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Bake Your Lawn - wheat diaries

Updates from schools learning how to grow it, mill it, bake it, eat it, as part of the Real Bread Campaign's Bake Your Lawn scheme.

We ask everyone running a Bake Your Lawn project to keep a diary and take pictures during the year.

If you've been growing wheat as part of a school or community youth group project, we'd love to receive your stories and pictures that we can share. Please email any that you'd be happy for us to publish to realbread@sustainweb.org

Berkswich School's Bake Your Lawn loaf 2011

See also:


January 2013

Over the last couple of years several schools have enjoyed growing wheat in their gardens, harvesting and cleaning it and then have come to Felin Ganol for the day to make their own flour. This season we hope that Ysgol Llwyn yr Eos and Ysgol Padarn Sant will be growing their own wheat too. If you'd like to join in please call the mill. Find links to a couple of our videos here.

Anne Parry, Felin Ganol, Llanrhystud, Ceredigion

We had a very successful time making our Real Bread with 1kg of our own homemade flour. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the project and we hopefully taught the children a great deal about Real Bread.

First we planted the wheat seeds in April. Then we watered it and watched it grow. In September we harvested our crop in fine weather. We tied it in bunches and hung it to dry in the shed . After drying we threshed the wheat to separate the ears from the straw.threshing Next we winnowed the wheat to separate the wheat berries from the chaff. Finally we milled the wheat in a coffee grinder to make it in to flour. We had fun making the bread!

We are very proud of our finished loaf. Maybe next time we will make some butter and jam to put on it. Well done to all of year 4 who were involved in the bread making process, which started when they were in Year 3 and ended just before we broke up for Christmas.

I made a PowerPoint of our project with the 60 pupils who took part. We showed this in our harvest assembly so that the whole school, a large primary of 450 children (and some parents) knew what we were up to. We have added a blog and photos about our Bake Your Lawn project to our school website here.

Mrs Birch, Stocksfield Avenue School, Newcastle

December

A group of six year olds harvested wheat with the tale of the Little Red Hen ringing in their ears. This was thanks to the Real Bread Campaign, whose Bake Your Lawn project had encouraged us back in the spring to plant wheat grains in a long bed next to the basketball pitch. A Noah’s Ark summer followed and we feared the worst but, against expectations, our crop did grow and ripen on schedule. Now we’re just building up to milling and baking. The campaign’s encouraging suggestion that a friendly local mill lend their services is a little optimistic for our über-urban school, but we’re hoping that a food processor will do the trick.

Linden Groves, Hollickwood School

November

Adam the baker from the Pavillion and Elliots London came into school to run our Lesson in Loaf. The children have grown and harvested their own wheat and today was the day to turn it into loaves of bread! More details to follow on my website, so that other schools can do the same.
[If you are a Facebook user, you can see photos from the day here]

Cassie Liversidge, Chisenhale Primary School, London

I am heading to Oatlands, Tasmania tomorrow with a group of students to visit Callington Mill and the Companion Bakery. This is part of our 'grow your own bread' project we are setting up as a whole of school activity for which Bake Your Lawn was part of the inspiration. We have a patch of rye and a patch of spelt growing at school and are planning on a patch of barley, too. This year is only a pilot to see where the issues are, and to work out how well we can integrate the project into the curriculum. Learnings to date: soil is poor and poorly drained. Need to work on that. Students are keen, but we have to develop activities to maintain their interest.

Chris Stafferton, Geneva Christian College, Latrobe, Australia

October

Well we've had an incredible summer at Dig Deep, despite the weather. The wheat field has grown fantastically, some frogs have arrived in our pond and our clay bricks have cured in the newly rebuilt cob oven.

Dig Deep community allotment, South Oxhey, Herts

We set aside one of our raised beds in the garden, sowed organic wheat and then, rather naively, just left it over summer. Surprisingly we had a good crop when we returned, so set about the harvest, winnowing and chaffing. The wheat was ground into flour by visitors at our school open evening, and then baked once the sourdough starter was good enough. The bread was brown to look at, with a lot of husk in the flour, but everyone agreed amazingly tasty. The whole thing was organised by our year 7 and 8 pupils who got very enthused by the whole process!

What is important for us as a school is that we have an ethos of closed-loop-thinking, whereby we teach the pupils to mimic cycles of nature as far as possible so that manufacturing processes of any kind have as little energy loss as possible and that there is no long-term waste. Growing our own bread on site, from seed to loaf is a classic example of low food mile, organic production and one we will repeat next year, as we have saved enough seeds from the harvest to start again - hence closed- loop.

Thanks for the inspiration for this - as the first secondary EcoSchool 'Ambassador School' we are now telling other schools how easy it is to do it themselves!

Mark Moody, The Skinners' School, Kent

We are arable farmers with a home mill.  We take our own milled single variety, additive free flour to farmers markets to support home bakers.  We supplied free wheat seed to about 40 schools, community groups and individuals in spring 2012.  In the autumn we helped some of them mill their home grown wheat so they could make their own loaves.  And now we have a local microbakery interested! We hope to be milling wheat again and back at farmers’ markets with our flour next summer.

Claire Eckley, Saynden Farm, Kent

'Pupils use their loaf with own wheat'

Priddy School Eco Club, Somerset (project was their own initiative)

September

After I contacted the local Black Horse Hill Junior School about Bake Your Lawn, they built it in to their existing gardening activities. They have successfully grown the wheat, and it’s not a bad crop. We are now looking at the threshing, and then I will doing the milling and baking with them later in the term.

Malcolm Williams, Little Eye Bakery, Wirral

We harvested today! Jack and Charlie did great work cutting the wheat and carefully bundling it up to dry out. We took one head and took it to pieces to see the different parts.

Sarah Dickinson, Bake Your Lawn NI

What can I say?? Our wheat was great before it was ripe but something happened through the Summer and I has either been eaten by mice or slugs (as has a lot of our produce) or so windblown there is very little grain left which is so sad.  We will definately be making bread but will have to buy the flour now sadly.

Diana Keens, Otterham School, Cornwall

We have no evidence of our hard work sadly as too much rain, a huge slug problem meant we never got a chance to sow our seeds. We will still be making later in the year. 

Nicola Jennings, Ramsden Hall School, Essex

August

Our wheat just before harvest and after being milled and baked into focaccia.

Ida Fabrizio, The Castle Climbing Centre, London

This is Jack searching out the snails that like to hide in the wheat and come out to nibble our broccoli! The wheat is very tall and turning golden now.

Sarah Dickinson, Bake Your Lawn NI

July

We planted our wheat in our school garden, we were quite late planting - it was early April. However it has caught up and is growing strongly now. The children weeded it in May, then left it. We haven't had to water it! This picture was taken on 17 July 17. The Garden Clubbers were very excited to see the ears of wheat appear!

Caroline Copleston, Anthony Roper School, Kent.

The wheat is coming on great. Despite the best efforts of the floods and high winds, it is standing up well and the grains developing and swelling very well. We check on progress most days and weed a little around the edges when it’s needed. We are now looking ahead to harvesting and having a celebration picnic outside for the gardening club and their carers!

Adrian Clarke, Bedlington Day Centre, Northumberland

June

Mixed fortunes this month...

We have now cleared our small plot and planted the seeds which were provided. On a rolling rota, all children are involved at our school in a gardening club which meets on Friday afternoons. Along with our other plots and garden areas, the 'wheat field' has become a very popular feature with the children and they are hopeful we will see it produce a small crop in the autumn term. Here is a photo of our progress to date.

Harry Kennedy, Black Horse Hill Primary School, Wirral

Heads developing on our wheat!

Sarah Dickinson, Bake Your Lawn NI

Unfortunately the Sapperton School wheat was eaten by the birds and washed away by the rain. We will however still be bread making with the Cotswold Chef at harvest festival time.

Sam Maydew, Sapperton C of E Primary School

Sadly our wheat growing was not a great success. We did all the right things but did not take account of the ducks/coots on the pond adjoining our allotment. They had a great healthy breakfast one day and thoroughly enjoyed the highly nutritious wheat shoots. We’d like to try again next year using some protective net covering. In the meantime, Donald and his friends say thanks for the feed. I guess it’s a trip to buy some bread flour!!

Susan Walton, Bishopstone CE Primary School

May

We have planted Amaretto wheat provided by St Albans farmer Howard Roberts and the first shoots have begun to appear. Redbournbury Mill in St Albans (which is a mile from Howard’s farm) has also agreed to mill the wheat for us and let us visit the mill for tea and buns with a guided tour on 7 June. We will also be visiting the farm that day where we will see the workings of the farm then walk through the fields down to the mill for our tour in the afternoon. Watch this space for the finished results!

Dig Deep community allotment, South Oxhey, Herts

This wheat seems to be growing inches every day in this sunshine! Kit (18months) is an enthusiastic waterer, while Jack and Charlie (5 and 7) are keeping the 'field' free from the peas that want to climb up the wheat, instead of their supports!

Sarah Dickinson, Bake Your Lawn NI

We planted our wheat at the end of February, and germination was pretty good – by early May we have half dozen rows of good strong wheat! The wheat is a central feature of our developing garden area. We were lucky to be given a number of timber planters by a local garden centre and these have been put around the wheat, these will be planted with peas, beans and salad greens. We now have rhubarb and strawberries growing alongside.

Adrian Clarke, Bedlington Day Centre, Northumberland

Our wheat is about 10cm high now. In June we (all 18 of us - v. small school) are going to visit a local mill (Caudwell's Mill, Rowsley) to see how flour used to be ground. We'll buy a bag of flour and bake it on our return. I'm not certain our wheat will ripen, but if it does, we've to find a way to grind it.

T. Hodgson, Biggin CE Primary, Derbyshire

Here are some photos of us preparing the plot for our wheat, we raked it, picked out the stones and made drills to drop the seeds in. The first signs of our wheat appeared during the Easter holidays but it is now growing well. We have not had to water it due to the abundance of rain...Our school caters for students with a wide range of special educational needs, the students who planted the wheat were in an environment lesson but a range of students throughout the school will be involved in the project, working in the gardens during gardening lessons, and hopefully making the bread in a science lesson.

Lucy, Ravenscliffe High School and Sports College, Halifax

We planted our wheat on April 2nd. When I returned from holiday on the 22nd it was about 4 inches high. It is looking OK.

11th Wallington Beaver colony

Kit likes to water things, but our wheat seems to be doing fine without the help!

Sarah Dickinson, Bake Your Lawn NI

April

We have planted! As a Flagship school for Food for Life we have a really good relationship with our local farm, which is also organic. Our Year 5 children buddied with reception pupils and they went together to plant the wheat on the farm. The farm manager who is also a governor of our school chose an area visible from the road to school and where our children will walk past to get to the woods for Forest School Activities. The wheat is covered with green fleece to accelerate growth so it makes the area even more obvious for our children to see. Our aim is for Year 5 to harvest, make flour and then make bread with reception children.

Mrs. E. Ditton, Nacton CEVC Primary School, Suffolk

We are growing the wheat as part of our year 3 (ages 7-8) gardening club. There are 14 girls in gardening club, which is run by two teachers, Mrs Cameron and Mrs Collins. We planted it about  five weeks ago and it’s doing really well. We prepared the soil by removing the weeds and digging it over. The first photo is of us planting the seeds, then the gardening club standing around the planted patch and the third photo is the wheat growing about three weeks ago.

Mrs Collins, Burgess Hill School for Girls, West Sussex

We have planted our wheat and it is growing well Thanks for the resources they look great.

Emily Meunier, Oxford Road Community School, Reading, Berkshire,

Here is our first photo of our wheat-growing project. Our Year 3 classes were keen to grow wheat as part of their Vikings topic so here they are with their efforts so far.

Juliet Birch-Machin, Stocksfield Avenue Primary School, Newcastle, Tyne and Wear,

We planted our wheat last week - hopefully just in the nick of time. See our community blog

Alex Basham-Collings, Somerford and Shacklewell Tenants and Residents Association, London

The gardening club planted the wheat in a plot outside the food room just before the Easter holidays.  Last week the first green shoots started appearing.

Rosemarie Parker, Gilbert Inglefield Middle School, Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire

Our wheat is about 20cm tall. Pictures: 1 2

Alice Harlan, Phoenix High School, London

The Bude Friends of the Earth local growing schools will be part of the Bake Your Lawn Campaign again this year. So far seven of the twelve schools in the group have planted wheat I had kept back from last year. We have finished restoring our mill to working order, so will be grinding the children's wheat by water power in the autumn.

Rosie Beat, The Bridge Mill, Devon

Today we started our real bread experiment! We sowed wheat seeds in one of the raised planters on Shacklewell Road so by the end of the summer we should have a mini wheat field which we can harvest, mill into flour and bake into (a small loaf of) bread. Read the full story and see pictures here.

Somerford and Shacklewell Tenants and Residents Association, London

Jack, Charlie and Kit are very excited to see the first shoots of wheat appearing. We'll be taking some seed up to our home educators' meet up tomorrow and hopefully we'll get the others going...

Sarah Dickinson, Bake Your Lawn NI

We have sent out over 150 of our 'Growing wheat at home' members' experiment. We provided them with Paragon seed as we found it too difficult to get a sufficient quantity of an older variety. We have also set up a demonstration area in our gardens along the same lines as last year and will send some pictures in due course.

Francis Rayns, Garden Organic

March

The results of our germination experiment - about 60% we think.

Sarah Dickinson, Bake Your Lawn NI


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