Thursday, September 29, 2011

Taaaaaaallllllll Cabbages

Broad Beans Aplenty

Broad Beans used to be (nearly) every child's nightmare dish, along with boiled-to-death cabbage and brussell sprouts 8-/
But now we have a new generation of EDAMAME lovers!
The girls picked 130 pods of lovely juicy broad bean pods this very morning.

They will be taking a bunch each home with them and will help their mummies make dinner tonight. They are very tasty when they are blanched in boiling water then tossed in butter and sesame seeds, or added to peas, carrots and corn. YUM!!

Week 9 of the Tui Competition

Gosh! It has been 9 weeks since this competition started and we have seen a great change in the weather and temperatures. I just wanted to show you the garden that the boys created back in week 2 on the 11 August. The dirt was conditioned with worm castings from the worm farm. Here is a photo to jog your memory

On the 23rd of August a box of seedlings turned up from ZELANDIA. We planted the Pak Choy and Mustard Greens (ruruhau) in this garden. Here is a pic of the garden today...wait for it...wait for it...


How's THAT for healthy plants? Worm castings, warm weather and generous watering have all helped to make this garden a beautiful sight...and tasty too :-)
This is a question from  Room 5 from Raumati South School on the Kapiti Coast...
Hi Opua School! We learnt so much from your very informative report about cooking your quiche. We are now looking at your story about the strawberries and we are interested in knowing about what the green cone system is, as seen in your photo... What is it?

We dug a hole and placed the 'basket' down in the dirt which allows the juices from the composting vegetation to seep into the earth and the holes in the basket lets in good bugs and wormies.
We put our food scraps and other vegetation in the cone. The food scraps are actually shared between the chooks, worm farms and the Green Cone system.
The strawberries we planted are looking really bonny and there is to be a tower of peas surrounding the greencone itself. The soil is very nutrient rich around this area of the garden.

Thanks for your question!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Worm Tea anyone??

mmmmmmmmmmmmm ...... delicious worm tea..

What Is Worm Tea?

Worm Tea is a by-product from worm castings. It is the leachate from a mature worm farm and is a rich source of nitrogen fixing bacteria, enzymes, organisms and beneficial bacteria.
Worm juice provides a wealth of nutrients and minerals, with over sixty different elements providing many of the requirements of our plants.

As you can see we have a high tech way of  delivering the tea to our plants, this is what we call.."Why bother with buying a watering can when we have these pots aye?" (Reduce, Re-use, Recycle ;-))

Did you know that garden waste and food scraps make up about 50-60% of household waste?
Here at Opua School we save all of our food scraps from morning tea and lunch,  grass clippings for a warm temperature and a bit of lime to keep the flies/midgies out.  Also water is very important!

Yum Yum!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Hail to the Caretaker...The Caretaker Man

Looking at other blogs on this site we have noticed many schools have a fantastic caretaker helping them out in one way or another. Without these wonderful folk we probably wouldn't be in this competition. 
OUR Caretaker's name is Denny and he is amazing with the children. We are also very lucky to have him as he is as keen about sustainability as we are and he is always happy to share his knowledge with others. Denny looks after our chickens and has taken on the role of Head Bee Keeper very keenly - he has even set up a hive at home! Denny built our gardens and works with the children in the gardens on a daily basis, teaching them how to plant, where to plant and how to water the plants (a VERY important skill!)
We are very lucky to have Denny at Opua School and I am sure other schools have great caretakers!!

Flowers + Bees = FOOD

We are very mindful of the need to nurture the bee population, both our school's hive and the 'wild' bees that are out and about. The children and staff have been learning about the honey bees plight and it's battle against the verroa mite. Ooooh - rhyming!

Denny and a pupil check the hive for signs of honey production and they are also giving the hive a once over to check everything was alright. It surely takes a hawk eye to spot the Queen Bee! Soon they will be venturing out and gorging themselves on our wild flower pollen to take back to the hive. We are hopeful that the bees will be encouraged to visit our beans, peas, pumpkins and all our other vegetables. Most of the classes have been learning about the different parts of a flower and the importance of bees in our eco-system.

Bees are AMAZING creatures!

Here is a sample of our Bee Magnets - the flowers in the pots, not the pupils!!

Otherwise Fine...Otherwise it's Dandy

Apart from the corn seedlings with cold feet the rest of the garden is looking great!
It certainly helps to have 30 dedicated weeders and planters!
You can see an arch in the background, it is for our runner beans which are already 20cm tall.
The winter veges are still being harvested, our broad beans are beginning to pod up but the spring seedlings are taking off too. Last week I wasn't quick enough with the camera and I missed the children and Denny spreading the gardens with Worm TEA. I hope the plants love the juice, because it sure has a potent smell!

The signs are nice too!!

Jack Frost!

Oh dear!

The corn seedlings that we so very carefully looked after have been badly affected by the recent frosts - so we think. They have very stunted growth and are not thriving at all. 
It was decided to leave them in the garden and we will nurture them until the warmer weather brings the growth on. This is a good lesson in learning about learning the correct time of the season to plant certain plants. They should have a good root system by the time they are taller!