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I had a Year 6 student take photos of the garden at different times of the day across a few weeks to locate the best place for sun. It was decided to position the tunnel house between the raised garden beds. Then with students from my class, we measured out the area of the tunnel house and realised we’d have to move a garden bed.

Frustratingly we had to cancel two school community working bees owing to squally Dunedin spring weather! On the list of jobs of our school community to do was to build the tunnel house and the garden shed.

I couldn’t let another week go by waiting to get it up, so I dragged my hubby away from our home renos and got him and our boys building the tunnel house. (Our boys are also students of Ōpoho School).

It looks amazing! We’re thrilled with it.

What we realised when watching the building video was that we should build it up on a high perimeter base plate so we can build up the garden beds, rather than dig down. I’ll get Sean to do this over the next weekend or two. Once done, the students can help fill the beds with the purchased compost which is sitting waiting to go it.

Sadly the garden shed isn’t up yet, but one school family has offered to build it over the holidays which we really appreciate! Anthony Eyles and his tamariki (one a current student, one a past student) will build it in their own time over the break.

We have carried on with the potting of vege seeds despite not having had the tunnel house built.

Tauira have been enjoying weekly garden sessions with their whanau buddy (tuakana/teina) and two of our curriculum support adults. Term 4 has been a great time to take a closer look at the beehive. Otto, a parent and apiarist, opens the hives and talks about the social structure of the bees, identifies the queen, and of course tamariki sample honey!

Baking has been a hit too! Spinach scones, herb fritters and more… we’ve been pleased to be able to use some ingredients from our garden!

A tērā tau, next year we will work with Clare from Open Vue, and Taylor from Orokonui to look at native birds and their diet. Then we’ll identify what is on ‘offer’ in our school and also residential backyards to learn how can best support the return of more native birds to North Dunedin.

Through our connection with Town Belt Kaitiaki, and Dunedin Botanic Gardens  there will be a seed collection/propagation workshop held at the beginning of next year. It will be great to attend to then be able to collect and propagate successfully with our kura.

Once we have established native tree seedlings ready for distribution, they will be donated to Open Vue for them to give out at their community events. I will be working closely with Clare Cross to work out timelines for their events, maramataka and seedling growth rates.