After a brief introduction, which included things like health and safety around the garden, the children were divided into three groups: each group was asked to choose a name (based on a vegetable or fruit). The pattern of the sessions was explained: a healthy snack: a game or activity involving everyone: group activities including sowing, cultivation, composting and harvesting. Then to the Methodist Hall kitchen to cook produce harvested from the garden - supervised by chef Michael Evans. Today the recipe was leek and potato soup and bread rolls.
The first activity was a kind of treasure hunt - each group was given a set of flags depicting different vegetables and plants growing in the garden - the challenge was to place all the flags in the right places. This enabled the children to explore the garden and identify some of the produce.
These are some of the flags - they were fixed onto large lolly sticks for sticking into the ground.
The children were then divided into their groups. The activities on offer were: learning about composting, sowing seeds and harvesting (for the cookery session). Each activity was timed at approximately 15 minutes. The sowing group sowed mustard and cress seeds into small containers. These should have started to germinate by the next session. The children also set up some seed potatoes for sprouting. These should be ready for planting in a few weeks.
The composting group learned about how composting works, recycling, how compost is used to enrich the soil and what things are compostable and not compostable. Each child was given a compost bag to take home: they will fill these and bring them to put on the compost heap next week.
The harvesting group dug some leeks and gathered some herbs. Potatoes were collected from storage. It was planned to rotate the groups to give them all a go at the activities but time went very quickly and soon it was time to go to the cookery kitchen.
Choosing vegetables to cook
Today's recipe was leek and potato soup, with bread rolls. The following pictures show the children at work preparing the vegetables in the kitchen. The children were also shown how to make a bouquet garni using fresh herbs from the garden.