Friday, 11 February 2011

Back to school !!

Like a lot of companies, my employer places great value on helping the communities in which it operates, so yesterday off I went with a couple of colleagues to help with a garden that our department is creating in one of the local schools.

The project has been ongoing for some months now with various activities taking place, from building walls, resiting extremely heavy metal railings, shifting tonnes of rubble to fill and level the site, making loads of wooden planters (70 I seem to recall!!) and shifting tonnes of top soil until finally it looks like this:

During a couple of earlier visits to the garden, I helped to make some of the wooden boxes that you can see in the shot above. They are different heights so that different age groups and disabled / wheelchair bound children can all join in the fun.

Our job yesterday was to turf as much as possible in 3 hours. Unfortunately for us it had rained non-stop for about 4 days, so the rolls were sodden and very heavy / awkward to handle.

Here is the before shot:

and this is after - we managed to turf the bottom end and one side of the garden (not bad for 3 hours):

This is the side view - it rained again last night so hopefully the turf will start to knit - it had lovely roots.

We're nearly at the end of the project - there is a bit more turfing to do, the planters need filling with topsoil, there is some block paving to go onto the hardcore area down the middle of of the garden and then I think some rendering on the retaining wall that some of my colleagues built.

It is already looking great - can't wait to revisit it in the height of the season, but maybe the most exciting thing I've learned during the project is that you can hire petrol driven wheelbarrows - who'd have thought ! Apparently they take about 4 times the load of a normal wheelbarrow ...

... now that might be useful if I ever get that manure delivered ...


  1. Wow that looks great, you've done a lot to get the site up and running. I'm moving manure today so could do with one of those petrol wheelbarrows!

  2. I have a website The School Vegetable Patch that is designed to help scjools with gardening projects. I'm really looking for schools to add some info about their patches to my site from this page so if you could convince the school to cintribure describing how their garden grows it would be really great. Other schools are really grateful to read how others do things.

  3. How virtuous of you and nothing to do with getting a day out of the office I'm sure ;>) Looks very good, very lucky school to get you and your company involved.

    GLA, I've just started getting involved with the kids school garden. It's a wildlife garden rather than a veg garden - although they do grow some fruit and veg. Will see if I can persuade them to let me put some info on yor website.

  4. Hi. I wandered over here from Woody's blog and have really enjoyed reading your blog.
    I was interested to read about your schools project as I'm involved in our school's project in Chesterfield - which you can read about on Green lane Allotments School Vegetable Patch site funnily enough!

    Can't wait for the ground to dry up a bit so I can get out there -can't plant any seeds yet as some sod set fire to my potting shed and I lost all my pots and seeds - ho hum!

  5. Wow, what a fab project! What will they be growing in it?

  6. the caretaker is amazing, he has been a driving force behind the project - he has some background in building trades so has been able to plan everything and direct us all.

    I presume they are going to try and grow a little of everything - in their tiny patch last year they had a handful of onions, tomatoes and something else. They've planted up some fruit trees & bushes already and I noticed some strawberry plants in one of the planters and a colleague gave them a rhubarb plant :)

    Thanks for the link GLA, I'll definitely mention it - I'm not sure how 'teckie' they are, but sounds like it would be fun for them to see what others are doing.

  7. They'll definitely use the Internet - if not Ofsted would be after them. As for a contribution all I would need are photos emailing and some text in Word of something - even just emailed so no techie stuff needed!