A warm welcome to the Fielding Kitchen Garden Page. Scroll down for a worm's eye view of what we get up to in gardening lessons, and read the children's reports in their garden blog.
Tuesday 15th January - Space Tree News
We've had an email from the National Trust, and there's good and bad news on the Space Tree competition. The Space Saplings have got mildew, so they're going to be kept at Kew Gardens until they're healthy again. This means the competition results won't be announced at the end of January, but probably March or April instead.
But the GOOD news is that everyone who entered the competition will get some apple pips from Sir Isaac Newton's famous tree. So even if we don't win a sapling, we'll still be able to grow a very special apple tree in our orchard. In the meantime, please enjoy these pictures of 5F working their socks off.
Monday 14th January
5H dived into the first gardening lesson of 2019 with bags of enthusiasm. This term we're getting ready for spring - sandpapering the raised beds, weeding the garden, digging a bed for the fruit bushes, making paper pots and transplanting the seedlings we planted last term. Year 5 are building up a useful set of gardening skills and believing in themselves as real gardeners.
Our chicken task this term is turning the chickens over, so we can check their feathers for mites. This month's value is self-belief - something you definitely need to turn a chicken upside down - and as you can see, Year 5 have it by the bucket load.
Happy New Year!
THANK YOU to all our wonderful volunteers for looking after the chickens over Christmas. You've done an amazing job - Rosa, Florence, Victoria and Elizabeth are all happy, healthy and cheeky as ever.
If you missed out on looking after the chickens over the holidays, don't worry - there will be plenty of opportunities this year. And if any parents would like to help out in their child's gardening lessons, you are REALLY welcome - it's great fun, and the children get more out of their activities with a little extra help.
Wednesday 19th December
MERRY CHRISTMAS and a very HAPPY NEW YEAR from the Kitchen Garden! Thank you to all the children for your huge enthusiasm for gardening and chicken-handling - it's wonderful to see your growing confidence. Thank you to all our fabulous holiday volunteers, and to regulars Sue and Bryony for turning up whatever the weather.
Tuesday 18th December
WE HAVE OUR WINNERS!
A huge thank you to the fabulous Forest School judges for choosing Fielding's entry to the Space Tree Competition from Year 6's excellent shortlist. Gardeners from across the school have been coming up with amazing ideas all term, so choosing the winners was a very difficult job.
We can now finally reveal that the winning title is...
and the winning idea is...
A SPACE MAZE (2S, 3H, 4H, 5S)
Congratulations to the classes who came up with these wonderful ideas, and to all the Fielding gardeners for being so creative and enthusiastic when we discussed the Space Tree project in our gardening lessons.
What happens next? The competition deadline is midnight on 1st January 2019. There are 8 Space Trees up for grabs, and entries from all over the UK will be judged by The UK Space Agency, The National Trust and Kew Gardens. Watch this space (and keep your fingers crossed).
Competition details here.
Friday 14th December
WE HAVE A SHORTLIST! Year 6 have voted on the longlist for the Space Tree Competition, and the shortlist they created will be presented to our ace panel of judges at the Forest School on Monday. We'll announce the winning ideas soon afterwards - and let you know which classes they came from.
"Today we chose a name for the apple tree competition and we also replanted the strawberries. My favourite part was doing the four chicken challenge. We also planted red salad in the polytunnel."
- Georgi, 6F
"We enjoyed digging holes for the strawberries to grow in and sowing lettuce seeds. Our favourite part of today was doing the four chicken challenge. We voted on the shortlist for the space tree. We enjoyed today as we have had lots of fun as a class. Can't wait for the competition result..."
- Sofia & Coral, 6F
Monday 10th December
WE HAVE A LONGLIST! Since October, the Fielding gardeners have been coming up with ideas for our entry to the Space Tree Competition. For anyone who doesn't know, Tim Peake took some apple pips from Isaac Newton's apple tree to the International Space Station, where they spent six months floating in microgravity. They've now grown into saplings, and we're entering the competition to try and win one for Fielding. The competition has sparked many exciting conversations in gardening lessons about Newton, gravity, physics and life on other planets. Many thanks to Mille Cycon (Charlie and Chloe's Mum) for coming up with the idea. More details of the competition here.
This week, Year 6 have the job of whittling down the longlist to a shortlist, which will go to our judging panel early next week. Want to know more - watch this "space". (Sorrynotsorry).
Thursday 6th December
Year 1 are LEGENDS.
Thursday 29th November
Advent is coming (because that's what Advent does), and Year 2 have been filling the garden with festive cheer. They're brightening up the last two tepees in the raised beds with Christmas tree decorations, and we're hoping Year 1 will continue the job next week. If you'd like to help them out, please bring any spare tinsel or baubles to the garden gate (we now have a jolly post box).
Year 2 are already kicking off next year's growing season by planting seeds in the polytunnel - kohl rabi, good king henry, salad leaves, kale, chard, mint, radishes, choi sum and namenia so far. We're also planting dozens of sweet peas in the toilet rolls you kindly donated - ready to fill the garden with pollinating insects and delicious fragrance next summer.
Thursday 22nd November
The polytunnel is empty! Years 3,4,5 & 6 have been clearing the polytunnel since half term and chopping up the dead plants for the compost heap. 3S finished the job today, and now we're ready to plant hundreds more seeds over winter and spring.
Years 1 & 2 - over to you!
Wednesday 21st November
Great philosophical point from 3P in today's lesson:
"Saying there are no aliens in space is like filling a jug with water from the ocean, and saying there are no fish in the sea because there are no fish in your jug."
Tuesday 20th November
3F braved the wind and the rain to search for seeds, pod beans, cut back dying plants, play with the chickens and decorate the constellation trees. Don't forget to wrap up warm for your gardening lessons - it's definitely a 3-layer week in the garden this week!
Monday 12th November
"At the start of the lesson we had a brain break to get calm and ready for the lesson. Then we had a look around the garden and saw what was different and added plants. After that we cut down all plants that were yellow and brown and were dead.
Next, Ellie introduced us to the Space Tree competition and we decorated the constellation trees and came up with ideas to win the space tree and decided what we will do with it.
The last part of the lesson was to dig out the compost and find out what lives in there. The best part was when we went into the orchard and picked up and balanced the chickens on our arms, shoulders, backs and necks."
- Lucy 4F
Friday 9th November
"Today when we came to the allotment, we looked around. Me and my friends were really surprised when we saw loads of tinfoil already. Then we started cutting the old plants and putting them in the compost bin - it smelt disgusting. When we finished, we separated into groups and looked for cool things. Afterwards we decided on ideas to win the space tree. Then we put the chickens on our backs, heads and shoulders. It was so crazy, we absolutely loved it!"
- Lia, 5S
Thursday 8th November
"Today we came up with ideas of what to call a science project. It's a massive competition that loads of people are participating in, and if you win you get one of the apple trees that grew in space. We brought in silver things to decorate the constellations. We used tin foil to decorate the trees with."
- Adeline, 6P
"Once we arrived in the allotment we walked to the orchard to do a brain break. We were given special scissors to cut the dead plants and put them in the compost to decompose into soil. We used forks to find unwanted things in the compost. We found glue sticks, nails and the top of a pineapple which hadn't yet decomposed.
After that, we were told about a competition to win the seeds that Tim Peake took into space - and we were entering!!! We thought of names for the project and my group chose 'Intergalactic Allotments'. We decorated constellation trees and took out the seeds of beans. We compared and contrasted metamorphosis and evolution. Finally, we balanced chickens on out arms, backs and even heads! Gardening is ALWAYS SO FUN!"
- Katie, 6P
Monday 5th November
"Today in our gardening session we went into the orchard and had a brain break like we do to start every gardening lesson. After that, we had some sharp scissors and went to cut down any dead plants. We put them in the compost heap afterwards. Next we had some mud in front of us from the compost heap and searched for any living things inside it.
Then the class designed their constellation trees with lots of silver objects such as tin foil and tinsel. After we had designed the trees, we sat down and learned about gravity and what a mutant is. We also looked at chicken physics before going to the orchard and putting chickens on our shoulders and backs. One chicken stayed on my arm for a long time before another one went on my other shoulder. A few minutes later, they came down, but another one went on my head.
After that, we came back to the benches and sadly, the gardening session was over."
- Jake, 5H
Friday 2nd November
"Today was a great day in Gardening. We tidied up the garden by cutting all the brown leaves and stems. Then we dug up the compost to see what living things were in there for Forensics Science. We talked about Space Science and decorated our Constellation Trees with silver things like tin foil.
Next we did some Physics Science with the chickens and balanced them on different parts of our body and we talked about the force. It was a fun day!"
- Matylda, 6F
"Today was amazing. We held the chickens on our arms and backs. We are entering a competition to win a space tree and everyone gets the chance to name it and then if we win we might get it and put it in a special pot."
- Georgi, 6F
Friday 2nd November (Part 2)
First frost of the season this morning - we bring you early morning pictures of the garden looking sparkly and beautiful. Also huge thanks to Fay, Sue and Bryony for helping with our Halloween lesson this week - we had a wicked time with 6P. Having parent helpers in the garden is wonderful - the children get to be more adventurous with the tools and the whole atmosphere is extremely jolly. Let your class teacher know if you'd like to help during your child's lesson, or email Ellie at firstname.lastname@example.org - the more the merrier!
Thursday 1st November
"Today we helped the plants decompose by chopping off dead leaves. Then we decorated our new Constellation Trees with tinfoil and silver objects. We also discovered about physics by putting chickens on our backs and arms!"
- Sophie, 6S
"Today we decomposed plants and were being forensic scientists (which is the science of doing clues). Then we thought about ways to get Tim Peake's apple pips for Fielding and we wrote down ideas. Then we decorated our trees with tinfoil which was fun. Unfortunately because of the rain we couldn't get the chickens on us so we fed them seeds and corn. Believe it or not, we also ate NETTLES!"
- Adris, 6S
Monday 29th October
"Today we were talking about gravity and why Tim Peake brought apple seeds to space. Before that we started taking off the dead plants and putting them on the compost heap. It wasn't that pleasant! After that we fed the chickens with corn and picked them up to hold."
- Izzy, 6H
Hope you've all had a lovely half term and you're ready to roll up your sleeves from some Autumn gardening. WEAR WARM CLOTHES for your gardening lessons - it's getting chilly out there.
But the weather won't slow us down - this half term the Kitchen Garden is travelling to Outer Space, to try and win one of the apple saplings from Tim Peake's "Pips In Space" project. We're also building Constellation Trees in the garden, and asking everyone to bring something silver to their lesson. Kitchen foil, tinsel, chocolate wrappers, ribbon, cake trays (no, YOU had a mince pie in October) - anything that will stand up to the weather and make the garden look cheerful. And if you are awash with silver things (who isn't?) we'd love your glittery donations at the garden gate.
Finally, the best-ever description of a felt tip running out comes from Mari in 1S:
"Miss - my pen's feeling downhearted."
Monday 15th October
1H brightened up a grey day by picking orange and yellow nasturtiums and marigolds from the garden. They created a series of vibrant MasterChef-quality salads which they took to the dining hall for lunch. Self-sufficient and stylish - what more could you ask?
A huge thank you to superstar Mille Cycon for finding us the sturdiest of wooden bookcases and the smartest of bricks for our Bug Hotel. The children have been making bundles of sticks to fill the hotel and after half term we'll start decorating it, so our pollinators and predators can spend the winter in 5 star luxury.
Thank you also to the fabulous Bryony Fox for volunteering every week - the garden is a lot smarter and healthier with her around, and she's a whizz with the chickens. We're looking forward to welcoming a couple more volunteers next week - and very happy for you to come and do a trial run if you're free any day between 8.45 and 12.45.
Year 1 are making fancy salads with edible flowers next week, so here's a couple of pictures before they eat all the nasturtiums. And a cucamelon, cutest vegetable in the garden.
If you would like to volunteer in the school Kitchen Garden, we would LOVE to have you! It can be for as long or as little as you like - just pop in and see Ellie at morning drop off, or email email@example.com
We would also love any spare envelopes you have, to store seeds in. Donations can be left in the box by the garden gate.
In the meantime, check out the humungous spider 3F found in the polytunnel, the ladybird larvae on the bean poles, and how hard Year 3 are working in the garden!
Friday 28th September
"Holding the chickens was so much fun and Rosa was especially squirmy. It was an amazing experience because not everyone gets to say they held a chicken the day before their birthday at school. Our school is amazing. We're so lucky and Ellie's so nice."
- Alya & Ellie, 4S
"When we held the chickens they sometimes would fly away and then everyone screams. We're growing a poem, also we went outside onto the edge of the field and we collected some sticks for the Bug Hotel. It was really fun!"
- Margaux, 4S
Wednesday 26th September
"Today I enjoyed making potato salad. And I picked up the chicken and hugged it, and the chickens are so soft. It was fun."
- Jasmin, 4P
"I enjoyed hugging a chicken today, I also enjoyed writing a letter for a poem. I enjoyed feeding the chickens."
- Sofia, 4P
Tuesday 25th September
"I was so excited for this day to come. So far I have had a very nice day. I had a very exciting time picking up chickens, drawing a letter and starting a bug house. The excitement was definitely worth it."
- Alice, 4F
""This day was amazing, I had so much fun. My letter was really fun and colourful and so were my friends'."
- Max, 4F
Monday 24th September
"I was cleaning out the chickens' poo. It was fun but gooey. I loved it."
- Maisie, 4H
"I was using the secateurs today to cut the dead plants and put them in the compost bin, and it was so much fun. Keep the good gardening up!
- Archie, 4H
"I felt very energetic. It was very fun, we picked up chickens and added to the bug hotel."
- Zac, 4H
"I felt energetic. I enjoyed picking up Victoria."
- Isabella, 4H
Friday 21st September
5S pointed out it's the Autumn Equinox this weekend - when the sun passes over the equator from the Northern to the Southern hemisphere and the nights become longer than the days. But fear not! We're still producing "more and more, later flowers for the bees" as Keats would say, and sowing fast-growing salad crops while the weather is still warm. Value of the month? Perseverance!
Thursday 20th September 2018
Turning the compost heap is a weirdly popular activity this term. 5P described it as "disgusting fun" in today's lesson. Digging around the trees in the orchard to look for minibeasts was another favourite activity - "look at the size of that worm!" They also described pollinating insects as "the heroes of the garden." 5P are definitely a creative bunch - grubby, but creative. First lesson in the rain today!
Tuesday 18th September
It was 5F's turn in the garden - they did a great job of watering the plants and making rooms for the Bug Hotel and came up with some wonderful designs for the letters in our Autumn poem. We collected four more eggs this morning - the eggs will be on sale at this Friday's cake stall after school - your chance to try an egg from a celebrity chicken!
Monday 17th September
Lots of treats for our celebrity chickens from 5H today. We dug up the grass around the trees ready for a good mulch of compost, and discovered lots of juicy worms and insects. Then we fed the chickens by hand with another favourite treat - corn mix.
If you missed our chickens on TV you can watch a clip here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-england-london-45524795/teacher-s-peck-meet-the-pupils-rearing-chickens-in-london
Friday 14th September
The chickens are going to be on telly!* The compost heap won an award! It's only the first week back! Here's 6F...
"Today we have enjoyed picking up chickens and digging up grass. Picking up the chickens was our favourite part as we enjoyed the soft feathers. We saw how the plants had grown since our last lesson in the summer. We also read a very descriptive poem about Autumn and the plants in our allotment. We had great fun feeding the chickens worms and other tasty snacks. This was by far the best day of the week! :)"
- Sofia 6F
"Today I have enjoyed picking up the chickens and cooking. Best day ever!"
- Ryam 6F
*The chickens will be on Inside Out, BBC1 on Monday 17th September at 7.30pm.
Thursday 13th September
"Today we had a really fun time. We dug up soil and found lots of insects, therefore the chickens went nuts! We also dried squash seeds in two pieces of tissue to store them. We decorated letters to write a whole poem around the garden! Last but not least, we held the chickens and fed them seeds."
- Immi, 6S
"We had a fun time picking up the chickens and cooking some nice food. I hope 6S does this again. Thank you."
- Hassan, 6S
Wednesday 12th September
"Today we had an amazing time gardening. We did a variety of activities, ranging from holding the chickens to drawing a letter based on a poem about Autumn and Winter. Since we last saw the polytunnel it has become an overgrown jungle!"
- Girisha, 6P
Tuesday 11th September
What's going on in the Kitchen Garden this term?
We've got lots of delicious vegetables to harvest for cooking lessons - including a stunning array of squashes and beans. The chickens are laying four eggs a day and they're bigger than they were last term. We're busy sowing seeds - making the most of the warm weather with some quick- growing salad crops, and looking forward to Spring with onions, garlic and broad beans. The Values Planters look marvellous set up around the garden, giving us plenty of extra growing space. We're also collecting and storing seeds from the garden to sow next year.
We've started two whole-school projects for this half of term. We're growing a poem - "To Autumn" by John Keats - building it up one letter at a time around the garden. We've got a lot of the plants Keats writes about in our garden - it's lovely to read it surrounded by "vines" and "gourds."
Keats writes about insects too - our other big project is the Bug Hotel, a place where our wonderful pollinating insects can hibernate, ready to get to work for us in Spring. We'd love donations to help build it - especially a wooden bookcase if anyone is having an Autumn clear-out!
Monday 10th September
"Today we made letters to make a poem. Then we watered the garden, and dug up some dirt for the trees. Finally we held the chickens!"
- Hochi, 6H
"We did a poem, and me and Aaron turned the compost heap over. It felt good."
- Hamzah, 6H
6H kicked off the gardening year in style - they started our "Grow A Poem" project and laid the foundations of a giant Bug Hotel to keep our insect pollinators and predators safe over winter. They also got stuck in to some useful Autumn jobs - watering the plants, turning the compost heap and digging up the grass around the trees in the orchard, ready for a lovely nutritious mulch around the roots. Afterwards we released the chickens - who raced out gleefully to peck up all the juicy worms and insects we uncovered.
Wednesday 5th September
It was marvellous to see the children racing back to see the chickens and check out what's changed in the garden. Thanks to our brilliant summer volunteers, there's plenty to explore.
One of our garden projects this term is building a 5 star Bug Hotel, to keep all our pollinating insects happy over winter. We'd love donations of things bugs like to hibernate in - like bamboo canes, pinecones, bricks and bark.
There's one really big donation we'd like - an old wooden bookcase as the frame for the Bug Hotel - if you can help, please drop by the garden any morning, or email Ellie - firstname.lastname@example.org
And come and say hello anyway!
Saturday 1st September
Welcome back everyone - and three cheers for all the wonderful volunteers who looked after the chickens and the garden over the summer. You've done an amazing job!
Thursday 19th July
Wishing you all a fantastic summer holiday - looking forward to seeing you back in the garden in September.
Three cheers for the marvellous bunch of volunteers who are keeping our plants watered and the chickens fed over the summer. Here's a quick how-to guide for everyone helping out during the holidays, and anyone who would like to volunteer in the future.
We're hoping to have our own water supply soon, in the meantime the hose attaches to the tap outside 3F. It's long enough to reach the fruit bushes along the fence and all the trees in the orchard. Don't feel you have to water the whole garden at once, the plants will be fine if you do it over a couple of days. Push down the red clip on the hose to leave the water on and do other things (like pick up a chicken). If the water stops suddenly, you've probably got a kink in the hose - straighten it out and you're back in business. If it rains, you only need to water inside the polytunnel.
There are two bags just inside the shed. One is chicken pellets - a scoop full is enough for one day. The second bag contains grit - this keeps the eggshells hard and helps the chickens grind up food in their crop. Add a handful of grit to the pellets, then pour the mixture into their feed container inside the chicken run. Our chickens love salad and fruit - especially watermelon - if you have any spare.
You can fill the water container from the hose - tip it upside down, unscrew the red base and fill the white container with water. When you've finished, make sure you screw the red base on properly before you turn it the right way up, otherwise you'll get very wet legs. Not that anybody's ever made this mistake, no sir...
The Garden Fairy will be in and out to do other jobs, like clean out the chickens, but if you fancy giving it a go, you'll find straw, a black bucket and a dustpan and brush inside the shed. Please feed the compost heap with straw and chicken droppings - they make fantastic compost!
Monday 16th July
Check out the newest arrivals in the garden!
Friday 13th July
The garden was alive with pollinating insects for the final lesson of term, as 1S foraged for the last vegetables (courgettes, cucumbers, chard, kale, cabbage, beans and nasturtiums) and the chickens laid another two eggs (45 and counting).
Hats off to the herbs which have been picked, sniffed and tasted by everyone from Year 6 to Year 1. These noble plants will now be allowed to grow on undisturbed over the summer, ready to supply us with tasty ingredients next term.
Thursday 12th July
A quick reminder to summer allotment volunteers - there are training sessions after morning drop off on Monday 16th and Wednesday 18th July. If you can't make these times, or you haven't received your email, please contact email@example.com - thank you!
Cries of, "Try this one, try this one!" and "Ugh, that's disgusting!" in the garden this morning as 1P went on a herb hunt. There are certain herbs that nearly everybody loves (lemon balm, mint), those that completely divide opinion (chives, basil) and one herb that wins the prize for the most-hated by every single year group (take a bow, sage). But sage is supposed to cure flatulence, and if there's one thing we've achieved in the garden this term, it's that every child now knows what flatulence means.
Wednesday 11th July
A lovely day for a brain break.
Tuesday 10th July
Good grief, we thought the chickens had escaped at lunchtime. Every child on the field suddenly screamed at the sky in unison. (Just imagine that for a moment). But it wasn't Rosa, Florence, Victoria and Elizabeth swooping overhead in formation, it was the Red Arrows. Bet our girls could, though, if they wanted to.
1F were beyond excited to be in the garden at last - they gave a great demonstration of how to pick up a chicken when it's almost as big as you are, ably assisted by some helpful Year 6 girls. We had lots of lovely volunteers in the garden at lunchtime - watering, sowing seeds, transplanting beans and sunflowers and keeping the chickens company. It's a joy to see children getting increasingly confident with different gardening skills.
Monday 9th July
The mighty 1H were in the garden today, proving you don't need big hands to pick up a chicken. We spotted plenty of insects which have been attracted to the garden now the flowers are out - bumble bees, honey bees, butterflies and ladybirds, all busy pollinating plants or chomping on blackfly. The chickens have been busy too - 9 eggs over the weekend!
A quick reminder to pick up your scarecrow from the garden fence by Friday afternoon - the school takes no responsibility for any scarecrow which comes to life and subsequently wanders off with a tin man, a lion and a girl named Dorothy.
Friday 6th July
The A Team
WOW - the summer volunteer list is FULL! Thank you so much to everyone who signed up, you are now members of The Allotment Team, watch your inbox for further instructions. If you didn't get on the list this time, don't worry, there will be plenty of other opportunities. It's not too late to drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org if you can do some watering over the next couple of weeks. A muddy High Five to all the parents and carers who manned the hose during sports week!
2S were on watering duty today and made a fine job of it. We had a record number of Year 2 chicken-picker-uppers; a big thank you to the lovely children who held chickens for their less confident classmates to stroke. 2S also gave us a demonstration of what happens if your thumbs aren't over the chicken's wings.
What are the loo rolls for?
Thank you for all the donations of toilet roll middles - we can now reveal that they've been stacked in trays and filled with soil ready to sow yet more seeds. Hundreds of biodegradable plant pots, absolutely free.
The Magic Compost Bucket
The PTFA left a bucket full of compost in the garden after the school fair, and it has magical properties. Sunflower seedlings have been popping up in the bucket all week. We've planted them in the giant raised bed and confidently expect them to lead us to an enchanted land in the sky by September.
Thursday 5th July
You guys are amazing! Only 24 hours after calling for summer volunteers, the list was almost full. There are two slots left at the end of August, so please sign up soon or email email@example.com if you're interested.
2P had a terrific morning in the garden - they found beans, lettuce courgettes and a whopper of a cucumber to take to the kitchen for a monster salad. Picking up a chicken was harder than they thought - special shout-out to Marcus and Mia W for persisting even though they were nervous. Mia ended up parading around with a chicken under her arm, even holding it over the fence to show Mr. Winn.
Wednesday 4th July - Scarecrow Picture Gallery
Your scarecrows are incredible, and we'd love a record of them for posterity. If you have a picture of your child with their scarecrow and you'd like to see it on the website, please email a photo to Ellie at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll add them to our picture gallery. Libby from RF has got the ball rolling with her epic Stormtrooper.
If you weren't lucky enough to win a place in the Kitchen Garden and you'd like to keep your scarecrow, please collect it by next Friday, 13th July. Congratulations to everyone who took part - what an amazing array of heroes and villains!
Tuesday 3rd July
2H really love their herbs - and some of them REALLY love their herbs (looking at you, Francis). Hopefully there'll be some left for 2P and 2S at the end of the week. Luckily the other plants are really taking off in the warm weather. We've got tons of green tomatoes, baby cucumbers and courgettes popping out all over the place, and the squashes are tumbling out of the raised beds and heading off to take over the garden. Hopefully when we get back in September there will be lots of lovely plump squashes and pumpkins waiting for us, along with melons, beans and cucamelons. A massive thank you to the parents who've already signed up to water these little beauties over the summer.
Monday 2nd July - Volunteers wanted!
"If you've got a garden, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire... The A Team."
A is for Allotment, and if you fancy a spot of chicken-sitting and watering the school garden over the summer, we want you on The Allotment Team. The Fielding Holiday Club have kindly agreed to look after the chickens and water the garden where they can, but there are some key dates when they're not around.
Look for the sign-up sheet by the garden gate from tomorrow - we're asking volunteers to feed the chickens (hopefully they'll provide you with eggs in return) and water the orchard, garden and polytunnel. The list is divided into 2 or 3 day slots so it's not too onerous, but feel free to sign up for more than one slot if you like. Full instructions will follow by email and we'll post a how-to guide on the website.
And if you'd like to volunteer during term-time (maybe a spot of watering while you're watching Sports Day?) please email Ellie at email@example.com
Huge thanks in advance - together we can get the garden looking amazing when the children come back in September.
Sunday 1st July
Congratulations to the six winners of our Scarecrow Competition - your marvellous creations are now standing guard over Fielding's fruit and vegetables. All the scarecrows look wonderful lined up against the garden fence - high five to everyone who entered. The chickens have laid 5 more eggs in celebration.
Friday 29th June
2F couldn't wait until next week, so they had their gardening and cooking lesson early - and they were absolutely brilliant. They managed to find courgettes, beans and cucumbers to take to the kitchen and they noticed a lot of insects arriving in the garden - bees diving in and out of the squash flowers, a butterfly capering round the polytunnel and ladybirds searching for aphids on the nasturtiums. The blackfly are gathering under the nasturtium leaves - as well as being tasty in salads, nasturtiums attract blackfly away from other plants.
Thursday 28th June
"Today we brought jars to school and used wet cloths in the jar. Also we put a runner bean into the jar then stuck a sticker on the jar and wrote the bean's name, also decorated the sticker."
- Lila 3S
"Today we got to hold a chicken and one of the chickens was really flappy, but the others kept on running away."
- Chloe 3S
Wednesday 27th June - Breaking Egg News
Mrs Hodge had her school egg this evening - with a double yolk! The odds of getting a double yolk are about one in a thousand... the odds of two double yolks in a row (remember Mr. Dunmall's breakfast?) are one in a million.
Rosa, Florence, Victoria and Elizabeth - we salute you.
Wednesday 27th June
There's no stopping the Fielding chickens - they've laid 9 eggs in the last week! Here are the two most popular egg-based questions:
Do you know which hen laid the egg?
No, because they lay their eggs inside the coop. But you can definitely tell when they're laying - they all pile in together and make a huge racket.
Who gets the eggs?
We're giving the eggs to your teachers. (No, Mr. Winn, you can't have two).
Here's today's blog from 3P:
"I held a chicken today, it was so cool and the chicken was so fluffy. Luckily it didn't hit me with its wings, but other people were unlucky. The chicken was very calm, which was a big relief as some of them ran away!"
"It was a sweltering day for cooking and gardening. Firstly we did some cooking, we ate kale, red cabbage and lettuce we washed and chopped, which was really fun. Then we started gardening, we took a really helpful brain break, then we did a herb hunt, which was epic, then we held chickens which I'd never done before!"
Tuesday 26th June
Another celebrity visit today - School Governor David Millican dropped by to meet 3F and pick up a chicken. Here's 3F's take on the morning:
"It was a really fun day in the garden and kitchen because we got to taste different vegetables that some of us never tried, cleaning up and exploring the kitchen and my most favourite thing was getting everything and putting everything back in its place. In the garden I enjoyed going to see the chickens, the herb hunt and my most favourite thing - making our beans COME ALIVE! The thing I didn't like was going in the greenhouse because it was SO hot in there."
- Lucy O
"We had a really fun day in the garden and kitchen, because in the kitchen we did some taste testing, cutting and washing. I had fun in the garden because we tasted some herbs, my favourite was the mint leaf. We also picked some vegetables and tasted them. We also fed the chickens, they most liked watermelon. I was holding a tomato, they didn't really eat it. My favourite thing was holding the chickens."
Monday 25th June
We always knew our chickens were special, but today Mr Dunmall reported that the first egg from the Fielding chickens had a double yolk! Year 3 are in the garden this week - here's a double report from 3H to celebrate our double yolker:
"First we had cooking, we dug up things to chop and eat, then we had gardening, we picked up chickens with Ellie, it was so much fun. We got to go into the greenhouse; really hot and really fun. Here's some more information about the chickens: Breaking News - the chickens have laid 5 eggs, that means more chickens to pick up and more eggs when they grow up. When you pick up the chickens you get a photo that gets put on the website. Thank you for reading this."
- Archie 3H
"First we had cooking where we dug up vegetables and took them to the kitchen where we washed, cut and served them. Then we did some mindful tasting. Then we made our way over to the garden and tried different herbs, then we had a herb hunt. We went to the orchard to feed and pick up the chickens, it was fun because we each got to have a turn. When we pick up a chicken we have to hold the wings with our thumbs and hold under the chicken with our fingers. That was not all we did, but it was fun."
- Anoushka 3H
Sunday 24th June
A busy weekend for Florence, Rosa, Elizabeth and Victoria - eggs three and four have arrived!
Friday 22nd June
"Today we got to hold the chickens and found out the chickens laid a second egg."
- Henry, 4S
It's all about the eggs this week - but the plants are doing well too. Rosie, Matilda and Fedor from Year 6 brought back their beans-in-a-jar; we've got courgettes and cucumbers growing in the polytunnel and the aubergines are starting to flower. The squash and tomato seeds sown by RS before half term are going into the main beds, and should be huge when the class comes back as 1S in September.
Melons and cucamelons which we grew from seed are gradually being planted out in the polytunnel, along with more aubergines, tomatoes and cucumbers to replace the plants being used in cooking lessons. The strawberries are ripening outside, but mysteriously disappear almost as soon as they turn red. It's probably the birds... bring on the scarecrows!
Friday 22nd June
More breaking news - RP dropped by for a visit this morning, only to find the chickens had laid a second egg!
What's happening to the School Eggs, you ask? Well, the first one has gone on a tour of the Reception classes with Mr Webb and the second (come closer)… the second egg is on a top secret mission with International Rescue...
Thursday 21st June
It's Midsummer's Day and the chickens have laid their first egg! The School Egg has been on a celebratory tour of the garden to meet some of the other new arrivals, including a tiny squash, a couple of mini cucumbers and a small green tomato.
Wednesday 20th June
Even more excitement than usual in the kitchen garden today, with a celebrity guest and the return of our very first bean-in-a-jar. But first let's hear from 4P:
"Today at gardening we started by talking about what goes into the compost heap, then we did a herb hunt because Group A hid several different herbs in pots labelled with letters of the alphabet; we marked them and got to taste them. After that we planted beans in jars then filled up watering cans and went round the allotment watering plants. Lastly we went into the fruit orchard and played with the chickens and Bryony showed us a chicken's bum."
- Elizabeth, 4P
A special visitor today - Sara Ward from Hen Corner kindly gave us lots of advice about keeping chickens, followed by a masterclass in picking them up and cuddling them. We learnt that chickens love a good dust bath and will do anything for a handful of corn. Sara inspected our chickens and said they're healthy, close to laying and are the tamest chickens she's ever met - probably because of all the hugs they've had from Fielding children and staff ever since they were born. She also showed us how to look at a chicken's bottom, which our lovely volunteer Bryony demonstrated with great enthusiasm when Group B arrived in the orchard.
Another first for the garden at lunchtime - Noah in 6F was the first to bring back his bean-in-a-jar, which has grown to a terrific size. M.C. Beanz now has pride of place in one of our raised beds.
Tuesday 19th June
"In gardening we had a little herb hunt to see which herbs we liked the most. I have enjoyed doing the herb hunt, it was fun but also confusing. Also we were trying to pick up chickens - most of us tried and we did it (I didn't make it though)."
- Miranda, 4H
Monday 18th June
"This half term we have been focusing on cooking and gardening. In cooking we have been doing safety in the kitchen and picking vegetables from the polytunnel. Also we have been doing mindful tasting and using equipment to chop up the vegetables we picked. We tried spinach, kale, lettuce and carrots. Some of them were delicious and some weren't as good for different people.
In gardening we looked at herbs and used mindful senses to approach them. We went on a herb hunt to match the herbs to the correct information. We planted some runner beans using only paper cloths, sunlight and water, and placed these in our jam jars. At the very end we picked up chickens and Victoria was the easiest to pick up, whereas Florence, Rosa and Elizabeth kept running away. We had a great time."
- Tristan & Joshua C, 4F
Friday 15th June
Thank you so much to the anonymous donors who've given us everything from jam jars and loo rolls to cinnamon basil seeds and a lovely bunch of tomato plants in an M&S bag. These are no ordinary tomatoes, these are M&S tomatoes....
5S finished the week in fine style, impressing Mrs Hodge with their chicken-handling skills. Here's their blog:
"Today I went to the fantastic allotment, we tasted herbs and did a treasure hunt for different herbs, we watered plants and ate strawberries. Some herbs I tried were chives and rosemary and I put aloe vera on my hands. My favourite activity was feeding and handling the chickens.
In the kitchen I tried lettuce and cabbage from the allotment then I compared the lettuce with ones that were bought from a shop. We prepared the lettuce to eat by washing it, chopping it and then putting it in a bowl. All in all the allotment is fun and I love it."
Thursday 14th June
A tiny cucumber! A miniscule gherkin! Mrs Hodge hugging a chicken! 5P had a whale of a time in the garden today - here's their blog:
"Today we got to hold chickens, we also got to feed them. Me and my friends did a quiz with different herbs."
- Katie O
"Today we went on a herb hunt. We had to try and find out what the herb is, some tasted nice but some tasted really bad, like sage. We also got to hold chickens; you had to be patient and calm. It was the funnest part."
- Katie K
Wednesday 13th June
Hooray for the Fielding Kitchen Team! They're supplying the compost heap with huge amounts of fruit and vegetable peelings from school lunches. With paper from the classroom recycling boxes and a little help from the chickens, the heap is filling up nicely. In a few months we'll have our own top-quality Fielding compost to feed the plants, then feed ourselves, then the cycle starts all over again...
It's time to introduce the chickens: the most confident chicken is Rosa, who has the palest feathers. Florence is the largest of the dark-feathered hens. Victoria and Elizabeth are smaller and tend to hang around together, you can tell them apart because Victoria has a black beak. They're named after inspirational women - Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth, Rosa Parks and Florence Nightingale. They're all very pleased to meet you.
Tuesday 12th June
5F Fed The Heap in fine style today - Group 1 ripped up papers from their recycling box and Group 2 scooped up bucketloads of grass clippings from the school field. Along with a generous dose of fruit and veg waste from the school kitchen, the compost heap will be steaming away in no time.
It was lovely to see children who found it easier to pick up a chicken helping those who found it tricky - something that's happened in every lesson so far. Here's today's blog:
"This morning was very fun because we got a chance to hunt and eat some herbs (the sage was very disgusting). We liked feeding the compost heap with fat wads of grass. At the end we got to pick up some chickens and we had to be very calm but confident. Then we fed them with salad and fruit."
- by Matylda & Jessica
The level of the six beds in the centre of the garden has been raised so we can pile in more compost and grow more fruit and veg.
We've chosen the Three Sisters planting scheme: Native Americans traditionally grew sweetcorn (maize), climbing beans and squash together. The sweetcorn provided a structure for beans to climb up, the beans fix nitrogen in the soil which feeds the other plants, and the wide leaves of the squash shade the soil to suppress weeds and keep the moisture in. They also buried fish as a fertilizer but we've gone for seaweed granules.
Corn, beans and squash contain complex carbohydrates, essential fatty acids and all eight essential amino acids. There's a Fielding twist to the planting scheme - because the beds are raised, we can also grow edible trailing plants to flop over the edge, so we've added strawberries, nasturtiums and tumbling tomatoes. Now all we have to do is water and wait...
Monday 11th June
It's Year 5's turn for Gardening and Cooking lessons this week and 5H were the first to dig up some homegrown lettuces and compare them to supermarket salads.
We've been talking about the history of herbs as well as tasting them - Coriander and Sage were believed to cure flatulence. A round of applause, please, for Jenna in 5H, who's the first person to know what flatulence means.
Florence, Rosa, Victoria and Elizabeth are still the most popular members of the garden team - 5H soon worked out you need to be very calm and assertive in order to successfully pick up a chicken.
Sunday 10th June
Behold The Demonstration Bean! This chap was popped in a jar at half term for the Fielding Runner Bean Challenge, so he's about a week ahead of the Year 6 beans. You should see the bean germinate in your jar within a week. The root pops out first, then the bean splits open and the green shoot appears. Don't forget to water your bean, and bring it in if you'd like it planted in the School Garden.
Friday 8th June
The secret is out - 6S is a class full of Chicken Whisperers. They really got the hang of gentle yet assertive chicken-scooping and even Miss Drage and Mr Thomas were tempted to join in. Here's today's Garden Blog:
"I think it was really fun holding a chicken and planting my own seed in a jar. The Herb Hunt was really fun, you get to try lots of herbs, some good, some bad (personally I hated all of the herbs).
- Nicola (aka Bob the Chicken Expert).
"Today 6S went to see the chickens and the school garden, it was great. Once the chickens were out of their hutch a slightly nervous class began to close in and the chicken experts made their entrance!"
- Shangwe (Another Chicken Expert)
Wednesday 6th June
6F put the value of Assertiveness into action today as they discovered you have to be gentle yet confident to pick up a chicken. They got an extra DIY lesson when Ciaran came over to put in our giant 12 metre raised bed and told them about life growing up on a farm. Here's today's garden blog:
"We got to taste, smell and feel different types of herbs. Some people liked the herbs but others didn't. We got to play Herb Hunters where we found out which herb was which, and planted our own runner beans in jars. At the end of the lesson we got to pick up, stroke and carry the chickens. It isn't as easy as it looks!"
- Chloe & Laila
Tuesday 5th June
6P have invented Compost Heap Therapy, which involves ripping up old classwork from the 6P recycling box and flinging it into the compost bin. There was plenty of assertive chicken-handling and some high-scoring herb hunters. Here's what they had to say about the morning:
"Today was a fun day because when we were doing gardening we got to do a game called Herb Hunters. It was really fun, you were supposed to look at the plants with letters on them and name which herb was the letter. We also got to hold the chickens (female), they were really cute, but some of the chickens ran away from the children. It was really fun, everybody found it fun."
"I really enjoyed going round and naming the herbs as it was interesting to see what things were. I also enjoyed holding the chickens as they were really soft and calm."
"Today was the best day ever! I HELD A CHICKEN! It was so fun and I loved it. Hope we get more animals soon!!"
Monday 4th June
6H were off to a flying start this morning with Fielding's first gardening lesson. We went on a herb hunt, sowed runner beans in a jar and learnt how to pick up a chicken.
Here's Nikki from 6H with the first ever Garden Blog:
"We have had lots of fun in the garden. We were able to water plants, collect grass cuttings for compost, plant our own beans, eat/smell herbs, and best of all, we fed and held the chickens (well, most of us)!
This was a very creative activity because of how much we learned about gardening and herbs. We were taught how plants grow and how to hold chickens.
This (I think) was one of the activities that everyone loved, because of the opportunities we had."
Looking forward to welcoming the gardeners of 6P tomorrow!
Friday 25th May 2018
A huge thank you to the parents and children who made the first donations to the Kitchen Garden. Quinn from RS sent his Dad along with four wonderful trays of veg plants - tomatoes, aubergines, cucumbers, courgettes, sweetcorn, broccoli and giant pumpkins. We have our first jam jars for the Great Fielding Runner Bean Experiment, and biodegradable loo roll middles for planting seeds. There is a green box by the kitchen garden fence for anything you can collect over half term - thank you very much in advance!
Why is the horse manure steaming?
We got stuck into a ton of horse manure today - compost is like rocket fuel for plants, and we want ours to get off to an explosive start. Some children were asking why the giant bag of manure was smoking - it's actually steam, because the compost is so hot. Microbes help the compost decompose - they eat and digest the manure, and give off heat as a by product, so a warm compost heap shows the microbes are doing their job.
Lily from Year 5 was the first brave soul to give the compost a sniff - and was surprised to find it doesn't smell bad. Finlay from Year 4 said it reminded him of his Grandpa.
The raised beds have had a few healthy shovelfuls of manure, and the first runner beans are climbing the hazel poles. We've also planted the first squash plants - Crown Prince, Harrier, Potimarron, Barbara Butternut and Red Kuri will all be spreading their roots over half term.
Thursday 24th May 2018
Today Mr Webb brought RS to the Kitchen Garden for a trial lesson. We learned the different parts of a plant, explored the garden and discovered the properties of leaves, from tiny pungent Rosemary to the chunky medicinal leaves of Aloe Vera. We had a herb tasting session and everybody chose and planted a seed in their own special pot.
A garden treasure hunt helped us discover what's growing in May, and the chickens came out for a gallop around the orchard. The chickens now have straw bedding in their coop, which they immediately started kicking out the door in their search for insects.
Richard and Neil came from Fraser's Timber Yard with a lorry load of heavy railway sleepers - we're planning to build a 12 metre raised bed, which should provide plenty of room for all the seeds we'll be sowing over the next half term.