Glenaeon Garden Culture - Harvesting in Times of Scarcity

18 January 2024

Harvesting in times of scarcity

We are fast approaching our traditional Harvest Festival, and our gardens are not bursting with pumpkins as they have been in the past. Living in a city, we have the easy option of going to the shops and buying whatever we want for our celebrations. But we would like to encourage everyone to stop for a moment and look at the world differently: what do we have in our gardens right now?

We harvest seeds, we harvest stories

Aromatic and medicinal Fennel has taken over some of the garden beds at the Middle Cove garden, creating a canopy bursting with yellow umbrella-like flowers filled with seed and feathery peacock-like leaves. Last week, Class 6 students picked the flowers, harvested the seeds and roasted them during their gardening class. At the end of the lesson, we shared our food and stories, and everyone commented how much they loved the roasted fennel seeds. One student shared a story with the class:

There once was a King who wanted to know which of his children was the faithful one. He gave them roasted fennel seeds to plant, and later on he asked them how they were growing. All of the children commented how strong their plants have been growing, except for one girl who said: “Mine are not growing at all!” - And that’s how the King knew who the faithful child was.

When we think we have nothing, we need to look around, explore, question and learn. We have some Azolla in the pond, which we learned is high in nitrogen and can be used instead of manure when we have no access to cows.

A high school student harvested some chicken bones while digging in the garden, and asked to take them home. Could they be the seeds of an archaeology interest?

The students on all campuses are resourceful in their play and this translates to the same in their alchemical experiments with food substances. Can we as adults be as bold and harvest the Taro root and leaves that are growing in abundance at Glenaeon Preschool? We have made Bay leaf tea, roasted Fennel and Sunflower seeds, fried up Mustard greens, Endive, Amaranth leaves and flowers in frittatas. From the Glenaeon gardens we add lemon, flowers, leaves, seeds in our sourdough bread. We connect with our surroundings to create new things with them.

So why is harvest time so meaningful? In harvesting, we learn to embrace what we have, we become creative and able to make something from nothing. As human beings, we harvest the rewards of moments of gratitude and connection with the Earth. We can’t get this from a shop.

Goethian observation

For Term 1 2024, the Class 6 students have now each represented an impression of Fennel in their assessment task for Gardening lessons:

“I think it looks like lots of little flowers. I think if you hold it up to the light and see the shape it looks like a star constellation.”

“I like the smell. When I suck it, it tastes like licorice. When I eat it, it does not taste good. It feels furry and soft.”

“I like fennel because it feels nice to touch and I like the taste and texture of it. It feels very nice on your skin and it is very soothing. It tastes like licorice when you suck on it and chew them.”

See you in the Garden!

Sandra Frain…..and Parent Volunteers
Gardening Teacher