SSG Blog

Budding Gardener Award

It is with great pleasure that we acknowledge the skills and efforts of Mackenzie of 3/4M as the Winner of the Budding Gardener Award.

Congratulations.

SSG Awards 2017 Term 2 3:4

Term 3: Three New Things

This term we are trying three new things in the garden.

The first thing is the regular Monday Morning Meeting.  Every Monday morning from 08:50 – 09:35 approximately. Drop the kids, bring a coffee, meet a friend in there. There will usually be someone from the garden volunteer group who can try to answer any questions you might have. If it’s pouring rain then it will be quiet but contact us via email if there is something you would like to know; SomersSchoolGarden@gmail.com

The second new project is a Somers School Garden Produce Stall. This will debut in the next few weeks. This will feature vegetables and fruit grown by your kids in their garden bed and also produce donated by other members of the extended Somers School Garden Community.  That could be the vegetables or fruit but it could also be jams, pickles, chutneys and so on. We plan to place the stall outside assembly on Monday mornings and maybe at the end of school too. Have a look at that stall and see if you want anything. All funds raised will be ploughed straight back into the garden. We hope to get the kids involved in the running of the stall. This could take many forms, for example a maths project based on the takings. Please keep an eye out for the stall and see what local produce you would like.

The third new project is that the Somers School Garden will have its own stall at the wonderful Somers Arts Fair in October. This will be just outside Mr G’s room very near the new Sensory Garden. The Arts Fair Stall will be selling school grown and home grown produce. Come to the stall for plants and seedlings. It will also sell home made items from the greater school garden community; more cakes, preserves, bread, jams and more. We would be very happy if we can get donations from any local producers to sell. We are keen to promote all local produce, healthy foods, nude foods and low food miles. The stall will also be promoting the new Boomerang Bags Initiative that you will have seen in the recent newsletters. There will be bags on display and we will be a meeting point for the WORKSHOPS that will be running on the day of the Arts Fair. All funds from the Somers School Garden Stall at the Art Fair will go to the Art Fair because the Art Fair is Awesome.

The Somers School Garden community is always keen to hear from you, maybe you have an idea, want to help out with a Garden Bed for your kids Grade, maybe you have no time but you do have something to donate like mulch, manure, compost or plants. It’s a fun way to contribute to the school.

Visit the blog at http://www.SomersSchoolGarden.wordpress.com

Follow us on Instagram @SomersSchoolGarden or Twitter @SomSchooGarden or just pop in on Mondays with a coffee in hand.

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Boomerang Bags

Jess Brady and Zoe Proctor are getting busy with the Boomerang Bags initiative. This is very much the sort of thing the Somers School Garden wants to support!

Please check out their article from the Somers Primary School Newsletter.

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Wonderful Working Bee

On Sunday (13.8.17) we had  a wonderful Working Bee at the Somers School Garden. All our working bees seem to be great fun. Maybe it is the fact that we always build something and we can see the fruits of our labours? Maybe its the fact that we always have cake? This time we had cakes, pies, muffins, flapjacks, fresh produce, lemon cordial, kombucha, tea and coffee. Most of this was made with at least some ingredients from the garden itself. Thank you to everybody who came along and worked; all the parents, the teachers, the aids and even the kids. The most exciting project was the building of the new Sensory Garden just outside Mr G’s room. The new Sensory Garden is slightly different to the ones we build in the main garden area. It has higher sides and is accessed from a concrete path. This is great for our students with mobility issues. On the other side of the path there are a series of tyre stacks for the more aggressive plants like mint. Please pop in and have a look, have a sniff and in a few weeks when the plants are bigger have a taste.

We also did a big clean up; weeding, planting, fixing, pruning etc. This was a big job partly due to the great pile of building/fencing waste that gets dumped in the garden. We love to recycle and re-use materials in the garden. In fact we have managed to do all the regeneration of the garden so far with only a few hundred dollars of the donation we received from Bendigo Bank (Balnarring). We cannot use rubbish. (Thanks to Travis who carted a load away on Sunday to dump at his own expense.) If there are useful materials please deposit them neatly to the west of the Prep Classrooms behind the secure gate and in between the room and the fence to the Somers Holiday Park. The shaded area to the south of the prep building has been completely cleaned up and rebuilt as the worm farm, composting area. If you have a spare bail of lucerne or a bag of quality broken down compost then deposit that there please.

This term we are trying three new things in the garden.

The first thing is the regular Monday Morning Meeting.  Every Monday morning from 08:50 – 09:35 approximately. Drop the kids, bring a coffee, meet a friend in there. There will usually be someone from the garden volunteer group who can try to answer any questions you might have. If it’s pouring rain then it will be quiet but contact us via email if there is something you would like to know; SomersSchoolGarden@gmail.com

The second new project is a Somers School Garden Produce Stall. This will debut in the next few weeks. This will feature vegetables and fruit grown by your kids in their garden bed and also produce donated by other members of the extended Somers School Garden Community.  That could be the vegetables or fruit but it could also be jams, pickles, chutneys and so on. We plan to place the stall outside assembly on Monday mornings and maybe at the end of school too. Have a look at that stall and see if you want anything. All funds raised will be ploughed straight back into the garden. We hope to get the kids involved in the running of the stall. This could take many forms, for example a maths project based on the takings. Please keep an eye out for the stall and see what local produce you would like.

The third new project is that the Somers School Garden will have its own stall at the wonderful Somers Arts Fair in October. This will be just outside Mr G’s room very near the new Sensory Garden. The Arts Fair Stall will be selling school grown and home grown produce. Come to the stall for plants and seedlings. It will also sell home made items from the greater school garden community; more cakes, preserves, bread, jams and more. We would be very happy if we can get donations from any local producers to sell. We are keen to promote all local produce, healthy foods, nude foods and low food miles. The stall will also be promoting the new Boomerang Bags Initiative that you will have seen in the recent newsletters. There will be bags on display and we will be a meeting point for the WORKSHOPS that will be running on the day of the Arts Fair. All funds from the Somers School Garden Stall at the Art Fair will go to the Art Fair because the Art Fair is Awesome.

The Somers School Garden community is always keen to hear from you, maybe you have an idea, want to help out with a Garden Bed for your kids Grade, maybe you have no time but you do have something to donate like mulch, manure, compost or plants. It’s a fun way to contribute to the school.

Visit the blog at http://www.SomersSchoolGarden.wordpress.com

Follow us on Instagram @SomersSchoolGarden or Twitter @SomSchooGarden or just pop in on Mondays with a coffee in hand.

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Honesty Swap Shop

The Somers School Gardeners hope to start a Honesty Swap Shop trial this term.

Monday Mornings are the time that there are most parents around the school for assembly.

This is a simple plan; Everyone that comes along to school on Monday Morning can bring anything they have grown in their classes school garden bed, OR their own garden bed, OR that they have made using stuff from school or home. So if you have too much Kale or too much Zucchini or Lemons or Jam or Pickles or whatever…. you bring them along when you are heading to school. Go to the little trolley of veggies etc outside assembly and SWAP or DONATE or BUY.

If you see something you want then you can either swap your own product for it or buy it. If you are swapping we simply ask that you err on the side of generosity. This means that even if you swap something, the value of what stays on the Honest Swap Stall will be greater. If you just want to donate your excess then great, thank you, send your kids in with a bag of lemons or whatever you have. All funds gathered will be ploughed back into the garden. All the school can benefit from the healthy eating possibilities. All the local gardeners get to cooperate and share resources as a bonus/thank you for their efforts in the School Garden and at home.

It doesn’t have to be a major chore for any one of us though.

The Somers School Gardeners do use social media but actual face to face meet ups are best! We are experimenting this term with an informal MONDAY MOANING MEETING. (Every Monday 08:55 – 09:35) We suggest you bring a coffee/hot choc/Yak Butter Tea and drop your kids off before assembly. Then wander up to the garden to literally just say hello. No work. No muck. This allows us to meet each other and share ideas. Most people hang around for 5-10 minutes. This has been running every Monday this term and even in the rain it has been fun. (For example; this week I made a new friend, planned the working bee and I was given preserved lemons and a tree!)

An “Honesty Swap Shop” will be a very easy thing to organise if we have a few volunteers/parents/staff that gather briefly on Monday mornings because we will have a cadre of parents there anyway.

Thus if we are gathering on Mondays, a lot of parents make it to the assembly every Monday, then that is the day to share/swap/sell/donate veggies and preserves etc. The HONESTY SWAP SHOP can be as simple a wheel barrow from the garden area.

Hopefully the Somers Primary School parents can clear the stall out as they head off after assembly!

Please get in touch if you have any ideas about how this might work better? Maybe you have a trolley? Maybe you have an appropriate cash box? Maybe you’ve done this before and you have a bunch of tips? Maybe you have a suggestion for a name?

If you look at the example of a Honesty Box Shop below you can see how we could also share a little information at the same time; telling people about the garden, the Workshops, inviting people to help. We could also promote other good stuff that fits with the Garden Project. Specifically we would like to promote a Healthy Eating culture for our kids. Much credit must go to Ana Hughes for her efforts in this regard. Once we get the garden well established we hope to expand into Healthy Eating Projects. This will be great fun and hopefully will encourage  allow people to get involved that don’t see them selves as gardeners more as FOODIES!

One of the things we would like to do is encourage people to buy and eat locally. So perhaps we could make a map of all the Farm Gate type businesses around the area; everything from larger operations to individual gardeners that leave a basket of fruit outside their home.

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The whole project is going very well, the garden looks great and there are all sorts of things happening in there. We have had a local news service contacting us to do stories. Things like Instagram and the Social Media efforts are gathering quite a following.

We need your aromatic herbs!

SENSORY GARDEN PROJECT 2017.

Got any herbs?

At the Working Bee this Sunday 13.8.17 we hope to build and plant a Sensory Garden. So we are calling for donations of aromatic herbs. Nothing too spicy!


 For example English Mint is good but the Vietnamese Mint would be too much. If you have gentle aromatic herbs, shrubs or dwarf trees we would love to have them! 

Even if you can’t be there on Sunday maybe you (or your friends) have a few spare plants in pots then get in touch or just drop it in the garden with a note! This will be a great addition to the garden for all the kids at the school.

No doubt some of these herbs may find their way into the healthy food efforts in the Garden/Kitchen Garden.

e-mail lists and us and you

It may not be the most exciting thing but…… emails are important.

The Somers School Garden communications strategy (if you can call it such a thing) is based on making info freely available via:

This website; http://www.SomersSchoolGarden.wordpress.com

Instagram;  @SomersSchoolGarden

Twitter; @SomSchooGarden

Actual human face to face meet ups! This means the WORKING BEE (once a term) and we are experimenting this term with an informal MONDAY MOANING MEETING. (Every Monday 08:55 – 09:35) We suggest you bring a coffee/hot choc/Yak Butter Tea and drop your kids off for assembly. Then wander up to the garden to literally just say hello. No work. No muck. This allows us to meet each other and share ideas. Most people hang around for 5-10 minutes. This has been running every Monday this term and even in the rain it has been fun.

Why? Because not everyone does the Social Media thing. Because sometimes you just want to ask another gardener; “Is that a weed?” or “How do I grow this?” or “Can I get more compost?” or “What little evil insect is eating this leaf and how do I stop it?”

We also hope to start a Honesty Swap Shop trial this term. This is a simple plan; Everyone that comes along to school on Monday Morning can bring anything they have grown in their school garden bed, or their own garden bed, or that they have made using stuff from school or home. So if you have too much Kale or too much Zucchini or Lemons or Jam or Pickles or whatever…. you bring them along when you are heading to school. Go to the little trolley of veggies etc outside assembly and SWAP or DONATE or BUY.

If you see something you want either swap your own product for it, or buy it. If you are swapping we simply ask that you err on the side of generosity. This means that even if you swap the value of what stays on the Honest Swap Stall will be greater. If you just want to donate your excess then great, send your kids in with a bag of Lemons. All funds gathered will be ploughed back into the garden. All the school can benefit from the healthy eating possibilities. All the gardeners get to cooperate and share resources as a bonus for their efforts in the School Garden and at home.

This will be a very easy thing to organise if we have a few volunteers/parents/staff that gather briefly on Monday mornings because we will have a cadre of parents there anyway.

The best thing is actually meeting up but we know how these things work…. we cannot all get there when we would like. Thus we use the website, instagram and twitter.

HOWEVER, every now and again we would like to be able to email you stuff. Mostly things like invites to WorkShops and Working Bees.

So we need your email addresses if you are willing to share them with us.

First things first; this email list is constantly evolving. There are new people all the time, which is great. Can you please contact us by email if you know someone that should be on this list or if there is someone that doesn’t want to be on the list anymore.
I plan to update this list this week so please get back to me (SomersSChoolGarden@gmail.com)  and tell me who should be on here. Remember its not just for green fingered types, the people that can donate other skills or materials should also be on this list.
Don’t be offended if you get a few similar email messages over the coming days as we update lists and keep trying to get the word out.
The whole project is going very well, the garden looks great and there are all sorts of things happening in there. We have had a local news service contacting us to do stories. Things like Instagram and the Social Media efforts are gathering quite a following.
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Working Bee THIS Weekend. 13.8.17

Working Bee at the Somers School Garden NEXT SUNDAY 13.8.17 09:00 to 13:00
THERE WILL BE TEA & CAKE!!!!
This weekend we are having our once a term Working Bee.
It’s Winter but thats not going to stop us.
Next weekend on Sunday we will have a working bee. This will be a Garden Only working bee. So even a small number of us can make a BIG IMPACT.
Please come along and bring a friend if you can.
PLANNED TASKS;
1. General Tidy Up.
(Weeding, pruning, fixing broken bits, clearing the piles of wood and other building materials displaced by the NEW FENCES around the garden.)
2. Compost Making, Turning and Spreading.
(We will use up the matured compost we have and prepare compost in the beds for use in Spring and Summer. IF ANYONE HAS ACCESS TO WELL BROKEN DOWN MANURE OR MANURE/STRAW MIX….. we would love it as a donation! WE know not everyone can be at the working bee but if you can donate any useful materials this is very much appreciated as a contribution. We need manure, straw, compost, organic pest sprays, old red gum/ironbark sleepers, lengths of Poly Pipe to improve the nets over the gardens, eggs shells even!)
3. Individual Garden Bed BLITZ.
(If you want help to BLITZ the garden bed you work on, or maybe just a chance to talk over plans or get new ideas from the other gardeners then this is the Working Bee for it.)
4. Sensory Garden Bed.
(We hope to do some work on the sensory garden bed. This is a project led by Mr G so we shall try to help out with that if the plans and materials are ready.)
The weather forecast is good at this stage. No rain. Some sun!
It will be FULL MOON PHASE; sow and plant ROOT CROPS, DECORATIVE and FRUITING PERENNIALS.
YOU WILL NEED; gardening clothes and gloves, maybe a secateurs, pruning saw, etc. Please bring any seedlings you have to donate, any compost or organic friendly pest deterrents and indeed any materials of use to the garden!
IF there is anything that we can buy for individual garden beds then please tell us. WE NEED TO KNOW by FRIDAY MORNING so that one of the garden volunteer parents can organise it for us. So far it has always been Ana Hughes that has done that and she is doing it again this time; THANKS ANA!
Please email Ana Directly at ahughes@bigpond.com by Midday Friday if you have a request. We have a small amount of funds left from the Donation from Bendigo Bank.
Thanks.
See you Sunday we hope.
Doug Lynch for Somers School Garden

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Lemon Grab!

The inaugural Somers School Garden Product Launch!


We had fireworks. We had dancers. We had speeches. We had some venture capitalists trying to get in in the action!

We might have exaggerated but still! Look. Lemons.

Preserved lemon by Ana Hughes. It’s the fruit of her labour and the fruit of our lemon tree.

We hope to have a stall of items for sale it the Somers School Arts Fair. We shall use stuff the kids have grown at school and any stuff the school families have grown at home.

We shall try to have seedlings ready and more.

Any ideas? Contact us; somersschoolgarden@gmail.com

Monday Moaning Meeting!

There wasn’t much Moaning.

This term we are trying to add three things to what we are doing in the Garden.

Thing 1 is a little human interaction.

The plan is to have an informal meet up from 08:55 to 09:35 every Monday in the Somers School Veggie Garden.


The plan is to meet up, drink tea/coffee and share knowledge. Today we pulled out a few weeds and tasted a few things.

We had a few ideas about what we will do on the working bee; little fire for tea, one parent is making lemon muffins with their kids, one parent is making a little vegetable/spinach pie and a third family is making a lemon verbena drink or maybe Home Made Kombucha for the kids?


There are some nice veggies coming up.

The morning coffee were good to. 


The idea worked well. We didn’t have much to do but having a few volunteers together was a great opportunity to encourage each other and dream up new schemes!


So we are going to keep doing a Monday Morning meet up every week!

Come along!