This interest meant that I was delighted to be able to host one of the local Eco-Schools Cluster Group meetings on this topic. 7 teachers and support staff attended along with Rachel Sweetland who is one of the local co-ordinators. We looked at different strategies which would help different school situations, and looked into mulches, to help reduce watering needs. At Windmill we use a few different mulches, including a twiggy municipal compost, composted bark and also living mulch - ie. we plant up the space left between slower growing plants with quick growing ones like radish and lettuce, so we can harvest them as the other plants spread out, but the ground is never bare. All these systems work well in different situations, so it was useful to discuss the pros and cons of the different methods with the group.
|Standing by to water the green manure|
We finished by sowing a green manure crop which will help one of our poorer beds to recover from having wood chip mixed into the soil, and then there was a quiz on gardening facts, the prize being... a packet of green manure!
|Sowing the green manure|
Thanks to all of the group for coming and helping us to prepare and plant up the bed. We hope to see some of the teachers again in the new school year.