• Iris Windsor

Reap What you Sow

Updated: Sep 9, 2019

Children love to be outdoors; particularly if they have something to do. At Dragonfly’s Early Learning, our Coolum Beach Kindergarten, we have introduced the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Programme. This is a garden to plate programme that introduces gardening, growing, harvesting and cooking to the children at Dragonfly's Early Learning.

The weather has been SO hot this summer....probably no hotter than any other Queensland summer....just seemed hotter this year!! Our garden beds are lying fallow for the next month. We have removed all the vegetables to give the soil a chance to rest.

During this time, our aim is to make the garden beds ready for planting when the weather begins to cool off in March/April

During the last few weeks of Summer, we need to place a 5 - 8cm layer of compost on the garden beds and then turn the compost into the soil.  The single best thing we can do for our soil is to consistently add organic matter.  This will enrich the soil to help our busy little gardeners to grow better plants.

We try to work the soil when it is moist, not wet or dry.  To check the soil moisture content pick up a handful of soil and squeeze it.  If you squeeze out water, the soil is too wet to work.  If the soil stays in a ball in your hand and then breaks apart when tapped, it is perfect.  If the soil is too dry to form a ball, it is too dry to work.  If you work soil when it is too wet, you will cause it to clump and become compacted.  If you work soil when it is too dry, you harm the soil structure.  Working soil when it is moist will help maintain good air porosity and soil structure.

After adding the compost layer, we need to turn the compost into the soil.  We need to use a shovel or garden fork to do this. A shovel is probably better to allow us to get to the suggested depth of 30cm. Double digging would be optimum, but any incorporation of organic matter will be beneficial.

After turning this compost into the soil, it is advisable to put another layer on top of the soil to act as mulch. If you have poor soil adding compost twice a year can help improve the soil much more quickly.

Remember that this organic matter gets used up each year by the plants and needs to be replenished to keep plants performing at their best.

At Dragonfly’s Early Learning, the children make their own mulch, using up vegetable and table scraps from their morning teas and lunches along with paper and newspaper scraps. They then water their mulch and turn regularly

Rules of Thumb for Existing Beds that are Empty: 1.  Add 5 - 8cms of compost and dig it into the bed. 2.  Work the soil when it is moist, but not wet. 3.  Turn the soil over to a depth of at least 30cms

5.  Top dress with another layer of compost to keep down weeds and preserve moisture.

To learn more about Dragonfly’s Early Learning Garden Programme, call 5471 6500 or click on https://www.dragonflys.com.au/contact-us

Harvesting Greens - Dragonfly Coolum Beach Childcare