Adventures from the pond to the polytunnel and everywhere in between...
Friday 12th November
Breaking news - our chickens have started laying! The first eggs are quite small, but likely to have double yolks for the first few weeks.
We'd love any spare eggboxes you can drop off in the school garden, especially the half-dozen boxes.
Update: The eggs are now available to buy online from the PTFA, and can be collected from the garden every Friday morning.
Sign up here.
Wednesday 31st March
It's been amazing to have all the children back in the school garden. They've been enjoying the cheerful yellow daffodils they planted last term, creating seed bombs and discovering the weird world of worms.
But the main attraction is the frogspawn - last year's frogs have returned to lay clouds of jelly eggs, and Ben in Year 2 rescued another batch from a dried up puddle in Bunny Park. Next term - tadpoles!
The last word goes to Emme in Year 2: "I'm so excited my face hurts."
Friday 12th March
Frogwatch update - the first frogspawn has arrived in the school pond.
Spotted by sharp-eyed Sophia in Year 4 - well done!!
Frogwatch - 2nd March
More exciting frogspawn news - Quinn and Eden got in touch to say they've found frogspawn in the pond at their allotment. And Rex and Daisy sent this email: "We always follow these ones each year. Not the first sighting, but exciting all the same!"
Frogwatch update - 17th February
Breaking news: Ayla and Eve have an update on the frogspawn in their garden pond.
It has survived the ice and snow and looks better than ever!
Flora and Erin in Year 1 are looking forward to Spring - they've been inspired to do a spot of gardening and a wonderful poem. Thank you so much!
Half-term - Virtual Discovery Week
If you're missing our outdoor adventures in the school garden, you might be interested in a Virtual Discovery Week being run over half term by the Royal Parks. They're covering a lot of the exciting things we do in gardening lessons - like birdspotting, minibeasts and plant lifecycles - plus a few things we don't do, like feeding the pelicans!
It runs from Monday 15th February, and if you can't join on the day, there are activities you can download when it suits you.
Check it out here.
Frogwatch - Saturday 6th February
Our first sighting of frogspawn! Congratulations to Ayla (6S) and Eve (4H) who spotted these beauties in their garden pond - along with a rather handsome pair of pond snails.
We've all got our fingers crossed that they survive the snow...
Forget Easter - the most eggciting* egg hunt of the year is the search for FROGSPAWN. Last year we found frogspawn in the long jump pit in February - will we find it this early again?
Keep an eye out when you're on a walk - you might see a clump of jelly eggs in ponds, streams - or even puddles. You can send a photo to email@example.com
If you're really lucky you might see a long string of eggs - meaning you've spotted newtspawn!
They've already spotted frogspawn this year on Brownsea Island in Dorset - will the Fielding Frogs be next??
Thursday 4th February
Anya in 4F has written a terrific poem inspired by the changing seasons. We love the way her poem comes full circle, just like the turning of the year.
If you create any seasonal poems or pictures, or spot a sign of spring coming, send a photo to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can share it with the world!
Friday 29th January
Year 3 have been out looking for signs of spring in the garden this week.
Check out the amazing art they've produced!
Sunday 24th January
Mother Nature rustled up a little artwork of her own today - here's the school garden in the snow...
We know there's a huge amount of artistic talent at Fielding - just look at the beautiful Christmas wreaths and Autumn mosaics you guys made last term.
And lockdown hasn't slowed down your creativity one bit - check out these cracking works of art created by Year 5 after their online gardening lesson last week.
Savannah designed an acrostic poem about her favourite winter bird, Maggie was inspired by her encounter with a DH Lawrence poem at Kew Gardens, and Ryad used awesome computer skills to illustrate the lifecycle of a plant.
If you're inspired to create something by a winter walk or the view out of your window, send it to email@example.com and we'll add your work of art to our Garden Gallery.
In the meantime, here's Maggie's sensational seasonal poem...
The Winter Air
As the wind blows through my hair,
Such a beautiful thing, morning air,
Only a gentle breeze,
So elegant it can make you freeze.
In the forest I follow the wind,
All the while, branches scrape my shins,
And when we're by the river,
The water makes you shiver.
Then in the corner of my eye,
No it wasn't a cherry pie,
But a roaring fire ablaze,
Like a tazer with no taze!
I take my bucket of water,
The fire getting hotter and hotter,
I sprinkle it slowly over,
I was as lucky as a four-leaf clover!
Friday 18th December
More art in the garden - Year 6 collected evergreens from around the school to make these gorgeous Christmas wreaths.
Friday 6th November
Fiery Autumn mosaics from Year 5.
Friday 23rd October
More mosaics from the Year 6 Autumn art gallery - can you spot an anteater, a mouse and a bat?
Wednesday 21st October
Possibly the wettest gardening lesson ever - but no one is more resilient than the mighty 6P. They scooped newts and tadpoles out of the pond, fed the compost heap with dying plants, and made some beautiful Autumn mosaics.
They also make a mean fruit crumble.
Just squeezing in between the Autumnal shenanigans to say thank you for all the messages of sympathy about the chickens. You truly are the loveliest parents and carers - no wonder your children are so awesome.
By way of a thank you, here are a few of the other handsome creatures who've made the school garden home.
(Can't stop looking at that chubby frog. Those hands!)
Monday 19th October 2020
Ms Mahvelati has donated an absolutely beautiful mosaic to the school garden, which is on display in front of the Wildlife Pond.
This term we are learning about Autumn leaves - why they fall, and why they produce such incredible colours. Ms Mahvelati's mosaic has inspired us to create our own mosaics out of the leaves we find.
Here are some of the marvellous creations from Year 6.
Goodbye to our beloved chickens
Victoria, Elizabeth, Rosa, Florence, Danutia, Nicola and Kelly were the funniest, most charismatic chickens you could wish to meet. Never was a flock of hens more beloved, more cuddled, or better fed. A heartfelt thank you to everyone who looked after them in the holidays.
We learned so much from our chickens - about gravity and gyroscopes, how to speak chicken, how to balance them on our shoulders... and who could forget the infamous poo patrol? In caring for our chickens we also learned about kindness, empathy, perseverance and resilience. So many children had a wonderful confidence boost when they finally managed to pick one up.
Now our chickens have taught us a final lesson about the circle of life.
Thank you for so many happy memories, ladies. Sleep well.
Below you can enjoy the diary the chickens kept for us during lockdown...
The Secret Diary of a Wise and Beautiful Chicken
Thursday 16th July
I hereby wish you a very happy and healthy summer holiday, and look forward to you all galumphing back in September to disturb the Royal peace.
In the meantime I offer you evidence of the dreadful rascals who have been stealing nectar, pecking the leaves off the trees and slurping up the water in the pond. I never thought I'd say this, but the sooner the children get back in the garden, the better.
Your gracious and extraordinarily beautiful Queen,
ps. Elizabeth ate all the blackcurrants.
Monday 8th June
No, YOU escaped from the cage and ate all the marigolds.
Friday 5th June
Elizabeth has a pet bee, which she carries around on her head.
She has named him Justin Bee-ber.
I can't even.
Your Exasperated Monarch,
ps. If he comes anywhere near me, he'll be Justin My Beak.
Thursday 21st May
Bees - bees everywhere! My afternoon nap is ruined by their constant humming. I've been trying catch one of the chubby little snacks, but they always fly out of reach, waving their pollen sacks and giggling.
But not for long... they seem to like plants, so we've built a bee trap - a huge pile of spinach to lure them down to the ground.
Although to be honest, I don't know whether to eat them or hug them.
Friday 15th May
I haven't spoken to Elizabeth for 12 days. Rather than stooping to her grubby level, I am devoting my time to the noble pursuit of Art. Behold a selection of my finest photographs.
I will not be posting the one of Elizabeth laying an egg. There are some things you can't unsee.
Your Gracious Queen,
Sunday 3rd May
Victoria has been strutting around on her new "throne" all week, pooping on the rest of us from a great height and issuing orders to bring her ants and woodlice.
But I finally got my own back today. This is a picture of Our Glorious Queen straight after her dust bath - just look at the dirty beetle!
Sunday 26th April
Do you like my throne?
My faithful servant, Ciaran, fashioned it for me from the finest materials.
I am, as they say, rocking the look.
Your Glorious Monarch,
Tuesday 14th April
I don't know if any of you have the misfortune to live with teenagers, but Kelly, Nicola and Danusia are a proper handful.
They find it hilarious to open up the coop when one is having one's afternoon nap, and shout "Surprise!"
It was certainly a surprise the first time. The 51st time... not so much.
Your Exasperated Monarch,
Tuesday 7th April
What fresh temptation is this? Another batch of tasty newts arriving at the pond?
I'm going to get over this fence if it kills me.
Victoria thinks I can't hear her chuckling among the lettuces. If I do ever get hold of a newt, I'm not sharing.
Monday 6th April
It brings joy to my heart and tears to my eyes to watch Elizabeth trying to heave her tubby body over the gate to get at the tadpoles. She's got no chance.
I prefer to spend my time admiring the glorious spring blossom - rosemary, apple, pear and pea - these are far better subjects for photography than a shot of Elizabeth scrabbling up the fence and showing her knickers.
Your Gracious Queen,
Saturday 4th April
Look at that cheeky little tadpole taunting me from the pond! There's hundreds of them - giggling and wriggling about in the chickweed. What wouldn't I give to get over that fence and start snacking on the juicy little fellows.
It's too much for a chicken to take.
Give me a leg up Florence - I'm going in...
p.s. Victoria is still trying to lay a crème egg.
Wednesday 1st April
Elizabeth says she laid this today.
We are not amused.
Monday 30th March
Elizabeth here - what's that razzled old turkey Victoria been telling you?
Queen of the World... Queen of the compost heap, more like. And she farts in her sleep, which is no joke if you're sharing a nesting box.
Victoria spends most of her day trying to get into the wildlife garden so she can nibble on the tadpoles. Trouble is, she's too fat to fly over the fence. Us chickens are walking stomachs, after all.
Catch you later, dudes,
Sunday 29th March
It is I, your noble Queen, finally taking my rightful place as Head Of The School Garden. I will be in charge of the kitchen garden diary from now on, and about time too.
(Some fool left their phone in the shed, so I will also be sending you pictures - if Elizabeth stops photobombing them for five minutes).
Your Affectionate Monarch,
Wisest and most beautiful chicken in Britain
In the World
Thursday 26th March
The chickens would like everyone to know they're happy and well fed.. and mostly well behaved. (Victoria has crowned herself the Queen of Fielding. Elizabeth says she's not speaking to the cackling old fool).
Thursday 19th March
Year 3 have been showing empathy for the chickens this week. Some chickens are more empathetic than others...
Monday 16th March
A glorious day of sunshine for 3H to finish planting the wildlife hedge and start sowing beans and potatoes. Even the chickens were a bit helpful.
The wildlife pond is getting crowded - along with tadpoles and newts we've spotted diving beetles, water fleas and water hoglets.
Friday 13th March
A wonderful surprise today - a lovely lady called Gillian brought some newts for the school pond. They haven't spawned yet, so there's every chance we may have BABY NEWTS this spring. Check out their tiny hands!
Monday 2nd March
The sun is out and the birds are singing their socks off - it's wonderful having a brain break filled with birdsong!
Today Year 5 have been planting trees kindly sent to us by The Woodland Trust - we're growing a wildlife hedge which will be overflowing with berries for our magnificent birds in years to come.
Thursday 27th February
We found a peacock butterfly - spring is just around the corner!
This week Year 6 have been brainstorming our entry for the first ever Childrens' Chelsea, run by the RHS. We have to design a garden on the theme of Health and Wellbeing, so we thought it would be brilliant to create a Mindfulness Garden. The children have already come up with some incredible suggestions, so after we've entered the competition, we'll build our design in the Fielding garden.
Monday 24th February
Sharp-eyed Leon in 6H spotted the clouds of grey eggs, and William spotted the two fat frogs who made them. Then we rescued another two clumps from the long-jump pit. Spring has arrived!
Friday 7th February
This term we're taking part in the RSPB's Big School Birdwatch - so far the children have spotted an astonishing array of birds (despite the spooky fog). We've also been exploring the fascinating world of fungi, and learning how to speak Chicken. Your children now have a range of useful phrases, from, "Watch out, there's a fox!" to "I'm laying an egg!"
Wednesday 6th November
What the chickens get up to when the children are away... yes you ARE in big trouble.
Monday 4th November
Look at this glorious bee!
Summer is lingering in the school garden - while 5H cleared the autumn leaves, the insects kept on buzzing among the last of the marigolds and nasturtiums. Lovely to see a few children get over their nerves to finally pick up a chicken.
Friday 1st November
6F have invented Bean Therapy. Pushing your hand through a bucketful of freshly-podded runner beans is apparently very relaxing.
Thursday 31st October
A glorious sunny day for 6S, sowing seeds and watching the insects scooting round the garden. They enjoyed the challenge of digging up weeds, sweeping leaves out of the pond and taking the chickens on their Autumn holiday.
Wednesday 30th October
What a day! 6P are super clued-up about climate change, so we had a lively conversation before launching into our Autumn mission - giving something back to nature.
We built a hibernaculum (a place for frogs and toads to spend the winter), podded beans, cleared leaves from the pond, sowed peas, dug up weeds and rescued seedlings from all the odd places they've been growing in over the summer.
Then we gave the chickens a holiday - taking them to places in the garden they don't usually go for a good dig about in the vegetable beds. Their favourite place was the lovely warm polytunnel, which quickly became a chicken spa once the ladies started scratching out dust baths.
Last word goes to Max, "Weeding is the best job ever!"
Monday 28th October
It was a beautiful sunny day and 6H got loads out of their gardening experience today - Damir went on a one-man mission to clean the chickens and we couldn't drag Yasmin away from clearing the pond - "it's so relaxing." But the number one job is still podding runner beans. The butternut squash muffins were delicious - thanks Mabel!
Friday 11th October
Year 2 did a fantastic job of training the chickens this week. Thanks to their hard work, the older and younger chickens are now living together in (almost) perfect harmony. Year 2 have also concluded that Victoria is definitely top of the pecking order.
Tuesday 8th October
It was so lovely to welcome everyone to the Open Garden this morning, and watch the children demonstrating their chicken-handling skills to the grown-ups. Thank you so much for your wonderful comments - and for bringing snacks for the chickens!
2H collected a record amount of runner beans yesterday - once word go out how much fun it was opening the pods, there was no stopping them.
Thursday 3rd October
A POND SKATER has moved in! The wildlife pond is now home to three froglets, one pond skater and hundreds of midge larvae. You may not find the larvae that thrilling, but they're super important - they're at the bottom of the food chain, so lots of other pond creatures will feed on them with gusto.
Year 3 had a whale of a time in the garden this week - their favourite autumn job is cracking open pods to find runner beans and borlotti beans. "It's like being a pirate!" "It's like being an explorer!" "It's like winning the lottery!"
Thursday 19th September
Squeee!!! The garden extension is finished! A big round of applause for the PTFA, everyone who raised money for the school, and Mark Eccleston, who built it over the summer (and a little bit of the autumn).
The wildlife area means we'll be able to increase biodiversity in the garden, teach the children about our native flora and fauna, and give them first hand experience of the magical way different ecosystems support on each other.
We'll have an open day very soon - but in the meantime, here are a few pictures...
Thursday 12th September
Obviously we'd like to tell you about deadheading, collecting sunflower seeds and how the chickens are establishing a pecking order (Victoria at the top, white-tailed chick at the bottom, if anyone's interested). But we can't - because we're too excited about something else - THE FROGLETS ARE BACK!
The pond is (finally) full of water, so 5P decided it was time to liberate the pond plants from the yellow bucket. We gently emptied the bucket into the water, and out hopped three minscule froglets. How are they still so tiny? What have they been doing in there all summer? Are they the last three, smallest tadpoles?
They all played dead to begin with (you would too, with a giant 5P staring down at you). But when the froglets decided they were out of danger, they zipped off under the nearest rock.
We have no photos yet, because the photographer was jumping for joy. We also STILL don't have a picture of a parakeet on a sunflower.
The last word goes to Esmee, who looked at the pond and said, "Water and stones... it's so satisfying."
Monday 9th September
Happy New Year! 5H were the first to explore the new garden extension - they got stuck right in and formed a human chain to get the pebbles from the school field to the pond. The stones around the edge of the pond will form useful hiding places for all manner of minibeasts.
We also began the important job of introducing the new chickens to our original four. There wasn't too much trouble - just the odd peck from the older chickens to let them know who's boss (it's Victoria, in case you were wondering).
The young chickens seemed to enjoy exploring - one of them jumped up onto the fence to examine our photo gallery. She wasn't quite sure how to get down again - when she finally executed a wobbly glide to the ground, 5H gave her a huge round of applause.
Friday 12th July
It's the last lesson of term, and we can safely say that nothing in the garden is lovelier than your children.
They've worked so hard this year to make the garden glorious - planting, weeding, watering... talking about gardening with their grandparents or how the scent of sweet peas reminds them of home.
And we got Bryony on the eggs!
Tuesday 9th July
Look out for the girl who is literally jumping for joy to see her friends standing on eggs. Also, full respect to Chiara's Dad for doing it in front of the entire class - he didn't break a single one!
Monday 8th July
This week Year 1 are reflecting on the amazing jobs they've done in the garden - smelling the sweet peas they sowed way back in the winter, tasting herbs they grew from seed, exploring the jungle in the polytunnel. They've also been welcoming the new chicks and froglets - and discovering the unbelievable strength of eggs.
Friday 5th July
A momentous day in the Kitchen Garden - our chicks have moved into their new home. 2S helped Danusia, Kelly and Nicola settle into the coop. They're named after three fabulous sportswomen - gymnast Danusia Francis, athlete Dame Kelly Holmes and boxer Nicola Adams.
What will Florence, Rosa, Elizabeth and Victoria make of the new arrivals? Stay tuned...
Wednesday 3rd July
This month's value is Reflection - 2H and 2F have been exploring the garden looking for flowers and vegetables they planted in the spring to see how they've grown, and thinking about which garden jobs they enjoy the most. There are plenty of new things to discover too - we've been searching for froglets and scrumping for blackcurrants and raspberries.
Thursday 27th June
3S's favourite jobs -
Cleaning garlic - "Really satisfying."
Deadheading - "Should be called beheading."
Watering - "I love making plants grow."
Smelling sweetpeas - "It reminds me of Gran."
Filling the pond - "The froglets are so cute!"
Monday 24th June
3H could have happily spent the whole lesson frog-watching round the pond. We reached peak cuteness with the froglets clambering through the chickweed, and the big frog surfacing now and again like a confused hippo.
They dragged themselves away from the frogs to pick peas, raspberries and blackcurrants, and did some really useful jobs like dead-heading flowers and digging up garlic. Emily brought in some rosemary cuttings and told the class how she did it - we'll have rosemary bushes all round the garden in a year or two.
Friday 21st June
Somebody's lurking in the pond... 4S found an extremely handsome frog today. There's also a few miniscule froglets hopping about the place, and loads of tadpoles with strong back legs. We celebrated the summer solstice by eating bunches of fresh peas, pulling up garlic, and keeping chickens cool with Bryony. Summer is here at last!
Tuesday 18th June
This week Year 4 have been showing empathy for the chickens - learning how to spot signs of them overheating, and how to keep them cool. We've also been looking at ways to entertain them - an egg box piñata, rolling corn in a plastic bottle, pulling vegetables out of a toilet roll... the chickens were having none of it, as you can imagine.
It was lovely to see so many children with empathy for plants - Plant A&E has been particularly popular this week. The sickly plants we rescued were all given names!
Friday 14th June
"Today in gardening and cooking, we went to visit the chicks!! They were sooo cute - and we even got to see the males leave, because when they get older they will fight. Next, we helped out in the garden doing some jobs; finally, after weeding, watering, poo jobs and others, we got to play with the chickens and stand on eggs!!! In cooking, we made chips and salad, and it was sooo delicious, it was sooo fun!"
- Flora, Georgi, Coral, 6F
Thursday 13th June
Fresh peas are super sweet, digging up potatoes is like digging up treasure... and even a monsoon won't keep 6S out of the garden.
Wednesday 12th June
The tadpoles have back legs! Also, a couple of full-sized frogs have moved into the pond, and Jasper spotted a damsel fly on one of the irises. We think it had only just metamorphosed from a nymph (which lives in water) because it just hung on its leaf for a while before fluttering its wings. Amazing to see an insect try flying for the very first time.
6P are all brilliant, but a special shout-out to Emily for bringing her own plant to the lesson, and Oscar who is a natural gardener and always on hand for tap-related emergencies.
Monday 10th June
Sorry... what? The weather is supposed to be glorious for Year 6's last gardening lessons, but it rained and rained and rained today.
Luckily, nothing can dampen 6H's spirits, especially when there's fresh peas to pick and potatoes to dig up, and - shhh - newly-hatched chicks...
Tuesday 4th June
We've joined Springwatch's national citizen science project - GardenWatch. This week, Year 5 are nature detectives, searching for the mammals, birds and minibeasts that live in, around and under our kitchen garden. We've also been learning about the importance of soil, how to spot a weed, and picking our first (delicious) strawberries. Bryony has been teaching us how to walk on eggs and speak fluent chicken.
A special shout out to Max in 5P, who LIKES WEEDING (!) and Rowan in 5P, who knows EVERYTHING about wildlife and will probably be presenting Springwatch by 2030.
You can find out more about Gardenwatch here.
Friday 24th May
Wednesday 22nd May
A lot of firsts for 3P in the garden today - first artichoke, first broad bean, first red strawberry. (But standing on eggs is still our favourite).
Tuesday 21st May
Did you know chocolate, onions and raw beans are poisonous for chickens? That they stop laying eggs if you give them corn instead of chicken pellets? That marigolds make their egg yolks orange? Year 3 know these things. They can also stand on two dozen eggs without breaking them - try it at home if you dare...
Friday 17th May
WE STOOD ON EGGS! To eggsplain (sorry) - our fantastic volunteer Bryony organised a belated birthday party for the chickens. We looked at foods the chickens can and can't eat, and discussed what makes their eggs so strong. Bryony even taught us to speak chicken. If you want to know what sound a chicken makes when it's laying an egg, ask someone in 4P.
Wednesday 15th May
"Today we picked some plants and saw which ones the chickens liked. Victoria was fussy and kept on running away. She liked red lettuce but didn't like mostly everything. Elizabeth was calm and she liked everything except fennel, Rosa loved red lettuce and she hated everything else. Florence loved everything but mostly mint."
- Deen, 4S
Tuesday 14th May
"So today we pulled out weeds from the strawberry patch and did other jobs like pot making, poo patrol, turning the compost heap and some more. And we did some experiments about the chickens, we talked about what they do like to eat and what they don't like."
- Dylan 4H
Monday 13th May
Last week's Mayvember weather has finally given way to Actual May, and 4F have emerged from hibernation to bring the garden to life. As well as weeding, watering and planting fruit bushes, 4F launched the Kitchen Garden A & E Department, rescuing some of the plants that were looking a bit stringy and yellow because they'd been in their pots for too long.
We've also been getting to know our chickens a little better - by finding out what they like to eat. Red lettuce and chard are the current favourites for three of our chickens, but Rosa has turned out to be a fussy eater - so far she hates everything!
Thursday 9th May
Because your children are such awesome gardeners, we're growing slightly more vegetables, flowers and herbs than we need. So from next week, we thought we'd sell surplus produce to raise money for the school.
We'll put out what we've got on the tables at dropoff every morning with a box for donations - so watch out for a completely random selection of home-grown beauties.
Thursday 2nd May
Blowing on a chicken's bottom turns out to be an excellent method of herding it around the garden. Year 5 displayed excellent teamwork and persistence this week - but the agile chickens still managed to dodge them if they spotted a tasty spider or snail.
We've planted out tons more seedlings now the weather is warming up, and the strawberry patch is almost weed free. We discovered a lot of weeds have very long tap roots, making them hard to dig up, but our resilient gardeners got the job done.
Tuesday 30th April
Year 5 are off to a flying start in the garden this term - and they need to be - the plants are rocketing skywards. We've been watering everything in sight, weeding the strawberry patch ready for a delicious mulch of compost, pinching out sweet peas and planting marigolds along the fence.
Year 5 are also facing their greatest chicken challenge yet - herding the chickens around the garden without touching them. It takes teamwork, patience and ingenuity - so far Victoria, Elizabeth, Rosa and Florence definitely have the upper hand. (Wing? Claw?)
Wednesday 24th April
This is no ordinary wheelbarrow full of compost... this is Fielding Primary School Compost, manufactured from the finest fruit and vegetable peelings, recycled paper* and chicken poo.
EVERYONE in school made this compost - whether you put paper in the class recycling bin, ate fruit and vegetables for lunch, or joined the growing band of Poo Patrol enthusiasts cleaning out the chickens.
Our first ever batch of home made compost has been spread on the fruit bushes - so hopefully we'll be rewarded with extra-juicy blackcurrants and raspberries this summer.
(*Warning - may contain traces of 2018 SATs papers).
Thursday 4th April
April's been chucking some interesting weather our way, but Year 1 have soldiered bravely on, moving the tadpoles to their luxurious new home, planting runner beans in jars and juggling chickens.
It's been terrific to have so many parents visiting the garden this week - tomorrow is your last chance before the holidays, but we'll be open again in the summer term so you can see how brilliant your children are at gardening.
Friday 29th March
More excitement in the garden today with Operation Tadpole. 2S used jam jars to move the tadpoles from the yellow bucket to their luxurious new home in the pond. Better still, Quinn from Year 1 sent his Dad along with some pond weed and irises and he showed us how to plant them in the pond. There were a couple of dragonfly larvae in the mix - so watch out for dragonflies buzzing round the school field this summer!
Thursday 28th March
We had an extra treat in 2P's gardening lesson this morning - Bella brought in a lovely poem about tadpoles which she read to the class.
a black dot
a jelly tot
a cool kicker
a sitting slicker
a panting puffer
a high hopper
to make me
Wednesday 27th March
Spring has sprung, seedlings are popping out all over the polytunnel and the birds are yelling with joy. Year 2 are filling up the pond as quickly as they can - the tadpoles are super keen to get out of their yellow bucket and see the world.
Friday 22nd March
THE TADPOLES ARE HATCHING - YIPPEEE!!!
Our big yellow bucket is teeming with wriggly little fellas, and we've already started digging a pond for them to live in.
As if that wasn't exciting enough, Year 3 have been trying gardening tasks they think they can't do - like making paper pots, flipping chickens, and planting peas with really long roots. It's brilliant seeing their faces when they succeed.
Thursday 14th March
How's your front crawl, Florence? Not sure what the chickens thought of the flooded orchard today.
Wednesday 13th March
4P went to the long-jump pit to look for frogs this morning. Eagle-eyed Theo spotted a last, lonely bubble of frogspawn. Presumably it's been sitting there all week, thinking, "Where did everybody go?" Theo named him Cameron, and reunited him with his brothers and sisters in their big yellow bucket.
Tuesday 12th March
Storm Gareth? Pah - 4F laughs in your face!
Monday 11th March
4H brought sunny weather, even sunnier smiles, and a fine array of motor skills to the garden this morning. There was a huge "Oooooh!" when we opened the polytunnel to see how the seedlings had grown. And they got the chickens purring.
Saturday 9th March
WOOHOO! Because we reached Level 4 in the RHS School Gardening Awards, the RHS have very kindly sent us £100 of seeds. Well done Fielding Gardeners - let the sowing commence!
Friday 8th March
Operation Frogspawn! 5S used their motor skills to full effect in their mission to rescue frogspawn from the long-jump pit.
Thursday 7th March
An exciting, windswept morning for 5P - investigating frogspawn, making bird-scarers, repotting sweetpeas (it's lovely in the polytunnel this week) - and on top of that, the author of Charlie Changes Into A Chicken, Sam Copeland dropped by to give our chickens a hug.
Tuesday 5th March
Remember those frogs we rescued last week? We took them to a puddle in the long jump pit. Today Jack from 5F asked if we could check on them, and... TA-DAH!!!
Behold - glutinous mounds of frogspawn!
Monday 4th March
5H have been exploring their marvellous motor skills in the garden today - using gross motor skills for weeding, watering and pushing the wheelbarrow, and fine motor skills for making pots, transplanting seedlings and sowing seeds.
We've also been exploring the anatomy of a chicken, looking at how they use their motor skills to find food, roost and protect themselves. And we've been asking "What's a wattle?" - taking a close look at combs, wattles and ear lobes. They are a chicken's inbuilt air conditioning system - as well as being devastatingly attractive, of course.
Friday 1st March
"Today was really fun. We picked up chickens like babies and we found a healthy frog called Darwin and a dead one... or so we thought. We called it Gary. It was really fun today even though it wasn't sunny."
- Georgi 6F
Thursday 28th February
6S found a REALLY fat frog in the garden this morning - she looks like she's about to lay her eggs. We've taken her to a secret location, where we'll be checking up on her and looking out for frogspawn. 6S made a second exciting discovery towards the end of the lesson - how to make a chicken purr. If you cradle it in your arms and tickle its tummy, you can feel a vibration in its neck which is exactly like a cat purring. 6S are the Chicken-Charmers!
Tuesday 12th February
The sun came out, the birds sang, the chickens made a noise like a tractor... 1P had a glorious morning in the garden - admirably demonstrating February's value of Engagement. "I could do this all day," said one watering-can enthusiast.
Monday 11th February
The temperature in the garden has risen from -4 to +10 degrees centigrade over the last week. The chickens saw snow for the first time - and they had really clean, pink feet!
The children have been working hard getting ready for spring - cleaning the chickens, digging grass out of the fruit beds, sowing seeds, making paper pots and transplanting seedlings in the polytunnel. Fox Patrol and Poo Patrol have been the most popular jobs. We've also been learning how to check the chickens for mites by turning them upside down. When the chickens are really relaxed, they fall asleep in your arms.
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