Six Whanganui schools have spent the last eight weeks growing a garden for the Springvale Garden Centre School Vegetable Garden Competition.
Logan Tutty visited Brunswick School to see what they've created.
The opportunity to compete in the School Vegetable Garden Competition paired perfectly with Brunswick School's prior knowledge and space for growing outdoors.
Beth Berry, teacher in charge of the project, said the school had always tried to make the most of the ample space on their rural block.
"We try to be a really healthy enviroschool. We have a great environment around us."
The school has grown gardens on and off over the years and jumped at the opportunity to introduce some new vegetables to their patch.
"Originally last year, [our class] had a quarter of the garden. We had four classes, but more and more we found the other classes got too busy so [our class] would help them out.
"Eventually we would just take over. We didn't like the weeds."
The garden has been set up at the back end of the school, with a fenced-off plot for their thriving cauliflower, broccoli, beetroot, spinach, radishes and more.
"Previously, the whole garden has just had potatoes and a few other things. Springvale Garden Centre has given us the opportunity to put heaps of different vegetables in."
Just a few metres away, a greenhouse contains a variety of seeds that will be planted when the time comes, Berry said.
"We've got coriander, silverbeet and lettuce seeds in the greenhouse, but the rest have all been planted.
"We've got poppy seeds, seeds from parents, strawberry runners. Hopefully we can keep these all alive and have everything for sale at our Rural Day in October."
At the beginning, only a few pupils were keen to get amongst it but over time more and more have joined in and become comfortable.
"When we started off, we had about five kids getting in there. Now, everyone will get their hands in there," Berry said.
A keen gardener herself, Berry has enjoyed guiding her students as their garden continues to flourish and expand.
"We had to have trowels and things because they didn't want to get their hands in the dirt. I've got all of them understanding you get your hands in there."
The garden has undergone a variety of small repairs over the last few months after unwelcome neighbours started helping themselves.
"We had some chickens and some rabbits get in. The rabbits had burrowed a hole into the garden, we had some lovely parents who got rid of the rabbits after hours. [The rabbits] are just absolutely terrible."
Pupil Sabrina Henshaw was surprised at how much work had been involved with the whole process.
"When we were planting the seeds, we had to put in blood and bone and a lot of water. We had to water them a lot; I almost drowned them."
Berry said it had been great to see students get more and more involved.
"It's more the therapeutic part of the gardening they really enjoy."
Pupil Alice Stewart said the class hoped they could make some meals out of their newly grown vegetables in the next few weeks.
"We've cooked potatoes, lamb tails and corn on our fire pit before."
Berry wasn't sure what the school would do if they won any prizes, saying upgrading the fencing around the garden and an irrigation system would be a good start.
"I didn't even know there was a prize. A watering system would be a help. That would be wonderful."
• To vote in the competition, go to www.springvalegardencentre.co.nz