ENVIRONMENTALLY AWARE: Just a few weeks since forming, St Therese Catholic Primary School Monto's Greenies group have fully transformed the school garden, and provided the community with fresh produce.
ENVIRONMENTALLY AWARE: Just a few weeks since forming, St Therese Catholic Primary School Monto's Greenies group have fully transformed the school garden, and provided the community with fresh produce. Annie Perets

Students grow fresh food in new garden in Monto

MONTO'S newest garden club is filled with the next generation of green thumbs.

Maintaining the school vegetable patch has become the new go-to lunch activity for the Greenies group at Monto's St Therese Catholic Primary School, made up of Year 4-6 students.

Greenies vice president Knox Burnham said the young garden was already thriving.

"There's cauliflower, cabbage, sweet potato, strawberries, beetroot, over the back there's a paw paw tree and some mandarins, and we also have onion and some herbs," he said.

"There was also lettuce, but it has been hand-picked and sold at Monto IGA.

"The Colonial Motor Inn is opening up a restaurant and they want some of our vegetables."

The students said they profited about $32 from lettuce sales, and $8 from spinach sales.

The garden looked completely bare only recently, but then Lorraine Muller, a school employee, planted everything.

The Greenies mainly do weeding and watering to maintain the garden and learn skills in the process.

"We now know what the weeds look like in each of the garden patches, and we pull out anything that's not supposed to be there," Greenies member Brayden Smith said.

"The watering doesn't take that long."

The Greenies have also been harvesting.

They found out that picking lettuce is actually harder than it looks.

"You need to grab the lettuce heads under the leaves, where you feel a hard stem, and then you pull it out," Knox said.

"And another skill I've learned is, don't be scared to get down and dirty in the garden."

The overall aim of the initiative is to make the school more environmentally friendly.

The committed gardeners have big plans for the garden, and discuss these plans at fortnightly meetings.

A worm farm, a bird feeder, a vertical garden and a weather station will be part of the foreseeable expansion.

Greenies member Sarah Salisbury is especially excited for the worm farm.

"We'll be using scraps from people's lunch boxes for the worm farm," she said.

The vertical garden is already in progress, with snow peas climbing up a wire.

When the Greenies were asked if they have been doing more gardening at a home as a result, they all answered yes.

"It's just all about making an environment better," Shadia Dahtler said.

"It helps you to connect with nature, and people can have a look at the garden," Emily Horrocks said.


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