Garlandale pupils get green fingers

Teachers Fatima Kariel and Lucien Hames stand proudly in Garlandale High Schools scientific vegetable garden.

HAZEL ALLIES-HUSSELMAN

Headed by teachers Fatima Kariel and Lucien Hames, the school launched four new gardening projects – they planted trees, started an indigenous garden, a community vegetable garden, and are part of a pioneering “scientific” gardening project, in partnership with the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT).

Their initial gardening project started because of a partnership between the school and the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden.

Ms Kariel said Garlandale was selected by Kirstenbosch last year to be part of an indigenous and green gardening project.

“In order for us to benefit, we had to start an eco-club. Pupils from Grade 8 to Grade 11 are club members, and they attend workshops, where they learn how to plant and care for the garden,” Ms Kariel said.

Mr Hames said that the work and training done were in line with the life science, life skills and natural science curriculum.

“After the training, the pupils assisted in clearing the ground to make way for an indigenous garden. We cut off all the alien trees, drew a plan and arranged tree stumps. The plants were sponsored by Kirstenbosch, and it is growing well now. The pupils learnt how to de-weed, and how to arrange the garden and the planting started early in the third term,” Mr Hames said.

Mr Hames started teaching again at Garlandale four years ago – this after he left in 1997.

“When I left here, we had an established garden. However, when I returned four years ago, I was shocked to see the state the garden was in. Now, since work has started on our gardening projects, the children have a nice environment. They flock to the gardening area during intervals,” he added.

The school is also involved with Greenpop, which helped them plant 20 trees on Friday September 23. The community vegetable garden is managed by resident Sayed Mohammed.

So far, the garden has produced green onions, peppers, chilies, and spinach. Pupils are encouraged to take some of the produce home, for their families to enjoy.

The fourth project, Mr Hames described as an “avocado” project, in conjunction with CPUT.

“This garden is a scientific one. It is also a vegetable garden, and what makes it even more special, is that it was designed by a former pupil of Garlandale. The project involves collecting rain water in a tank, and the water runs from the tank onto the plants. The vegetables are planted in buckets, which have gutters running under it, and each bucket has a hole underneath it. The gutters must be constantly filled with water. A pipe at the bottom of the bucket, leads the water to the vegetable plants. This is the first of its kind – a maintenance-free garden. This is a prototype, and if successful here, it will be duplicated elsewhere.”