Gardening in Schools

It may have escaped the attention of those of us without children of school age but for the past few years lots of schools have been promoting  growing your own vegetables. Food is central to our lives. But in recent years our eating habits have changed. We eat less fruit and vegetables and are eating much more pre-cooked food. We are also throwing more food away not only at home but by Supermarkets. At the same time obesity levels are rising. Food growing in schools can encourage children into eating more fruit and vegetables, and having a better recognition of taste and type. Food growing can increase children’s scientific knowledge, and their environmental awareness. It also teaches them practical skills that will be useful throughout their lives. Incorporating food growing into the formal, and informal curriculum can have a positive impact on children and young people’s academic achievement, 
skills acquisition and attitudes to learning and school.
Schools are encouraged to devise a well-integrated curriculum together with a broad programme of learning outside the classroom. Learning outside the classroom is where educational activities take place outside the normal classroom learning
environment. Out of classroom learning has the aim of improving students’ knowledge on a variety of subjects. This includes
residential visits, activities in the local environment. A ‘can do’ culture, more than any of the formal systems, adds the most value to enabling students to achieve well and thrive. One of the easiest and cheapest 'outside the classroom' activities is to develop a school garden. This will improve skills, values and personal development and also form a vital element of a childs learning and achievement. In the modern world the Development of skills and independence in a broad range of environments. 
Makes that learning more engaging, stimulating and relevant to childrens creativity and awareness of the environment. 

Whilst the National Vegetable Society may not be able to provide practical help in developing a school garden, it's members have
a broad knowledge in all aspects of vegetable, fruit and herb growing. With members living in all areas of the United Kingdom there's bound to be someone local to you who can help, if not help could be available by e-mail or telephone so don't hesitate to contact us.

Some ideas for planting through the school year: 
Spring term
Chitting potatoes – you could experiment by chitting them in a range of conditions such as warm/light/dark and keep records of the findings.Once chitted the potatoes could be planted in polythene bags (see our advice page).
Grow a broad bean in a jar lined with blotting paper and filled with sawdust or sand instead of a jar use 2 litre bottles cut in half.
You can also sow three or four peas in a 2 litre bottle cut in half you'll need a few pea sticks for the plants to climb but these can
be taken home and then returned to school once the pods have formed.
Herbs – are also an idea to grow e.g. Marjoram which is a british soft leaved herb and is a sweet-scented pink flowers.
Make plant labels from plastic milk bottles or yoghurt pots or make planting rulers for use in the school garden
Make gardening journal for all garden activities
start growing flowers in modules for eventually using these to make hanging baskets of filled containers for sale later in the year

Summer term
Sow pumpkins or marrows, tomatoes and sweet peppers
Make pizza pots – plant up containers with tomato, basil and chives and use these in making a pizza
Mini-beast hunting – learn about mini-beasts which are beneficial and which are not. 
Look at vegetables that are commonly grown in the UK – are they native to the UK or were they imported from some far shore –
this could be combined with geography or history
Make shape patterns from potatoes that were grown in school

Autumn term
If pumpkins were grown hollow out and carve for halloween
Seed collecting - make your own seed packet and seed box for seeds collected from this years crop
Plant bulbs in pots for display in spring
Plant garlic and overwintering onions