SSG Blog

The death of tomatoes

So one large section 1-6 A-F was covered in tomato plants and it was a sad end to a sad life.

In short we had a poor crop from all but the Roma and the tigerella. Today we ended their pain and ended the festival of predation.

End result; a different strategy for next year and lots of little time green tomatoes.

Enter the inter web and Milwood Permaculture.



Can you help us with the Produce Stall?

The 3A produce stall MONDAY 19.3.18 (tomorrow). 08:30 – 09:45 outside assembly.
It is Sunday 18.3.18. There is water falling from the sky. Apparently this is called “rain”. (I asked google.)
Tomorrow we will start a new project with 3A (Mrs Pilgrim’s class). We will run the Produce stall with maths and accounting help from the kids of 3A. It is an imaginative supplement to Mrs Pilgrim’s and Miss Shemmell’s classes. 3A will hand the keys to the money box to 3Blater this year.
This will be a more chaotic, more educational and more fun Produce Stall. Lots of the 3A kids are bringing some produce from home but we want to ask you for your support.
You have been among the greatest supporters of the Produce Stall last year and we want to say thanks.
This year we have fine tuned the system a little bit.
We start at 08:30, the 3A kids join us at 08:45.
We will run it this Monday 19.3.18 and Next Monday 26.3.18. We will run it every Monday in Terms 2 and 3 (except the first and last weeks of term).
If you, or anyone you know, have any spare fresh garden produce, eggs, flowers, plants or seedlings please consider sending it along.
All the produce will be sold by the kids and the money ploughed straight back into the school.
Any left over produce will be donated to school projects; plants to the individual classes garden beds, flowers usually to the hard working folks in the office (unless it is someones birthday) and produce usually goes to one of the Healthy Eating Projects. (e.g. Free Fruit Tuesday or a healthy cooking project.)
If you have excess produce please bring it along or send it with your kids.
If you don’t have anything to donate please come along and buy something from the kids.
If you know someone that may be interested in donating (neighbour, relative or friends) then please tell us about them and we will include them in our communication.
Please spread the word about the stall and the garden. We believe that word of mouth is by far the best way to get people involved. Even if you are not a gardener, even if you have no time to help in the garden

The Produce Stall is Back!

The Stall is Back. Mrs P’s class is helping run the Produce Stall this year.

The Stall will run from 08:30-09:30 every Monday for the rest of this term, and all of terms 2 & 3 except the first and last weeks of each term.

Come and check us out and watch the kids from 3A use their Mathew skills as they run the money side of the venture.

The existing staff definitely needs some help! If you have any excess produce from your garden or from a school garden bed you help with please consider donating it to the 3A Produce Stall!

Later this year 3B will be in charge!


Somers School Garden Newsletter Update

This Somers School Garden News Update will appear in the School Newsletter this week.


1.  The working bee was great

2.  The Healthy Eating initiatives have already started.

3.  The Produce Stall starts next week 19.3.18

4.  Is your child’s teacher one of the following; Pilgrim, Aitken, Edwards, Harrison, Shemmell, Christie, or Mills?

1. The working bee was great again.

Sunday 4.3.18 we had one of our laid back working bees. Two new families got stuck in and all the essential work was completed. The 13 beds were totally cleaned out and heavily composted. The nets were refitted. All paths and communal areas were weeded and repaired. The compost heaps and sheds were tamed.


There were kids everywhere, helping and playing. We all had a nice lunch, including garden produce, provided by Ana Hughes and the Healthy Eating project.

We did not make progress the “poly tunnel” and aquaponic systems. There is a great area, just beside the veggie garden, that is under utilised and could be the home of some great school based projects; a green house for easy seedlings, an aquaponic project, chickens? Pop in when you are at the school and have a look. This is a great example of how people with out especially green fingers can really make an impact in the school garden. Maybe you know how to work with Poly tunnels, or chickens, or aquaponic systems? Get in touch if you want to know more about what is happening in the school garden or if you can help out with anything.

2. Free Fruit Tuesday

This year we are trying to encourage healthy eating in our kids. Everyone knows what a challenge it is getting our kids to eat healthy food at home. Hugh Greer, Ana Hughes and Jill Midlovets, with the help of many more wonderful people, are trying to help our kids grow up healthy by reinforcing these messages at school too. One initiative is Free Fruit Tuesday, funded by moneys raised by the Produce Stall and Arts Fair Stall and from donations received by the Garden from Bendigo Bank (Balnarring and District Community Bank Branch). Each Tuesday several volunteers came and slice up fresh fruit and distribute it to each class before break. It takes surprisingly little time. This week we had 6 volunteers and we were missing most of the 5/6 classes and we were finished in less than 30 minutes. Do you have a little spare time after dropping your kids to school on a Tuesday? If you want to help out contact Ana Hughes via


3. The Produce Stall starts next week; Monday 19.3.18 from 08:30 to 09:45

Mrs Pilgrim’s and Miss Shemmell’s classes (3A & 3B) have decided to use the Vegie Garden and the “Produce Stall” as a maths project. This is a great use of the garden and will form a part of their “Real Life Maths” teaching. Each week three kids will be selected by Mrs Pilgrim to join the Produce Stall and help out. There will be weighing, adding, subtracting, multiplying, handling produce and handling the money.


The Produce Stall sells only fresh produce, all grown by the families of the kids at school. We either source it out of the school garden itself or by donations from kids, parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts. It is a stall representing the greater community. If you have an excess of anything in your garden, or you would like to contribute to our fund raising efforts for the kids School Garden and Healthy Eating Projects simply bring along (or send a load with you children to drop off) whatever you have: lemons, zucchinis, fruit, silverbeet, whatever you have thats fresh!

We do not sell anything cooked at the Monday morning Produce Stall (we need a “food permit” and it is a lot more complicated) but if you love making preserves, jams, pickles, fowlers vacola preserves, dehydrated stuff…. anything…. and you would like to help out please get in touch because we do have a food permit at the Arts Fair. Last year we were given a lot of jams and pickles for our Arts Fair Stall and we can stockpile a huge treasure chest of jams and so on. Last year stall did very well and all the money is already going straight back to the kids.

The Produce Stall will run for the last two weeks of this term and then every week of Terms 2 and 3 except the first and last weeks. Got veggies? Please get in touch  


4. Is your child’s teacher one of the following; Pilgrim, Aitken, Edwards, Harrison, Shemmell, Christie, or Mills?

We have 9 (nine!) families volunteering to be Parent Gardeners for their kids classes. This is brilliant! We do still have gaps as we have 13 garden beds.  The families that are helping out are not spread out over all the classes. So 1A, 2C, 3A, 3B, 3/4C, 5/6A and 5/6B are all in need of a Gardener. If you have a little time to help with one tiny garden bed please talk to your child’s teacher or contact Doug Lynch at . Many of the teachers mentioned above are super competent gardeners themselves so these are really good classes to garden with.


Please check out our website;

Please follow us on Instagram; @SomersSchoolGarden

Please follow us on Twitter; @SomSchooGarden

Please talk to your teacher or email us;

What should you do with your garden in Autumn?

Hello everyone! 
The Somers School Garden is a great Community Based Initiative. It is part of the school but supported by the greater Somers Community. This group effort thing is absolutely central to what we are doing. It means that no one person has to carry all the weight, we are breaking tasks into very small parcels so that anyone can help out. Some of us are very busy and cannot spend hours in our own gardens never mind the School’s Garden. But it’s okay, if we pool our resources this can be a lot of fun. For example I am not very green fingered but I have a friend who is! So each term we will have a Somers focused, School Garden focused letter from Jess Brady to give us a SIMPLE GUIDE to what to do in that term. Here is a letter from Jess to give you a few pointers.
Autumn is upon us.
Can you feel the crisp mornings and afternoons? The darker starts to the day? The soil however, is still warm and perfect for getting ready for our winter crops. 
Vegetables and greens:  Consider the brassica family (cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, kale) greens like mizuna, tatsoi or pak choi, lettuce, rocket, spinach, carrots, celery, spring onions, leek, onions, radish, turnips and swedes.  And don’t forget some legumes for protein for you, and valuable nitrogen for your soil: broad beans are excellent!  It’s also time to put in your garlic and shallots.  The cabbage white butterfly is slowing down with the colder weather — but your brassica seedlings are not safe yet. Look for the tiny yellow football-shaped eggs on the underside of the leaves and simply rub them off every few days.
Herbs: Its out with the basil and in with the coriander. Get some parsley in, one of the most hardy, productive, delicious and healthy herbs there is.  Also try some rosemary, oregano, thyme and if you’ve got a pot that needs to be filled, try some mint. (goes too crazy within a garden bed)
Companions and  edible flowers: Add some colour to your garden bed and salad, attract beneficial insects, and suppress disease with some flowering plants.  Try calendula, pansies, viola, nasturtium, camomile, and borage.
Green manures: Even if you’re not going to grow anything over winter to eat, you can grow some soil improving crops which you can dig back in or mulch with come spring.  If your soil has been a little overworked, it will love you for it. At this time of year try broad bean (buy them in bulk as fava beans from Middle Eastern groceries or stock and feed), field pea, oats and wheat.
For further suggestions, Ive included this great link, that gives you lots of individual information on each specie listed. It provides further insight into growing. Have a look see!

Other lovely jobs and activities to undertake in Autumn include:
Harvesting and preserving the last of our summer crops (pesto, relish, fruit leathers, sauces)

Saving seed from outstanding performers of summer (remember to label with date, specie and location)

Cut back and dry herbs finishing up for the summer

Perusing the bulb catalogue and consider planting some bulbs for a winter/early spring show

Get ready to catch autumn leaves for your compost

Make the most of new season apples on our peninsula!
Please feel free to connect with me if you have any queries in getting started in your garden beds this year.
Happy autumnal gardening days to you all,
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New Moon Phase 18.3.18 to 23.3.18

The next planting phase recommended by the moon planting calendar is the new moon phase. This means we sow or transplant leafy annuals. (The plants where we eat or use the leaves or stem; spinach, lettuce, celery, rocket, silverbeet, coriander, leek, cabbage…)

If we cross refer to the Planting Guide for March we see that all those listed above (spinach, lettuce, celery, rocket, silverbeet, coriander, leek, cabbage) are good for planting in March. So if you want to try moon planting give those yummy green things a go from 18.3.18 to 23.3.18. It’s not new and fancy, it is probably the oldest method of deciding what to plant when.

If you want a little more info on these plants try the ABC againScreen Shot 2018-03-12 at 14.00.40

Plant Focus; Beetroot

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Somers Garden Planting Guides

All our garden beds are ready. It is time t start planting.

Have a look at the excellent free resources available at the ABC Organic Gardener Website. The Image below comes from their “Autumn Winter Planting Guide” and this guide comes free.

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In Somers we are generally considered “Warm Temperate”. That climate is represented by the purple coloured boxes in the “Planting Guide” So a quick glance suggests March is good for Artichoke, Asian Greens, Beetroot, Broccoli etc etc

Check out the downloadable PDF available here. Pick what you want to have in your garden.

We can source seeds and seedling but if you have your own all the better.

If you or anyone you know is a keen greenhouse seed propagator perhaps you have could grow or donate extra seedlings to the Somers School Garden? In the future we hope to have our own greenhouse running in the existing “Poly Tunnel” in the Garden. To do that we would really benefit from tapping into local expertise.

What to plant in March?

A little free resource about what to plant in March.

A handful of ideas

What to do in March?

We are going to try to share some quality resources to give everyone a few ideas; and here’s something from the ABC! Thanks to Justin Russell.