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Farm News - April 2010

posted Apr 10, 2012, 5:19 PM by Eddie Woo
FARM NEWS. The student's vegetable bay to the north of the beehive has been eliminated from the rotation for student plots. In 2009, a teacher that the bees were attracted to, was stung on several occasions, as were students in his class so we decided to remove the need for classes to work in this area. We have instead turned it into a Bee Garden designed on Permaculture principles. Swales of contour banks have been formed to catch storm water and allow it time to sink into the ground, and we have planted a range of plants which will provide shade, flowers and support for the permanent plants that we are growing here. 

Some of the plants are Buddleia, Carob, Strawberry guave, Icecream bean, mandarin, Chinese raisin tree, comfrey, and lucerne. We've also sown pigeon pea, Queen Anne's lace and borage. More will be added to stack the plants vertically once the little trees have got a bit of height to them. It should be interesting to walk through in a few years’ time when we have the path and water pond in place too. A second happening is the Zoo Food garden that this year's prefects are initiating as a gift to the school and wider community, and hopefully successive year's prefects will add to with more species for the exotic mammals of Taronga. Following advice the advice from the Taronga Zoo horticulturist, we have decided to start with growing banana trees, the leaves of which elephants eat. 

I have sourced 36 banana trees which await planting after the year 12 exams on the 30th March. Each Prefect will have the responsibility of planting and caring for their plant till the end of their reign in late term 2. The Zoo Food garden will be situated in the far North East corner of the farm, adjacent to Jenkins Road, the farm cottage and the headwaters of the dam. If anyone has access to the common banana as small suckers who would be willing to donate to this project, we would be most grateful. Contact Farm Manager Gail Roberts at school on 9871 7942. The farm has produced sweet corn and soon the pumpkins will be ripe. Rural Youth made chocolate covered macadamia nuts for sale to the Ruse Community and beans and parsley were sold from their Charity Garden. 

The farmhands cut and baled our very first bales of lucerne hay earlier in the year - something to see in the middle of suburban Carlingford in the late afternoon, with power lines crisscrossing the paddock and forming a surreal backdrop for the rows of bales as they dropped from the hay baler!!! 

Gail Roberts 
Ag Teacher and Farm Manager