Leading garden centre group, Haskins Garden Centres, provided three schools with the equipment needed to grow potatoes, along with a guide of top tips. The aim of the challenge was to grow as many successful potatoes as possible and use this activity to encourage learning in a creative way.
Milton Mount Primary School in Crawley, Thornhill Primary School in Southampton and White Meadows Primary Academy in Littlehampton all took part in the challenge. The schools undertook a series of steps, including chitting, to ensure they grew a strong batch of spuds.
White Meadows collected 194 potatoes of varying sizes, the largest weighing 84 grams. The pupils created a potato ‘snake’ measuring 6m in length and the total weight of their potatoes was 3.526kg. Thornhill School came in close behind with a total weight of 2.186kg.
Lisa Looker, brand director at Haskins Garden Centres, commented: “At Haskins we are really keen to encourage children to get out into their garden and engage in activities like growing potatoes. We wanted to partner with schools and give their gardening clubs something fun to do over the last term at school. This activity was also great for encouraging children to use other skills such as addition and reading weights.”
Louise Cole, teaching assistant at White Meadows Primary Academy, commented: “I help run the after-school gardening club and we always enjoy giving the children the opportunity to grow plants they can eat. They took pride in keeping our potato growing bags topped up with soil and were surprised at how fast they grew!
“It was great to get everyone involved in measuring the success of our potatoes by counting, weighing and measuring the length of our ‘potato snake’. Many thanks to Haskins in Roundstone for including us in this project.”
Following the potato challenge, all three schools have received a gift voucher from Haskins as a thank you and well done for their efforts. It is hoped that this will be used to improve the gardening facilities and equipment at the schools.
Haskins is located in Ferndown in Dorset, West End in Southampton and Roundstone and Snowhill in West Sussex. For ways to get children involved in gardening, visit the website www.haskins.co.uk/garden-gang or www.facebook.com/HaskinsGardenGang to follow the Facebook page.