There is lots planned for the allotment over the coming months. Here are some of the key projects.
The Pond & Hibernacular
The freshly dug pond needs time to settle into the landscape. Planting will help to soften the hard plastic edges while regular strimming will help the grass to recover. As the weather warms up and animals begin to stir from their Winter slumber, so the pond should start to bustle with life.
The hibernacular is still in its early stages too. It is constructed from rocks that were dug out of the ground from the hole for the pond. The turf comes from the wildflower area that was turned over. It will also double up as a seat for the children to enjoy. Very little goes to waste with almost everything on site getting repurposed or recycled. The next step is to introduce corrugated sheets that will provide a valuable home for grass snakes and mini beasts.
Over the coming months members of OAT, (Oakridge Allotment Team) plan to build a fire pit. It will be sunk into the ground and formed from large stones, logs and tree limbs. It will provide a nucleus for small group work and offer warmth and comfort to the children.
The Wildflower Area
This area is a vital part of the school’s allotment project. It will be key to attracting all the right pollinating insects. It will also form an important teaching platform, helping the children to understand the ecology of the site and the importance of biodiversity. The area will also provide an abundance of colour. Currently the soil has been left simply dug over. In the next few weeks the ground will need to be prepared ready for planting.
Plastic Bottle Greenhouse
Parents at the school have already been asked to start saving their plastic bottles from which to build the greenhouse from. The frame has been put together but instead of glass, plastic bottles will be used. The bottles will fill the gaps in the walls where the glass would have gone. It’s going to be a great challenge for the children, putting their maths, science and engineering skills to the test. It will also provide a lesson in recycling and reusing, drawing their attention to the ever growing problem of plastic waste.
The school hopes to get some hatching eggs, which will be kept in an incubator in one of the classrooms. When ready, the chickens will go on the allotment and provide the children with delicious eggs for lunch, cookery lessons and other activities.
The Teaching Area
Seen here in the foreground of the photo below, it will form the crux of all the learning that takes place on the allotment. Currently it is just a large, slightly scruffy looking patch of grass but regular strimming should help. Key to this area will be the addition of a large table, which will be big enough to accommodate at least twenty children. Just a few days ago, the allotment fund received a large donation of £500, made by a single individual. It’s an overwhelming amount. The money will be invested in a table, which will be dedicated in memory of the gentleman’s late wife and acknowledged with a plaque.
A living willow fence will be planted around the perimeter of the plot as well as the pond and wildlife area. It will have two functions. Firstly, it will ensure the children’s safety and secondly, it will be a useful learning resource that will give the children the opportunity to try their hand at willow weaving.
This will obviously be an ongoing project and something the children will have weekly interaction with. The school has adopted a no dig policy on all six raised beds. There is strong evidence to support the notion that vegetables grown in undisturbed soil grow much better than those planted on soil that has been dug over.
If you are interested in getting involved in any of these projects or are able to help donate materials, please get in touch using the details on the contact page. Thanks!