The McCAIN School Veggie Patches Programme, which delivers interactive gardening lessons to primary schools,
proved highly successful in 2010 and primary schools across New Zealand are being encouraged to register for this year’s programme. The Red Veggie Truck is now on the road and visiting schools, and primary schools still have time to register on the website, mccainveggiepatches.com before the truck, the grower and his wealth of veggie knowledge arrives in their area.
Last year’s inaugural programme saw 700 Kiwi primary schools registered and 60 schools visited by the McCAIN Red Veggie Truck and grower. It is hoped even more schools will register this year.
McCAIN Foods Australia New Zealand head of innovation, Nicki Anderson, says she was overwhelmed by the response the McCAIN Red Veggie Truck and Grower received in 2010.
“The McCAIN Red Veggie Truck Tour and Grower took our plan of involving Kiwi kids in the process of growing and harvesting vegetables to a much deeper grass-roots level than we expected, with so many schools wanting to be involved,” says Anderson.
“We are thrilled to be equipping even more students with invaluable gardening knowledge and a hands-on experience that will continue to grow with them well into the future.”
All schools that register for the McCAIN School Veggie Patches Programme are eligible to gain points towards gardening tools, seeds and equipment whenever somebody purchases selected McCAIN products and provides the barcode to their registered local school.
Communities can show their support and earn points for their local primary school by collecting barcodes from selected McCAIN products and dropping them into their local registered primary school or send in a stamped envelope with the name, town and postcode of the chosen primary school to:
McCAIN School Veggie Patches, PO Box 210035, Manukau, 2154
Gardening report from Frimley School
Last year the Middle School at Frimley School in Hastings decided to get into gardening. Our school comprises five classes of Year 3 and 4 students. It was a real challenge to find a suitable spot for our garden in the school, but what a location we found – catching the sun and right outside the dental clinic. Our caretakers built our raised beds for us and each class had a bed each. We have had lots of fun learning about what plants need to grow and really enjoyed doing experiments in the classroom to find out about optimum light conditions, and seeing how plants transport water around themselves by colouring the water. While we waited for the gardens to be ready, we had indoor gardening growing plants in a glove and in egg shells. We even measured our plants’ growth!
We were very pleased to have the McCains Veggie truck and The Gardener come and talk to us before we started our planting. When our garden beds were ready, we were ready, too, as we had researched what was best to plant at that time. One class learnt how big and domineering the broccoli was in our small garden as it grew so quickly in the warm spring conditions, but it didn’t matter as we ate broccoli raw with hummus, cooked it, and made it into salads. Our Mums were amazed that we just couldn’t get enough of it, and the dental nurse was also most impressed with the way we couldn’t get enough of the green vegetable. Other classes planted carrots, capsicums, parsley, bok chuoy and lettuces. We used the vegetables in a variety of ways and even sold some at our PTA’s Gala in November.
One of the favourite activities was the class competition of growing a ‘spud in a bucket’. We wouldn’t have won any prizes for size but we certainly grew plenty!
Another popular activity was the radish competition.
At the end-of-year break-up our item was all about gardening with a song/rap we got off the web about the needs of a plant. We certainly learnt a lot about gardening and how with regular watering, weeding, and companion planting how easy and well things grow in the Hawkes Bay.
We wondered what to do over the summer while we were on holiday and so we planted some sunflowers and some mustard to help rejuvenate our gardens. The sunflowers were huge by the time we got back in February, but unfortunately the birds ate the seeds so we were not able to collect them and save for planting later or even eating.