. These four beds will be left with a green manure crop growing in them over the summer. 
To quote the Green Harvest Web-site :

"Green manures are a cornerstone of ecologically sensible agriculture. They can provide outstanding benefits for the soil, crop and you, the gardener by:
  • Increasing organic matter, earthworms and beneficial micro-organisms
  • Increasing the soil's available nitrogen and moisture retention
  • Stabilising the soil to prevent erosion
  • Bringing deep minerals to the surface and breaking up hardpans
  • Providing habitat, nectar and pollen for beneficial insects and reducing populations of pests
  • Improving water, root and air penetration in the soil
  • Smothering weeds"

 Next, Pauline and Craig went out and purchased a trailer load of 'Veggie Mix" to put into the beds that will be planted with vegetables before the holidays.

Three of our raised metal beds will get a top-up with "veggie mix"; one was filled this week.

The bed was covered in straw

The next job was to take a look at what is still growing in our beds and decide whether plants should be transplanted or used as compost. Herbs were moved by Jennifer to the Red Class bed - our herb garden. Pauline transplanted pumpkin, zuccini and cabbage into the first replenshed bed - not sure how they will cope with transplanting - we will give them till next week to see if they are up to the challenge!

Jordan did a great job watering the transplanted veggies.


Next week (the last week of term)
  • we will continue to empty out the existing class vegetable beds, transplanting anything that looks like it can survive the school holidays
  • top up two more metal beds with "veggie mix" and straw
  • plant vegetable seedlings in these two beds - for harvesting in Term 1 2012
  • sew green manure seeds in the remaining two metal beds and the four apple crates

And then we have to hope that our seedlings will survive the summer and be ready for harvesting when we return to school in mid-February. Fortunately we have a number of very much appreciated volunteers who will water and watch over our vegetables over the summer.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Mark purchased 4 apple crates today. Really good value and adding some 'rustic charm' to our vegetable garden. They needed a little TLC - the photos show that this was ably provided by Mark. We will be using the crates as additional raised beds in which to grow our vegetables.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

29 November 2011 - today's harvest

Shannon was very excited to harvest some snow peas from White Class Garden today - difficult to stop him eating them all! Nick helped with picking silverbeet - it is swamping our other veggies! Corn, zuccini, tomatoes, peas, beans, silver beet, strawberries, squash and lettuce all going well.

We made a leafy salad for lunch using the tiny silver beet leaves and chives from Pink Class Garden. Everyone was surprised to see the addition of marigold flowers and chive flowers - the yellow and lilac colours looked great against the green. Not too many White Class Students  were interested in the salad, but the brave heroes of  Blue Class were all enthusiastic gourmands!

29 November 2011

Completed excel spreadsheets for kitchen stock and requirements, garden stock and requirements and general food store requirements. These will be used to keep stock lists next year. Also completed a budget for weekly food costs.

Presented kitchen stock requirements to teachers at staff meeting today. Great response -
Sally offered a breadmaker, Penny an electric barbeque, 2 vases and a pasta machine, Eiluned muffin tins and Gayle electronic scales.

Great suggestion from Ruth that Red Class raised veggie bed be used for herbs and scented shrubs such as lavender. Hopefully we can transplant herbs from other beds into this one.

Pauline and Jennifer to check all veggie beds early in December to produce a planting schedule.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Photos of Our First Kitchen Class

Menu 1

Menu for Friday 28th October 2011
Silver beet and Feta Rolls
Baked Potatoes
Green Salad
Broad Bean Dip with Pita Bread
Apple Turnovers


Silver beet and Feta Rolls
Josh & Hugo
Shannon & Nick
Baked Potatoes
Green Salad
Liam & Abbie
Broad Bean Dip with Pita Bread
Nikki & Sam
Apple Turnovers
Jo & Billy & Cody


Silverbeet & Feta Rolls
Baked Potato
Leafy Green Salad
Broad Bean Dip
Apple Turnovers
Make rolls
Make dough earlier in day.
Make pizza and put topping on
Microwave potatoes
Prepare grated cheese, chives and sour cream
Wash salad
Dry in teatowels
Shred (don’t chop), removing stalks – just use petals on flowers
Crush garlic
Pour over olive oil and toss
Add vinegar

Make dip and cut up pita bread
Make turnovers

Rolls in oven
Leave pizza to have 2nd rise
Potatoes in oven
Pizza in oven
Turnovers in oven

Present and Eat

Waiting activities:
Set table: 10 places per table
Flower on table
Wash up
Read, Walk, Computers
Some of our recipes:

Silverbeet and Feta Rolls:

Broad Bean Dip:

Pauline's first SAKGP Kitchen Class

28th October 2011
·         The opportunity arose to do a cooking session with my class when  I replaced  a colleague (who usually works on the cooking day)
·         The menu  for my class (White Class) was set by their regular teacher: pizza and apple turnovers
·         I decided to use the opportunity to attempt a SAKGP style lesson!
·         Planning issues:
o   One class  of  6 students  with  3 adults would not be large enough to provide  a range of ‘tastes’ and would possibly not work for the meal as 3 of my students  are quite fussy eaters
o   I could not change what  the regular teacher had planned, so could only add to it
·         I decided to combine with Blue Class next door  which then allowed for:
o   The two classrooms  to be opened up to make one large open area
o   Two cooking areas
o   7 adults with  12 students
·         A menu  was developed based on what had already been planned plus what was available in our gardens
·         The menu, time plan and recipes were given to all staff 2 days prior
·         Teacher Aides were given brief information about the SAKGP philosophy (teachers had already had professional development about it)
·         Groupings and staffing list was distributed to all staff 2 days prior after consultation with Blue Class teacher
·         Blue Class teacher assisted by informing me about what ingredients were already available in the classes
·         Shopping very easy before school – not very much to purchase
·         Changes:
o   Blue Class teacher absent so I could no longer ‘float’ – would need to cook with her group
o   Preparation interrupted by 5 students and 2 staff being withdrawn (in groups or separately) for between 10 and 30 minutes for various reasons
·         Each group went out to harvest for their ingredients in  the lesson beforehand – worked well
·         Interactive  whiteboard  presentation showing photos of foods to be cooked and who was in each group worked well
·         Time plan was very useful as it highlighted the need for potatoes to be pre-baked and for pizza dough to be mixed and have its first rise before lesson and for all participants to be aware of when food should be served
·         Moving tables, getting serving plates, utensils, baking trays, glasses, etc took time but would not happen when we cook in our new kitchen
·         Everything went to plan!!  The meal was served at the planned time
·         Most students were engaged for most of the time – when they had finished their jobs they helped others
·         Being able to ‘float’ would have been good
·         In the ‘real setting’ there would have been me ‘floating’ plus one other teacher
·         We need vases – flowers in baskets implied they were edible!
·         Menu – too much pastry – I would have preferred a fruit dish e.g. strawberries in honey – better colour selection too
·         All students ate something – great to have the selection
·         Almost all food got eaten
·         Salads could have been bigger
·         Most students sat for most of the time
·         Some staff felt that they ought to be washing up between courses (we are not used to sitting with our students when they eat!) – getting up set the example for the students to get up too! We all need to stay sitting!!
·         We need to encourage our students serve themselves with food – not serve them!
·         Quite a lot of washing up afterwards – dishwasher will help
·         I wish I had spent more time looking at the presentation of the food before we started to eat  so as to compliment each group
Feedback from staff:
·         Great selection allowed all students to find something they liked, much better than one main and a desert
·         Good to be responsible for just one item with particular students
·         Lovely to sit with kids
·         Good to have information in advance
·         Good for kids to be involved in whole recipe rather than just help with one bit (chopping/mixing etc.)
·         Very positive – wanted to do it again next week!!
·         It is important to emphasise the SAKGP philosophy, especially about setting the example of sitting and enjoying all food, and encouraging  students  to serve themselves and pass food around
·         Visitors must be positive at all times too
·         Information about menus, recipes and groupings to staff in advance very important
What else would I do/change?
·         Recipes in symbols
·         Follow-up activities
·         More balanced menu
·         Stress importance of sitting (staff)
·         Spend more time talking about/complimenting  people about the food when it is served

What is the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program?

We have recently been successful in receiving a grant to establish a Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program at Southern Support School.
The aim of the Kitchen Garden program is to pleasurably engage and educate young people in growing, harvesting, preparing and sharing delicious and healthy food in the belief that these skills and understandings are essential to the development of life-long joyful and healthy eating habits.
Melbourne chef and food writer Stephanie Alexander established the Kitchen Garden Foundation in 2004 to help give as many young people access to the program as possible.To quote Stephanie “First and foremost, we want to enchant and engage the children. Children are unimpressed by lists or pyramids that separate the ‘good for you’ from the ‘not good for you’ foods. But get them digging and planting and picking, or get them mixing or rolling or chopping, or get them around a table with their own freshly baked pizza topped with their own tomato sauce, liberally scattered with herbs from the garden, and the result is enthusiasm, real learning and great flavours”.
The Program will be fully integrated into our school curriculum as it offers infinite possibilities to reinforce literacy, numeracy, science, cultural studies and all aspects of environmental sustainability.
We plan to start implementing the program in early 2012, initially using existing class vegetable beds, and our newly renovated kitchen. It is envisaged that the full program will be up and running by mid 2013.
More information about the program can be found at