School kitchen gardens

Kids in the kitchen and the garden -  that's what this page is all about. If you're looking for information and resources to get your school growing you're in the right place.

Beth Healy aka Dirtmum is our Schools Kitchen Garden Coordinator. Here she is pictured with her kids and Paul West from River Cottage Australia and Gardening Australia in the Blaxland East Public School garden.
Getting started

Starting a school kitchen garden can be daunting but don't stress we're here to help.

You can start a new garden on a small budget or improve an existing garden with some extra funds. The first thing you need to think about is your purpose and goals. What will you do with your produce? Will you garden on a class roster system or in the playground for lunchtime garden club?

Do you have garden classes with teachers or volunteers? How do you engage the community in your school garden project? Let’s help you get started.

 

Some of the key factors you'll need to consider are:

  • Budget & funding

  • Timeline

  • Ongoing maintenance

  • Parent involvement

  • Curriculum & lesson planning

  • School holidays

budget & funding

It is important to set a budget for your kitchen garden and have it included in the overall school budget as well as in P&C fundraising objectives.

Whether you require enough money to start a garden from scratch or you just need to buy some new equipment or seedlings - knowing what you want and being realistic about costs will help you manage expectations and dollars.

​You are not alone on this adventure, don’t be afraid to call on parents, grandparents and community to donate to get your garden growing. Bunnings are very supportive of schools and garden projects. Contact your local store and see what you can do together.


You can also contact your local landscape supply business, nursery, community garden, hardware stores, newsagents and even your local grocery store that sells seeds. They are usually more than happy to donate seeds, seedlings or even newspapers for your garden.

There are many free resources you can scavenge from shops too like cardboard boxes for sheet mulching and mulch from local tree services.

timeline

Now - End of term and School Holidays

  • Talk to your principal and school staff about joining the Edible Garden Trail – final date to sign up is 31st January.

  • Talk to your friends and community about the possibilities of starting or improving your school kitchen garden.

  • Talk to local businesses that might be able to donate some soil, mulch, seedlings.

Week 1 28th - 31st January (​1st Week back at school)

  • School is back and it’s time to jump into the garden. Ask a Year 5 or 6 class to help design what they want to see in the garden (or whatever class your child is in or the class you are teaching).

  • Host a working bee with parents, P&C, school volunteers. Create your team for this event.

  • Order some new compost - mushroom compost and cow manure mix is great to refresh your garden. Premium veggie mix is a great start for new gardens.

  • If you don’t have any veggie beds, have a look at the hardware shops for some wonderful raised beds at a variety of prices to suit all budgets.

Week 2 3rd - 7th February

  • Let’s get planting! You have your school support, you have a design and ideas in mind from kids and parents (possibly even from a survey) and now it is time to put some seeds and plants in the ground.

  • Plants some seeds, seedlings and advanced plants to help with succession planting. Fast growing plants are beetroot, radishes, rocket, lettuce, spinach, beans, bok choy, cucumbers, zucchini and herbs. You can even regrow from scraps like spring onions, Asian greens, celery, lettuce, leeks, sweet potato etc.

  • Let’s talk fundraising! This is a wonderful opportunity to invite the community to visit your school and raise funds for your garden by selling some seedlings, produce, refreshments (also appreciated on a hot day), you could even host a BBQ. Talk to your P&C and get a fundraising team on board. Ask the kids for their ideas and get them involved.

  • Set a target for what you will spend fundraising money on, the community loves to know what you will be doing and will look forward to seeing it the following year. Make this an annual event!

Week 3 10th - 14th February

  • 4 weeks to go! You have a fundraising plan now delegate. Get everyone involved. This is a school community, don’t try to do it alone. Having teams breaks up the jobs and relieves the pressure. Have a garden growing team, a refreshment team, a decorating team, a welcoming team and a setup & pack up crew.

Week 4 17th - 21st February

  • It’s been a fortnight, let’s plant some more seeds, seedlings and plants to continue our succession planting for a continuous harvest.

Week 5 24th - 28th February

  • Time to decorate some signs! You might find it quite busy at times with many visitors, so having clear labels and signs around the garden will allow people to look around and get a feel for the garden. Get the kids to practice their handwriting, explore their creative side and paint some signs, write some labels. Write up some information sheets, because people might have questions and you may not have time to answer all of them.

Week 6 2nd - 6th March

  • Time to plant some more seedlings out. Your first seeds are 4 weeks old and ready to transplant!

  • Time for final preparation. Make sure that the paths are clear, no trip hazards like hoses, stakes. Tidy up and make sure everything is stored securely.

  • Organise a gazebo, shelter from the heat, tables and chairs for your volunteers etc

  • Have a team meeting. Run through the plan on the day. Assign roles for volunteers and teams. Have a cuppa or iced tea together and celebrate. You have made it! This is the exciting part, you are ready to show off your school garden with the community.

Saturday 7th & Sunday 8th March Edible Garden Trail

Have fun! And don’t forget to share your photos and tag @ediblegardentrailbm on socials.

Week 7 9th - 13th March

  • Thank all your volunteers, share in the newsletter how your fundraising went and keep growing. The Edible Trail may be over, but the garden lives on. Keep classes involved, use the produce in the canteen and for students, keep planting every 2 weeks. You have worked hard to get the garden going, enjoy the fruits of your labour!

maintenance
  • Watering - with water restrictions in place, ​remember to water the garden according to the rules. With good soil and mulch, you will have a more water efficient garden. Water with cans in the morning before 10am (I love watering chill time at 8am before school drop off). Set up a watering roster for classes and volunteers. You could even set up an irrigation system.

  • Compost – to keep building your soil, reduce your school waste and provide a great opportunity for classes to learn about soil and science.

  • Planting – regular planting means more regular harvest for your school use, whether it be canteen or cooking classes or selling harvest for fundraising.

  • Harvesting – continue to harvest regularly so that the plants keep producing.

  • Regular working bees help share the heavy work load and make it more fun. Friendships grow just like plants and blossom beautifully.

  • School Holidays – if your school is open during the holidays, they are usually happy for you to go in and water the gardens, just ask! Or set up a water efficient drip irrigation system on a timer.

volunteers
  • Without our wonderful volunteers, nothing will happen. Ask your friends, invite parents and grandparents, or the residents in the retirement village from across the road! Share your vision, build your team and support your skills.

What’s in it for my school?

Garden grants

The Edible Garden Trail (EGT) is a not-for-profit event. Funds raised from ticket sales are distributed to participating school and community gardens in the form of garden grants. Grant money can be used to purchase gardening equipment, seeds and seedlings, soil, compost, mulch, building materials, kitchen equipment, educator training etc.

Kitchen garden guidance

Schools on the EGT have access to online resources including setting up a kitchen garden, garden maintenance, lesson planning, recipes, teacher and volunteer training, fundraising and grant opportunities, as well as practical hands on assistance.

How should my school prepare for the Trail?

  • Organise a team of volunteers to liaise with teachers and school administration, prepare and maintain gardens over school holidays (if possible) or upon return to school in the new year.

  • Discuss fundraising opportunities on the weekend of the Trail ie: sausage sizzles, plant, seedling and produce sales, school cookbooks, children’s garden art sales etc.

  • Approach local businesses for donations of supplies ie: Bunnings, Mitre 10, nurseries etc.

  • Promote your participation in the local community.

  • Get growing!

What if we don’t have a kitchen garden yet?

If you are keen to get involved but your kitchen garden hasn’t been established visit other schools on the Trail for inspiration and ask questions about how they set up and maintain their garden. Organise a meeting with like-minded parents, teachers, school administration and your P&C to discuss fundraising, timeline and responsibilities. And check out the online resources available.

 
RESOURCES

Creating a kitchen garden

Sustainable Schools NSW

Stefanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program

Take me Outside NSW

Penrith Lakes Environmental Education Centre

Green Schools Network

Get Grubby dirtgirlworld (online course is provided free by Blue Mountains City Council)

Grants & funding

 

https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/funding-and-support/nsw-environmental-trust/grants-available/eco-schools

 

https://www.budgetdirect.com.au/about-us/sponsorships.html

https://climatechange.environment.nsw.gov.au/Adapting-to-climate-change/Community-Grants

https://www.susantempleman.com.au/grants-and-funding/grants-bulletin/

https://www.awesomefoundation.org/en/chapters/sydney

https://www.lifeeducation.org.au/about-us/partners/yates-gardening/gardengrants

https://www.nudefoodday.com.au/nudefoodgrant/

https://landcareaustralia.org.au/junior-landcare/grants/

 

Teacher resources 

 

Education NSW

https://education.nsw.gov.au/teaching-and-learning/curriculum/learning-across-the-curriculum/sustainability/teaching-and-learning/kitchen-gardens

 

https://education.nsw.gov.au/teaching-and-learning/professional-learning/scan/past-issues/vol-38,-2019/spark-a-patch-from-scratch

 

https://app.education.nsw.gov.au/rap/resource/access/47f6a0ab-7c0b-4874-b50d-f2ed4a237029/1

 

https://app.education.nsw.gov.au/rap/resource/access/f7a16909-183c-4e72-bb8e-41b4ef80fd45/1

 

https://education.nsw.gov.au/teaching-and-learning/curriculum/learning-across-the-curriculum/sustainability/teaching-and-learning/biodiversity/school-grounds-use

 

https://education.nsw.gov.au/teaching-and-learning/curriculum/learning-across-the-curriculum/sustainability/teaching-and-learning/biodiversity/mapping-physical-features

 

Healthy Kids

https://healthy-kids.com.au/teachers/kitchen-garden/

Inspiration

 

ABC Organic Gardener

https://www.organicgardener.com.au/articles/garden-knowledge

 

Fix

https://www.fix.com/blog/start-a-garden-at-your-school/

© Copyright 2019 Edible Garden Trail Blue Mountains. 
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