Would-be gardeners drop by

Staff and pupils from Crownbridge School, Cwmbran visit St Julians Allotment.
Staff and pupils from Crownbridge School, Cwmbran visit St Julians Allotment. From left to right Meryl Jones (allotment treasurer), Darren Burst, Matt Ford, Rob James, Dylan WhittakerJackson, Nathanael Arnold, James Coram, Kane McCarthy, Jack Vaughan, Anne Burgum (plotholder) and Jess Coombs the group’s teacher.

ST JULIANS Allotment had some VIP guests today (that’s very important pupils to you and I) when the site played host to a group from classes 8, 9 and 10 at Crownbridge School, Cwmbran.

The young students are in the process of creating their own vegetable garden and couldn’t wait to get their hands dirty pulling up veg, exploring the site and firing off questions to allotment treasurer, Meryl Jones, and plotholder, Anne Burgum.

The project was launched by the group’s teacher, Jess Coombs, at the start of the autumn term, partly to encourage healthy eating and exercise but also to inspire the pupils to think about where their food comes from.

“We set up the gardening group because we want to teach our pupils that whatever they grow can be used at the café that we have in school, and also as a practical activity for them when they might not want to be working in the classroom,” said Mrs Coombs.

And while autumn’s cold days and icy nights might not be the ideal time to begin planting, both pupils and staff are keen to get stuck in.

“So far we’ve put in onions, we’ve had a tidy up and the pupils are discovering the different things you have to do when you have a garden. We’re also going to put in broad beans.”

So what next? Well that’s where Meryl and Anne came in. Both are seasoned gardeners and were happy to offer advice, and help guide the youngsters when it came to planning for what they hope will be a bumper harvest next year.

“We haven’t planned what else we’re going to put in yet,” said Mrs Coombs. “We’re trying to get our Level 2 Royal Horticultural Society Gardening Award for Schools. As part of that we need to ask the group what they want to grow.

“We’re going to do that as an activity today and we’ll go from there.”

We’ll be keeping an eye on how they all get along and the group will hopefully be back to see what the allotment holders have been up to in the spring.

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