School Garden

Timoleague National School created a school garden back in 2013 and have continue to develop it each year.

We are very proud recipients of the Muintir na Tíre School Garden Competition; Best Small Garden Winners 2014, Small Garden Category 2015, Edible Garden Category 2016 and Best Colour & Art Awards 2017.

We have developed two embankments at the side of the school. We plant 28 window boxes each autumn with spring flowers. We then save these bulbs & store them for the following year. We plant a summer display. We have delivered a food growing project each spring for the past 4 years. We call this project “Learn at School, Grow at Home”. The project shows children and their families how easy and fun it is to grow food at home. We aim the project at children in Senior Infants and 1st class in the hope that we are creating healthy and practical food growing habits early in the child’s life. At school each child is shown how to set up a mini-garden and how to sow and grow potatoes, onions, peas and cress. The children are then issued with free seeds to plant at home in their own mini-garden. The local GIY group in Clonakilty support us in this food growing project by sourcing the seeds for us as well as providing us with information. We developed a “Learn at School, Grow at Home” plot in our school garden where we give the children demonstrations. Each child is presented with an individual booklet with growing instructions as well as where they document their growing process. They are then provided with the free seeds. They are given 4 workshops over 4 weeks. We also have a noticeboard in the school corridor where we display photographs of their project happening at home. It has been a real success since we piloted this project back in 2014 and we find that all families engage with the project and the process. All classes in the school engage in gardening in the school.

Due to the growing and gardening happening in our school, two local organisations approached us to create a food-producing community garden in 2015. Together with Timoleague NS, Molaga Tidy Towns and Timoleague Community Association, we created a community garden in waste ground in the village. We established a polytunnel and grow fruit and vegetables. The only thing we asked in return for the produce is for the community to water the garden! The following are extracts from the Tidy Towns Competition Reports regarding the school garden;

“The School has attractive grounds – we admired the strawberry planters in the garden!” 2014 report

“The school is looking great and its bee garden was admired!........... It’s great that you have a poly tunnel for the propagation of bedding plants as this will save you considerable cost and resources. Even better that the national school is so involved with this endeavour” 2015 report

“The school garden represents one of the best uses of space that this adjudicator has seen in such a small space…. The national school garden was visited and it was a delight! It was thoughtful and amusing as well as excellently planned.” 2016 report

“The Community Garden is excellent and an invaluable tool to facilitate community cohesion and a strong community spirit; rainwater harvesting is noted here no doubt used for watering plants throughout Timoleague. The “air miles” travelled for fruit and vegetables project by the school children is most enlightening, a really good initiative.” 2017 report.