A school greenhouse for hands on learning

A school greenhouse for hands on learning

Spire Nursery & Infant School in Chesterfield, Derbyshire took delivery of their Keder  School Greenhouse in 2008 and it has proved to be a highly popular addition to the activities at the school.

The school enjoys large grounds with fruit and vegetable gardens, ornamental gardens, a pond and a woodland area on their school field. The school greenhouse, situated next to the vegetable garden, helps make it possible for the school to offer five gardening clubs held at lunchtime and after school to 40 children in Years 1 & 2. Two thirds of the space in the greenhouse is taken up with raised beds and one third is an activity area for starting seeds, transplanting, potting on etc next to the staging with the heated propagators.

The learning starts during the first week of term in September through to mid-November and again from mid-February to the end of the summer term. In the autumn term, they continue to harvest tomatoes and peppers well into late October and start growing a wide range of winter salads, cabbages and broad beans. In the spring even when it is really cold it is possible to start a wide range of crops many of which will later be planted outside. They have found the raised beds in the school greenhouse ideal for growing carrots as this avoid the problem of carrot root fly. Potatoes can also be started in containers in the greenhouse for an early crop in June. During the summer term, all classes are involved in gardening, growing produce such as tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, chillies, quick salad crops that only take a few weeks to grow and even melons!

The children love tasting the wide variety of crops and many are given to the school kitchen to be used for school lunches and special occasions such as parent lunches, and the summer class meals and picnics.

Valerie Farrow, School Gardener, explains the benefits of the Keder Greenhouse: “There are so many benefits! The size for instance, there is a lot of space for a reasonable cost with a large growing and working area. The vertical sides and height in the school greenhouse

mean everyone can comfortably stand up in it and no space is wasted. The automatic ventilation is a major plus – the children call it ‘The Magic Window’, especially in the hottest conditions and it means the temperature in the greenhouse is always appropriate to the weather conditions including at weekends and during holidays.” She continues: “It is great to have all our electric propagators together as we couldn’t keep them on the north facing windowsills in the classrooms, and the greenhouse is warm, even in the snowiest conditions. With the size of the roof and the guttering it is possible to fill a lot of rain butts to keep all the crops watered. We would absolutely recommend a Keder Greenhouse!”

The school were also impressed with high standard of Keder’s service, the efficient installation and the really helpful advice they received when planning this big addition to their gardens. The school has won many awards for its gardening activities and welcomes visitors to see its many gardens and greenhouse. The school can be contacted on 01246 234727.

www.spire-inf.derbyshire.sch.uk