The Eco Reps worked hard last year growing salad crops in the on site greenhouse.
Over the Easter holidays, they took home seeds to germinate and start off, whilst Mrs Teague worked to reclaim the greenhouse from the brambles that had taken over and remove any broken glass from a couple of damaged panes.
The students wanted to grow food that could be incorporated into DT Food and we decided to start with tomatoes and herbs. We have harvested some tomatoes, but due to the variable weather and a slightly late start growing things, we didn’t manage to harvest enough for DT Food, however we are hoping they will be able to use the herbs before the weather changes.
Thank you to all the parents who have kindly donated kneeling pads, seeds and even herb trugs, which has enabled this to happen. We have also used some of the money previously secured by Emma Holmes, from the N+P Group grant, to buy peat-free compost for the salad vegetables to grow in.
To increase the biodiversity within the school grounds and support Wildflower Ringmer in their work, the Eco Reps have chose to sow wildflower seeds in May 2023 . We decided that there is a strip in the Eco Hub garden, along the edge of the tennis courts, which the grass struggles to grow in, that would be perfect for wildflowers.
We were kindly donated some oak logs from a local business, which we will be using to edge the strip. This will help prevent the grass from growing into the wildflower area, provide an edge to mowed up to but protect the wildflowers, and also help provide a habitat for wildlife under and around the logs.
Sadly, again the weather was against us, and we had an unseasonably dry hot spell with resulted in an early hosepipe ban, so the wildflowers didn’t flourish as much as we’d hoped. However, the seed is there and we are hoping the rain over the autumn and winter will set the beginnings of a flourishing wildflower strip that we can replenish each year.
In addition to the logs, the local business also donated some oak stumps, and we will be creating a stumpery with, under the oak tree. A stumpery is an area that uses bits of wood to create a wildlife habitat, planted with native ferns and plants, that provides a cooler and often damper shelter and environment. This should help encourage a broader range of wildlife and biodiversity in the area. Already, the oak stumps have created a hiding place for toads, and a couple have been spotted near the logs.
Eco Hub Garden:
We are continuing to work on the garden. We are hoping the trees and shrubs that w’ve planted will begin to thrive, together with the cowslips that we planted on our Eco Day during Enrichment week in July 2023.
We have an area of the garden with raised gardens and a small pond, which we want to develop and increase the number of native pollinating and biodiverse plants, bulbs and shrubs. This will be a more managed area and we aim to have plants that are biennials, perennials and even some evergreens, so it is self supporting and the least disturbed by humans as possible, with cover for wildlife and a broad range of plants.
This area is within metres of the oak logs/soon-to-be-stumpery under the shade of the oak tree, and in between, we are leaving a natural area. We are planning to fence this natural “wild” area with gapped fencing, to allow toads, frogs, mice, hedgehogs and other creatures to be able to live between the 3 areas and move from one to another. We can then track the species of wild plants, and animals that we see, using our wildlife camera.