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Raumati South School students working on a sustainable garden for the Kapiti Coast Home and Garden Show
9 March
Raumati South School students working on a sustainable garden

Despite the obvious differences in climate, the sandy soil at Raumati South School is not unlike dry African soil when it comes to building a productive and sustainable garden.
Pupils at the school from Room 1 and 18 have been working on a sustainable garden concept, as their entry in the 2011 Kapiti Coast Sustainable Home and Garden Show's Resourceful Living Landscape Design competition on 26 and 27 March.
The two-day event, now in its seventh year, is a showcase of sustainable living, looking at options that give people choices within their lifestyle and budgetary needs.
Raumati South School has is developing a keyhole garden concept which is a way of growing food for a village where the natural environment would not sustain plant life easily.
A boxed off area is shaped into a keyhole, top soil is added and a circular compost collector in the centre of the creation is used to 'feed' the garden. The garden is also watered through the compost collector using washing up water.
Teacher aide Diane Turner and the students have been working with the caretaker to look after their environment. They have picked up rubbish, planted more than 2000 trees, looked after them and built a large school veggie garden.
She says students were heavily involved in sustainable planning with the threat of an expressway running close to the school. "They asked where the birds were going to live which spurred them on to plant more trees around the school."
More than 20 different native species acquired through Forest & Bird's Kapiti Mana branch were planted to create a bush walk weaving through the school as well as about 70 flax plants at the top of the school driveway.
Mrs Turner says the task they are undertaking for the Show will involve a large number of the students, either directly reproducing the keyhole garden, painting and decorating rain barrels or making insect homes within their allocated 24 square metre area.
Their brief is to create a water neutral garden, selecting the right plants, lowering storm water leaching and highlighting ways rainwater can be used. Recoverable waste such as tyres, baths and old furniture can also be used for landscaping materials.
Within the garden bed is top soil, potash, vermicast (worm poo) and straw to provide nutrients for vegetable growth. The keyhole feeder has worms, food scraps and manure added to it feeding into the garden making this tiny amount of dirt highly productive.
The school garden will feature, alongside other concepts participating in the Resourceful Living Landscape Design Competition, at the Kapiti Sustainable Home and Garden Show being held at Kapiti Primary School at the end of this month.
It is geared to be fun for the whole family with children's activities, food stalls and workshops designed to motivate today's generations into protecting the resource needs of future generations.

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