Picture gallery: Brentwood eco gardeners build 3,000 bottle greenhouse

Students busy building the plastic bottle greenhouse at Shenfield High School Vocational Centre. (St

Students busy building the plastic bottle greenhouse at Shenfield High School Vocational Centre. (Students from left to right: Safi Alleesaib, Rhys Snow). Picture: Andy Christiani - Credit: Archant

Pupils in Brentwood are building a greenhouse made of 3,000 plastic bottles to add to their school’s eco-garden.

Youngsters at Shenfield High School, in Alexander Lane, are so involved in the garden that they have even been spotted enjoying raw runner beans in their lunch break.

Animals have also been encouraged onto the site with a bee hotel, a rabbit hutch and a chicken coop. The conservation club are also trying to attract hedgehogs.

The venture, co-ordinated by vocational studies teacher Andy Christiani, is an interesting experiment to test traditional ways of farming against modern ones.

The patch is divided in two – with a wilder, more eco-friendly approach to farming on one side and traditional rows of vegetables on the other.

Mr Christiani believes students can learn pros and cons from both approaches.

The modern method sees different plants mixed in patches, with organic matter such as branches, buried underneath so feeding is unnecessary.

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Mr Christiani said: “The school canteen is using some of our products at lunch, such as beetroot brownies.

“Also, I caught a pair munching on runner beans that weren’t cooked. They were bringing their mates over, saying: ‘You can eat this, it’s really good.’ I’m really pleased.”

The project has also encouraged the children to try different foods.

Safi Alleesaib, from Year 8, who designed the hanging gardens, said: “Last year, I tried the pumpkin soup. That was really good.”

Isabelle Darby, from Year 7, added: “I really enjoy doing most of the gardening and looking after the animals.

“We’re growing cabbage for the bunnies now too.”

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