Welcome to Waitahuna School's updated Blog. We are excited to share some of the learning that we do everyday at our fantastic school. Included in our Blog are links that will help with supporting learning at home.


2016 Garden Updates ~
4th March 2016
On Friday the whole school made zucchini fritters. We used the zucchini from our garden because it was getting too big and would go to waste.  We also used some parsley from our herb garden.  The fritters were very healthy as they were full of vegetables.

29th February 2016


By Madaline Homer, age 9
Two years ago we planted 5 fruit trees at Waitahuna School. Two plums, two pears and an apple. Unfortunately one plum tree died this Summer. We also had an apple on our apple tree but sadly it disappeared. (We are not sure if a possum took it or it was mistakenly picked)

This year we have been very excited because there are 19 pears on our ‘Pierre Cornielle’ pear tree! We are being very careful not to knock them off and we are hoping to be able to share them when they are ready.

By Briar Holgate, age 8
At the start of the school holidays, Waitahuna School started to grow a tomato plant.

We wrote a sign that said ‘Please help us to keep our tomato plant alive over the Summer break”. We left the tomato plant and sign in the swimming pool. It was good for the Waitahuna children, community and Mums and Dads to water the tomato plant. When Waitahuna School went for our first swim this year we discovered 8 tomatoes on our plant.  We are looking forward to the tomatoes ripening. Thanks to everyone who helped to look after our tomato.

2015 Garden Updates ~

11th March 2015
Today in our school garden we spent some time digging out plants that have gone to seed and weeding our native garden.  We were excited to find a bumper crop of potatoes in our tubs - "It is like digging for treasure". The children are currently discussing how we will cook the potatoes. We also found some brightly coloured beans. Our school garden has had trouble producing healthy vegetables because of the dry Summer, we are thinking of ways to get water closer to the beds - we will keep you posted when we have devised a plan.

2014 Garden Updates ~

25th September 2014
This week Waitahuna School was excited to receive their order of Omni Garden gloves.  These gloves are designed for small hands and will be perfect for our many green-fingered gardeners.  We would thoroughly recommend you look out for the Omni garden glove range at your local Garden Centre.

24th July 2014
Our Orchard
This week our fruit trees arrived to plant in our school orchard. We decided to plant them near the old cooking apple tree as it produces a good crop of fruit and obviously enjoys the position.

We purchased two pears Pierre Cornielle and Doyenne du Comice which will pollinate each other. We also planted two Plums, Santa Rosa and Duffs Early Jewel. Our last tree to complete our orchard is an eating apple Apple Initial. We set out on a mission to plant the trees on Tuesday afternoon but found it difficult to dig the holes with our tools and only planted one of the trees. This morning Kaitlin's Dad came in before school and helped us to plant the rest. 

We would like to thank Kaitlin's Dad for helping us to dig the holes and also Mrs Ruth Homer for fundraising for our school orchard.

If you cannot see the photos on your ipad or tablet, please click the link below: School Orchard

1st July 2014
Carrots Galore
This week we have had a couple of very industrious workers in our garden. Hannah and Abby have been quietly beavering around in the school garden, removing the weeds, taking out the frosted vegetables and turning the soil. 

Today they provided a fantastic healthy snack for the whole school.  The girls dug, washed and cut the carrots and also provided red capsicum and pumpkin dip!  The children thought it was a great surprise and the teachers were very pleased with their initiative.  Well done Abby & Hannah.

If you cannot see the photos on your ipad or tablet, please click the link below: Carrots

Week 10 Term One
Article by Abby, Rebecca and Crede 

If you can't see the slideshow above on your ipad or tablet, try the link below:
Our Fabulous Apple Tree
Yesterday the Senior Room harvested some more produce from our garden. We have a very old apple tree on the edge of our grounds and this year it has a huge crop of apples.  Our friend Haley kindly offered to come to school and show us how she juices apples.  

Firsty we started picking the apples off the tree and gathering them into bowls and into our shirts.  Next we took them to the kitchen to wash them. Crede and Melee started cutting  them in half and Mrs Blackmore cored the halves and cut them into quarters.We then placed them back into the bowls.

Juicing apples is a lot harder than we thought. Haley showed us for a start how the juicer worked, it seemed so easy when we watched.  The juicer had two places for the pulp and the juice to come out.  You use a small paddle to push the apple into the juicer, it takes quite a lot of muscle to get the apple in. The pulp was put into Grace the pigs bucket and the whole school got to sample the apple juice.   The juice was sweet and delicious and made us appreciate our old apple tree even more.

OUR EXCITING NEWS - Farmlands/ Rural Woman Garden Grant
Week 11 - 14th April Term One

They say good things take time and that has definitely been the case with Waitahuna Schools ‘Exciting News’.

This week we were presented with a Garden Grant from Rural Women New Zealand and Farmlands. We were fortunate to be one of the 10 schools selected nationally from 58 applicants to receive the $2000.00 grant. The children have plenty of ideas on how to spend the money and we look forward to updating you as our dreams become a reality.

Thanks to our local Rural Women members Margaret Healy and Raewyn Bray and Simon Walker our Farmlands Technical Field Officer for coming to school to make the presentation.

Rural Women NZ national president, Wendy McGowan, says “This is the fourth time Rural Women New Zealand and Farmlands have worked together to distribute the proceeds from the popular Farmlands Ladies Nights.”
“There’s a real focus in schools on children learning the value of eating fresh food and understanding where it comes from, and we’re very pleased to be able to support this, especially as we celebrate the UN International Year of Family Farming.”
Farmlands’ Events and Sponsorship Manager, Helen Shrewsbury says “Farmlands is proud to continue its support of Rural Women New Zealand and the rural school garden grants. As a rural co-operative, it just makes sense for us to support the schools that make up the hubs of the rural communities we service.”

Week 6 Term One
Today we have been very busy at Waitahuna School with our own Master Chef Challenge.  This event was much more exciting than the television show as the vegetables came out of the school garden! We have a very healthy crop of capsicum and a large variety of beans growing over our wigwam as well as a variety of healthy herbs. 

The children had to brainstorm what dish we could cook and they came up with two options.  Herb butter on grainy bread and Ginger Stir-fried vegetables on rice.  With our large group of 5 to 11 year old children, they had to cooperate and take turns throughout the challenge.  

The children thought both dishes were winners and many children came back for seconds.  Great work Waitahuna Masterchef competitors - You were all winners.  
If you can't see the slideshow below on your ipad, try the link below: 
Masterchef Waitahuna

Week 6 Term One
After the holidays we had a few orphaned sunflowers that didn't go home with our children.  We thought you might like to see them now.  We would really like to see any photos of your children with their sunflowers.  Please email them to school.

The saying goes... 'Good things take time'  This is true with Waitahuna School's 'Exciting News', not long now till we can let you in on our surprise!

Week 5 Term One PLANTING

Our keen gardeners have been busy gardening this week during lunch-time. They are becoming very independent and can cultivate the soil and plant our new plants with care and ease.  Great to see all the co-operative and management skills being used.


If you can't see the slideshow above on your ipad, try the link below:
Thinning Carrots
Today we had to 'thin' our carrots at Waitahuna School.  The children enjoyed a healthy vegetable snack for play-lunch from their own garden... crunchy carrots.  We also planted a few more herbs in our tyre herb garden and looked at the impressive growth on our beans and peppers.

Week 1 - Term One EXCITING NEWS
 We have some very exciting news!... we will tell you very soon

2013 Garden Update ~ 
Week 2 - Term 4
Maths with plants 

Today the Junior class had an interesting maths lesson.  Four weeks ago they each planted a sunflower seed.  Today they created a graph to chart the growth of their sunflower and they counted the leaves on their plant.  Some plants had 2 leaves and others had 6!  We also put a stake in to support  our sunflowers as they grow.
Week 8 - Term 3

 Healthy Plants from Healthy Soils
 Another busy day at gardening group today.  We had a tractor arrive the other day with a bucket full of soil for our garden. Today the boys worked at turning the soil and making it friable - not an easy task but a great example of stamina and persistence.  The girls also had their own challenge to rake up leaf mould from under our large trees. These products were then mixed to make our own 'super dirt'. 
We used some of this soil in our herb garden where we planted some rhubarb  we also planted mint in one of our large tubs.  Thanks to our parents for the soil, mint and rhubarb cuttings. We will update you on whether we have created a 'super dirt' when we see how our plants grow.

Week 7 - Term 3
Our Plan is in place for the Tui Garden Challenge
The children at Waitahuna School have had a very challenging Art project.  Firstly the Senior students went out and drew a birds-eye-view of our garden area.  They then meet with the Junior students and had the task of creating a mural of our garden plan.  Our small school of 22 children were split into 4 groups and all had a different part of the mural to complete.  They worked independently bouncing ideas off each other as to how would be the best way to create vegetables and herbs and tyre planters out of paper.  We were very impressed with the result.  This is our base plan and as with all great gardens we presume it will change and evolve to suit our growing season and labour-force.

Week 6 - Term 3
Bird- Feeder - Technology Project

Last week we had Mr D come to Waitahuna School to work on our technology project. After our recent investigation into attracting birds into the garden Mr D had the opportunity to make our dream become a reality. We had a few specifications for him to work to.
1. It had to be out of the reach of cats and predators
2. It had to be in a sheltered position with options to attract different birds through, nectar feeders, bird seed feeders
3. It had to be in a position where we could see the birds eating and enjoying their bird feeder.
As you can see from the happy birds we have ticked all the boxes...Next step planting more native plants to help supplement their diets over winter and attract more tui to our garden

Week 5 - Term 3
Wonderful watering-cans
Today Waitahuna School had a wonderful surprise! Jane the mail-lady brought us a huge box.  It was from our friend Mr Wood at EPI plastics in Dunedin. 
What's is in the box?...
When we opened the box we were very surprised to discover 6 brand new watering cans for our school garden. As you can imagine the children were very happy and the school garden had a very good watering during lunch-time. Thanks again Norman at EPI Plastics we really appreciate your generosity towards our school garden. 
Our fantastic new watering cans from EPI plastics

August - Term 3
Blooming bulbs, strawberries and growing houses
The Senior Room has been watching the progress of their bulbs since the start of the term.  The bulbs are now in flower and we have three pots of hyacinths looking fabulous in the Senior Room. 

Our focus for the first two weeks of the term has been to identify areas around the school that the children can improve. This has included the outside and inside environments. 
The Seniors have looked at ideas to improve the gardens and the Juniors have identified some shambolic areas and are trying to work out plans to solve the mess.  The aim is to improve the garden and hopefully do some planting to help attract native birds. We have been feeding the birds over winter with bird puddings, apples threaded on our large trees and a nectar feeder. We have attracted many waxeyes also known as silver-eye or Tauhou in Maori, but unfortunately no tui.
The whole school visited Sharyn and Rex's garden last Thursday to see the tui feeding and to learn what plants are the best ones to attract native birds. 

Today some of the Juniors helped to pot up strawberry plants and the Seniors planted seeds, the tui will have to wait till next Winter for their plants as these are for our school garden.

ARCHIVE BELOW THIS POINT ~  From 2011- 2012 growing season
Update #2 - November 2012 - Term 4
Our gardens are growing beautifully after plenty of rain and warmer days. Rebecca has been the first to harvest a lettuce which she took home for her family. We have also grown our own lettuces from seeds which the senior room are busy sheltering with their recycled cloches! Jacob has also picked two radishes... although they weren't planted this growing season!

Update #1 - September 2012 - Term 3
We have started maintenance work in the garden. We have removed all old plants and weeds and taken the grid string down so we can give the garden a thorough dig over.  We will put some compost on to help feed the soil for our next growing season.  We will then put new strings up and allocate the gardens to the children for the coming growing season. 

This year Waitahuna School has joined the 'Tui School Garden' challenge. All schools that enter receive a resource pack to help get them started, with how to guides, a wall planner, activitiy booklets, seeds and Tui Seed Raising Mix.

The major benefit for us being involved in the Tui School Garden Challenge is to learn skills and ideas from the wealth of information on the Tui website.  If you have some time check it out on the link below.

Week One ~ Tuesday: 
Exciting times at Waitahuna School with the arrival of our new gardens. The children have decided that they all want their own area to plant in. Our first task has been to work out how to divide our gardens equally. We have also drawn plans of the garden and discussed which vegetables we will grow.

~ Wednesday
Another busy afternoon. Today we marked out our garden plots with string. Then we made a name label to put on our garden. Next we were allowed to choose our garden. The junior children are gardening beside their 'buddies' as a way of offering support and advice. If possible it would be appreciated if the children could bring a small trowel or fork to school next Monday for planting.

Week Two ~ Monday
Our first news from the garden is very exciting!  Peter Ryan our local Plumber has put a tap outside the school.  Now we can use a hose to water the garden.  We would really like to thank Pete because not only did he surprise us - because we don't know when he did it! - but also he installed it for 'free'.  If you get a chance to thank Peter Ryan - please do.

More action in the garden today.   The Senior Room had a visit to 'The Warehouse', after their outing in Balclutha.  Here they purchased tub mix, hoses, plants and seeds for the school garden.

This afternoon the whole school were able to plant-out their gardens. Some of the vegetables that we planted included: cauliflower, celery, lettuce, silverbeet, spring onions, red onion.

Week Two ~ Tuesday
Today we planted the first of our large planters.  One planter has beans, one has peas and the third has sweet-peas that have been germinated by the Junior Room. 

Week Three ~ Monday
Today we had an interesting time making recycled paper plant pots.  Have a look in the slide show above to see how we did it.  The fun didn't stop there!  We read an article about growing seeds in used tea-bags.  Tea-bags are a great thing to grow seeds in because they are 'sterile'(clean from germs) and they are filled with nutrients to help the seeds grow.  We have tried it out by planting lettuces in some tea-bags. We will let you know how they go.
Growing seeds in tea-bags!
Our paper plant pots

Week Four ~ Monday
Today the Senior Room showed their buddies how to make newspaper planters.  Check out the photos in the slideshow above.  The children also had some time in their gardens 'scratching up the soil' and the Junior Room planted carrots seeds. 
The Senior Room has been learning about the importance of worms in the soil and the benefits that they make to your garden. If you look closely at the slideshow above you may even see a worm!

Week Four ~ Wednesday
Today Mrs Blackmore was very lucky to be teaching the Junior Room.  In the afternoon we found time to plant the 'Lions Competition Spud in a bag'.  Then we spent some time in our gardens.  You wouldn't believe how much our peas have grown in 1 day!  Our beans have also sprouted.  When we look really hard at some of the vegetable gardens we can see that the carrots are starting to come through the soil - they are still tiny. 

We have to thank Leanne Allen for giving us the spud in the bags. 
We also have to thank Geoff B and Bill L-S for sending sacks of soil to school in Ms J's and Mrs B's cars - It is appreciated.

Week Five ~ Tuesday
Today we filled another tub with compost and planted courgettes.  Mrs B had germinated the seeds and grew the courgette plants.  We also planted some lettuce and cabbage that Mrs B grew - but we did spot some aphids!  We had to squash them with our thumbs.  We also weeded the grass around our raised beds.  As you can see from the photos our gardens are looking good.
Planting courgettes
Week Six ~ Wednesday
We have recently received 5 native trees through the 'Paper for Trees programme'.  This programme rewards the school for recycling their waste paper.  Today we planted the trees in the school grounds.  Two of them are kowhai, 2 pittosporum and a ribbonwood.  We are hoping the kowhai tree will help to attract native birds into the school ground.  We would like to thank the Balclutha Rotary for supporting the 'Paper for Trees programme' in the South Otago area.

March - Week 6
Today at Waitahuna School our vegetable garden provided food for lunch. We harvested a great crop of silverbeet (including some with red and yellow stalks) and a bunch of healthy spring onions. We then prepared the vegetables, bacon and some pasta; made a creamy cheese sauce and sat together and enjoyed the produce that we had grown ourselves. You will be pleased to know that all children ate their greens and many lined up for seconds.

May - Week 5
As Autumn comes to an end the Junior Room decided to have one last dig in the garden.We collected carrots, onions , silver beet, rosemary, garlic and a leek. (the garlic and the leek came from Ms Johnstone’s garden-but it is just up the road).What to make? For a bit of inspiration we read the book the Great Grumbler and the wonder Tree!
We decided on carrot cake and silverbeet pie.
Mrs A helped the cake group and Ms. Johnstone supervised the pie making.
The pie tasted better than we thought it would although Bryn took a bit of encouragement to eat his silverbeet, but he didn’t grumble. The carrot cake was delicious. From Ms Johnstone

A huge thank you to the PTA for funding our garden venture.


Anonymous said...

Gardens look great. Look forward to seeing how they progress :)

Jo M said...

The gardens look fantastic, well done.

Anonymous said...

Looking fantastic everyone, great job, look forward to seeing progress photos :)

Anonymous said...

Love what u are doing with the gardens