Seed tatties, cereals, vegetables and flowers have been distributed to nearly all our 123 Crofting Connections schools for this season. It’s great to hear that the warm weather in West Highland allowed Lochcarron PS to start planting already!
Primary 4 pupils counted and sorted the potatoes and seeds from Crofting Connections in a maths lesson on collecting data. They have access to their teacher’s croft about 2 miles from school which they visit each week. But the plants there(especially cereals) sometimes get eaten by deer, so this year the pupils decided to also plant some of the seeds in tyres on the school grounds. Although the space at school is limited it means that some of the plants will survive but it also provides an opportunity to compare the growth in both locations if those at the croft succeed.
They are using the willow weaving skills they learnt last year to provide supports for their plants.
Varieties of tatties for Crofting Connections schools vary a little throughout the region depending on availability of seeds but they include traditional and modern varieties, early and main crop. Pupils learn about how the potato famine in Scotland and Ireland was caused by blight and how since then new varieties are constantly being bred for blight resistance. By keeping heritage strains going a larger gene-pool for new varieties is provided. Varieties this year include Organic Desiree, Arran Victory, Shetland Black, Organic British Queen and Sharpe’s Express.
Crofting Connections pupils also get a chance to compare modern and traditional cereals by growing Black and Firth oats, bere and Garner barley. The vegetable and flower seeds provided will yield a colourful rainbow harvest.
The key to all the growing in schools our schools is recording and comparing not only the progress of the growth of the plants but also the cooking and tasting of the produce.
We look forward to hearing about lots of colourful harvests in the autumn.