Our seventh year of the Kitchen Garden program at Moonah Primary has started fantastically well with our students excited to find all the lush growth which occurred over the summer holidays.  A wonderful bounty of enormous pumpkins, ripe tomatoes, fat zucchinis, juicy cucumbers, bright red chillies, fragrant basil and many more beautiful vegetables ready for harvesting and eating!

Our students have enjoyed the experience of picking ripe cherry tomatoes and popping them straight into their mouths, counting to see how many pumpkins we have in the garden, and weighing the harvest every week. So far over 115 kilos of tomatoes have been picked. A new sight this year are the big round jam melons, which look like watermelons and have caused much excitement as they grow and grow - they are used in jam making, as the name suggests!

In addition to preparing and sharing delicious dishes from the fresh produce, students in the kitchen classes have  been busy preserving the bounty of vegetables into lots of relishes, jams, chutneys and sauces ready to sell at our annual fundraising stall at the Moonah Taste of the World Festival. The festival will be held at Benjafield Park on Sunday 20 March. Please come and say hello, 24CG will be there too!

Towards the end of last year 24CG’s Reuben installed automatic timers on our watering system, and the regular supply of water has had such a positive impact on the productive growth we see in the garden.  Other recent 24CG additions include our beautiful new undercover outdoor classroom, perennial beds and fantastic solid timber compost bays, which were immediately put to good use with the first batch of compost being sieved and spread on our beds.

In the past few weeks I have had the privilege of attending two great garden workshops. The first in the company of all the other Garden Specialists from 24CG schools, where we learned about attracting and keeping volunteers, heard from Eat Well Tasmania, and visited Hobart City Farm. At the second workshop I heard from Jean-Martin Fortier, author of The Market Gardener and a very successful small-scale vegetable farmer in Quebec, Canada, sharing his techniques for achieving maximum productivity from a small area.

Our garden is a big, beautiful green space where all our students, staff and volunteers can learn about and enjoy so many things:

`I love planting because you get to learn all the little plants names and I like to harvest because the little plants that you planted make beautiful food’ Emily, grade 5.

`I love watching the children enjoying the planting and harvesting and all the jobs they do in the garden, they absolutely love it. Also watching them enjoying the beautiful meals that we cook, and sitting together and sharing a meal’ Mandy, class teacher.

`The garden is such a beautiful, serene place, it also has a fantastic harvest and it’s joyous fun working together’ Robin, garden volunteer.

`I tried silverbeet, I’ve never tried it before’ Kriscinda, grade 6.

`I love digging it’s so fun. I like planting because we grow food and cook and eat it’ Nawraj, grade 6.

`It’s really fun to work and be in the garden’ Rebecca, grade 5.

`I can’t wait to try sunflower seeds, I’ve never tried them before!’ Melissa, grade 3.

`Our kitchen garden is my favourite place in the whole school!’ Lille, grade 6.