Mowbray Public School hosts a large vegetable garden, bush tucker garden and orchard. These gardens represent many positive years of community connections between students, teachers, parents, council and businesses.
The vegetable garden in particular has undergone a transformation in the last few years. Following the school rebuild at the end of 2017, the vegetable garden was relocated into a larger more accessible space. The old vegetable garden area became an orchard with several varieties of citrus trees, a plum tree and mulberry bush.
A student gardening group and school working bees has helped to maintain the gardens. This year, the gardens have become integrated more explicitly into the curriculum. Students from Years 3 and 4 conducted an experiment to reduce the impact of water resources in our local community through sustainable gardening practices. With the help of Peter Rutherford from Kimbricki, students built small wicking beds and grew salad crops whilst measuring the water usage compared to a traditional garden bed. The student results supported the superior water efficiency of wicking beds and informed a change in gardening practices at our school. Money raised from the sale of the salad produce helped to convert a pre-existing garden bed into a functioning wicking bed with the assistance of Ian Collins from WaterUps Down Under.
In addition, students from Kindergarten have been learning about the importance of biodiversity in their local environment. Together with Liz Powell and her team at Willoughby Council, Kindergarten students have been learning about the importance of supporting biodiversity in their local area by building tiny homes for our local pollinators. The school now has a parrot and possum nesting box, a bamboo resin bee hive, a blue banded clay bee hive and a Tetragonula carbonaria hive (sugarbag or bush bee). One of the bee hives is located in a new native garden project created this year by the school and council community.
Of course a vegetable garden is not quite complete without compost bins of which there are four.