Aaron Drake, Mark Mulvey, Holly O'Shea, Sean Costello, Sophie O'Connor, Padraig Brady Photo by Shelley Corcoran
There was great Halloween spirit in St Bernard's NS, Abbeylara, last Friday as staff and children celebrated a successful pumpkin harvest ahead of the midterm break.
Children at the school successfully produced five beautiful pumpkins this year, with some weighing as much as 10 kilos!
“The plants were started from seeds provided by Eugene Brady, the uncle of one of the kids involved,” School Principal, Mary Quinn, explained to the Longford Leader.
“We got two small plants from him in June and put them into the school garden. We minded and protected them because they were tender.
“And over the summer, the parents association had a rota, so they tended to them over the holidays.
“And then we came back to school in September to find five large pumpkins.”
This isn't the first time the school has planted pumpkins. In fact, they've done it for the past four years.
“Last year we had none; the year before, we had none. But the year before that, we had 18 very small ones,” said Ms Quinn.
“This year, we planted two small plants and one gave us no pumpkins, while the other gave use five big ones.”
This year's five large pumpkins were harvested approximately three weeks ago, and placed on a sunny windowsill to ripen.
“They changed from green to orange before our eyes,” said Ms Quinn proudly.
“The children have watched these pumpkins grow since September and they were so excited.”
A keen interest in gardening and growing food is instilled in the children at St. Bernard's every year.
The school garden has three small, raised flowerbeds, in which the children plant seeds such as the pumpkins that were harvested this year.
“We also grow potatoes, and yesterday, we had wedges for everyone, made from proper, red rooster potatoes,” Ms Quinn explained last Friday afternoon.
“We grew oats this year too,” she added.
But, ahead of Halloween, it was the pumpkins that caused the most excitement in the school last week.
“We carved some of the pumpkins and then we raffled them off at school (on Friday),” said Ms Quinn.
“So the five pumpkins are gone home with five families of the children who were involved.”
And, with such a great harvest in the school garden this year, it will certainly be interesting to see what will grow in the garden next.
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