Skills to nourish kids for lifetime

By Don Farmer

Great news to hear the kids from Featherston School have earned a finals spot in a national school garden contest.

Tui and Mitre 10 Mega sponsor what must surely be one of the most worthwhile projects for children that there is.

From those comments you can gather I am an avid gardener, from a long line of gardeners, and one who learned most of the "tricks" on how to produce good vegetables, fruit and flowers from my father - but not from him exclusively.

I also learned quite a bit from being a school gardener - indeed school gardening captain - at Greytown School many, many moons ago.

In hindsight, what was learned about gardening ranks as just as important to my future life, and the enjoyment of it, as anything else learned at school.

The Featherston School gardeners have to all intents and purposes excelled by producing a great garden, which also features an orchard, complete with an irrigation system and a hydroponics unit.

Hydroponics were unheard of when I was a kid at Greytown School but I have no doubt growing hydroponically is a wonderful experience.

The produce which will come from the Featherston School garden, and any prizes that result from being a finalist in the contest, are actually secondary to the real importance of the project.

The greatest benefit by far is the teaching of how to become a successful gardener, and provider, for life.

To borrow a much used phrase: "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach him how to fish and you feed him for life."

In this instance, substitute fish for vegetable and ... well you get my drift.

If I can be a little presumptuous, I have a small tip to pass on to the Featherston School gardeners, one I recall from my own school days.

That is when the day is done, and the garden tended, remember it is important to wash off your implements before putting them back in the shed. Sounds simple but it is important.

No rust, no decay and you will have good implements to last you a lifetime, to sit alongside the gardening knowledge gained at Featherston School.

- Wairarapa Times-Age

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