- About the Program
- Join the Program
- Our Subscription Program
- Workshops & Training
- Learn more
Flourishing in a cold climate at Numeralla Public School15-12-2010
We are constantly amazed and inspired by what Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Schools achieve in the most diverse of circumstances. Whether city or country, inland or coastal, hot or cold, large or small, school communities across the country continue to make beautiful, productive gardens grow.
In Numeralla, a small town about 90 kms from the Snowy Mountains in New South Wales, high temperatures in summer are contrasted with snow in winter. Extreme weather makes for extreme gardening challenges... but that hasn't stopped Numeralla Public School!
Numeralla has adopted a range of innovative climate management strategies since the early design stages of their Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program. This ensures that the garden keeps growing and students can keep cooking all year round.
As Garden Specialist, Helen Litchfield explains, several elements work together to maintain a productive garden.
To combat our very short growing season and the unpredictability of cold weather at any time of the year (we lost zucchinis, cucumber and squash to frost in last year's Christmas holidays!) we needed to have the security of a hot house. This enables us to have our seedlings ready and quite advanced to plant out when weather and soil temperature allows. We also grow some produce during the winter months when the ground is too cold for plants to grow and produce.
Another strategy that has been great to extend our growing season is the construction of a north facing wall. The way the wall works is that the big thermal mass created by dense building materials heats up and cools down more slowly than the surrounding air, evening out extreme differences in day and night temperatures. So the wall absorbs the warmth from the sun during the day and as it gets cooler the plants against the wall are kept warm and protected as retained warmth is radiated onto them.
We have found frost damage has been greatly reduced and plants are able to produce more for a longer period of time. The wall was constructed by two volunteers (one parent and one grandparent) who used form work to build the home made bricks. The finished wall is 1.8 m high and looks fantastic.
As you can see from the photos above, the result of this ingenuity is a handsome, flourishing garden that can be enjoyed all year round. Well done Numeralla!
Back to Case Studies