Hand-Made Insect Hotel + Weekly growing updates!

I thought I would end the year with a final post following on from last weeks discussion of Bees & Bee hotels where I promised to share a post on how you can attempt to make your own bee hotel from collected waste materials??!
As we are coming close to the summer holidays I thought I this would be a perfect time to provide you with an activities you can do over the summer break.

I found this activity on the RHS website so hopefully it works for you successfully.

What you’ll need:
You do not need to build it too large, you can simply use:
-Some kind of container or box with a base (9 – 15cm in size) A terracotta plant pot works well.
-Modelling clay
-Plastic straws, toilet roll or kitchen roll tubes or bamboo canes
-any other scraps of wood offcuts or tubing

I also added an additional few layers of ironed plastic bags to make the outside of my design a little more waterproof. if you are considering adding this to your design please make sure someone is at home to help you carry out this technique safely. you will need some plastic bags of your choice, an iron and some greaseproof or siloconised baking paper.

What to do:
-Cut the straws or bamboo canes to a length that fits the depth of your container. If you are using bamboo canes you might need someone to carry out this part as it’s tricky.

-Tie the bundle of straws or canes together with a piece of string.

-Place some modelling clay in the bottom of the container and stick the bundle of straws or canes in to the clay.

-Add any other bits of wood or tubing scraps if there is still a lot of space between the tubes. Place the container horizontally in your garden in a quiet place for the bees to move in.

You should also consider the placement it will sit in your garden, is it a covered sheltered location? Seeing as I have made my prototype from mostly card it will have to sit in a semi sheltered location.

If you are a St Marylebone student make sure to keep us posted on your progress and send in some images that we can share.

: Taken from the RHS website/ By Miss Dorman of her upcycled waste Bee hotel.

First Lego League (FLL) Robotics Competition – Core Values Winner 2021

Ms Barden ran her regular DT enrichment – ‘First Lego League Competition’ sponsored by Bechtel along with a group of students to put together this season’s Replay Project and Robot Mission! 

For the Project, students investigated alternative ways student activity could potentially power the school.  They were also delighted with the 140 points scored by successfully programming and completing their attempted robot missions.

Their teamwork paid off! They won the Core Values Trophy by showing the judges how effective they were at working together. 

Well done to Nikoo and Lea in Year 10 and Mia and Isabella in you 8 for their hard work and dedication making participation in the competition possible. 

We are hoping to welcome new Lego Roboteers in September to continue with our quest for the top prize!

The Final Growing Updates of This School Year!

As you can see below, our bell peppers are growing tremendously, our tomatoes are beginning to ripen on both types of tomato plants and we now have two aubergines coming in, and finally, our Basil and Rosemary plants that we planted in February 2020 just before the first Lockdown are still going strong!

Our urban cultivator (funded by the Savoy Educational Trust) has produced healthy green pea shoots, radish leaves and basil which some of the KS3 students have been using in their dishes. As we have come to the end of term, we have sent some basil plants home with some of the students so they can nurture them and reap their reward. Here’s Sala, Lexi & Ellie with their basil plants!

Unfortunately some of the plants will reach their peak during the Summer holidays, members of staff will be taking them home to look after during the summer holidays.

We cant wait to start our autumn crop! 

HAVE AN AMAZING AND RELAXING SUMMER HOLIDAY ALL! We will be back in September with more Growing tips, tricks and department updates!

Wallace Collection Workshop

We really enjoyed the Workshop by artist Mark and education department’s Bronwyn from the Wallace Collection. This event was part of the creative festival and offered to students in Y8 and Y7. The students very much enjoyed the experience. Thank you to the Wallace collection.

Royal Academy Young Artists Show 2021

Well done to Stephanie, Farah and Glenys for your successes in the Royal Academy Young Artists’ Summer Show, with Farah and Stephanie in the Gallery itself, and Glenys in the online show. It was a real achievement, there were 33000 entries… We are very proud.

Insect Hotels + Window-Box Growing Updates

Welcome back to school, I hope everyone had a lovely weekend!

‘Growing Green’ is not only about growing your own plants, although this is a large part of it, but it is also about transforming every part of your life to make it as sustainable as possible, this includes keeping our wildlife thriving. Today’s discussion is ‘Garden Companions’, with a focus on Bee & Insect Hotels.

Photos: 1) By Sian Dorman of a bee hotel in a local park 2) By Ms Spieler of her very own Bee hotel

I have been spotting a number of different bee hotels in my local area recently so I thought I’d share some of my findings in the photos above. These photographs show you different designs you can purchase from any garden centre/garden & hardware store or online.

Bee numbers are falling fast, so by giving them a home you’ll be encouraging nature into your garden and helping the bee population.

As part of the D&T KS3 Curriculum our year 9 students make their own bird and insect houses with Ms Barden within their Resistant Materials rotation.

As part of the D&T KS3 Curriculum our year 9 students make their own bird and insect houses with Ms Barden within their Resistant Materials rotation. The x2 insect houses above are very impressive products made by Year 9 students in Ms Barden’s class last year. These have been made from MDF, Plywood and bamboo, but you yourself can make one from waste items at home using minimal tools and equipment and to any scale your garden can hold!

Next week I hope to share with you a quick and simple way that you can make your own from waste, offcuts and bits found around the home!

Window-Box Growing Updates

Our upcycled scrap wood window boxes that Technician Mr Tao built us have really began to thrive! Here’s a photograph of Ms Spieler tending to the vine tomatoes.

If you’ve been following our weekly Growing Green blog updates then you’ll remember when these babies were first planted in early March by our lovely Year 10 Food & Nutrition students… I posted some photographs of them two weeks into growth not too far back. Look how far they have come!

You can see if you look closely that we have a couple of mini bell-peppers and tomatoes coming through! We have some flowers on our Aubergines and Cucumber but unfortunately they are not providing us with fruit yet. Our basil from before Lockdown-1 is growing tall despite us being away for two separate Lockdowns, working from home.

Check back in next Monday for more! Have a great week.

Creative Festival 2021

We are ending on week one of our Creative Festival ’21 at St Marylebone, and hope that everyone has enjoyed the events so far… Next week is a busy one, filled with exciting enrichment opportunities…

Lavender Facts and Activity + Progress Updates!

I thought Lavender would be the perfect next topic of discussing following on from our Sunflower tips and tricks post. Lavender is such a beautiful herb that many people select for their gardens, you can occasionally find it growing wild too! Todays focus will be facts and benefits of the Lavandula Angustifolia plant.

Photography by Miss Dorman at Hitchin Lavender Farm, Hertfordshire Aug 2019.

Lavender has many benefits for wildlife, especially pollinators. It is one of the best plants to grow for attracting bees. It’s flowers attract hummingbirds and many species of butterflies including painted ladies, woodland skippers and tiger swallowtails, all three of which are urban species.

Its colouring makes it a beautiful plant for borders while also repelling wild Deer and Rabbit (Although that’s not really a problem we tend to have here in London!!!).

I decided to select the Lavender plant for our next growing topic is because the fragrance from the flower and oils produced are believed to help promote calmness and wellness.

It is therefore, commonly used in aromatherapy to make medicine to tackle anxiety, stress, and insomnia. It is also sometimes used to help sooth certain symptoms for depression, dementia, pain after surgery, and many other conditions.

Preserving your Lavender for use at home:

Fresh, cut lavender bunches can be put in a vase of water for 2-3 days. They will last up to 10 days in water, but if you want to dry the bunches, remove from water after 3 days.

Steps to drying your lavender:

Cut off brown parts of the stem and hang to dry.

Tie the stems together with a rubber band and hang them in a fairly dark room with dry, moving air.

Sun will fade the colour and moisture will spoil the flowers. This process will take about 10 days to two weeks. As the bunches dry, the blossoms will drop onto the floor.

A brown paper bag can be tied around the flowers to prevent the buds from dropping onto the floor.

After you have dried the flowers, you can strip the lavender off the stem, store in a muslin bag for fragrance. These sachets will last for years. Squeeze them from time to time and more Lavender scent will be released.

The Oils can be used to make essential oils, in creams, soaps, syrups and drinks. the photo on the left shows some Lavender products available for purchase at the Lavender field.

Urban Cultivator Updates!

As mentioned in the bulletin last week as well as our last growing post having received a grant provided by Savoy Educational Trust (another huge thank you to Deborah Loades) we were able to purchase a new bit of kit. After just two weeks of setting up and planting into our Urban Cultivator progress has been made!

What Are Microgreens?

Microgreens are young vegetable greens that are approximately 2.5–7.5 cm tall. They have an aromatic flavour and concentrated nutrient content and come in a variety of colours and textures. Microgreens are considered baby plants, falling somewhere between a sprout and baby green.

We currently have a variety of Microgreens growing;

Wheatgrass: High in Nutrients and Antioxidants. May Reduce Cholesterol. Great for aiding the body in getting rid of impurities and stored toxins. May aid in good digestion, leading to reduced bloating, gas, and stomach upset.

Spicy Radish Microgreens: Radish microgreens contain a high concentration of Vitamin B3, Vit.B6, Vit. C, Folate, and traces of Manganese. They are also abundant in Vit A, K, and E, iron, potassium, phosphorus, beta carotenes, calcium, magnesium, pantothenic acid and zinc.

Split Peas: In fact, taking a small cup of split peas in your daily diet can provide approximately 65% of the daily recommended value of fibre in your diet. The high fibre content of split peas helps regulate blood sugar levels. 

Basil Microgreens: You can eat these in the same way as you would normally eat basil, as a garnish on food, in a salad, with your sandwich, or even as a snack by itself. Research shows that basil microgreens contain as much as 4-5 times the nutrients that mature basil does!

Next Mondays post will be looking at keeping your garden insects thriving plus your usual weekly update on the departments growing!

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