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Sunderland College Garden Project

Vegetable and Sensory Garden.


We are a group of college students aged 16-25 who are part of the Foundation Learning department at Sunderland College. Almost all of us in the department have a learning difficulty, disability or emotional problems. There are around ninety of us and we recently moved to a new area of the college only to discover a small area of land next to our classrooms. Although the area is only around 25 metres square we can do a lot with it. At the moment the area is not being utilised and we would like to change this by building a sustainable vegetable and sensory garden. There is a couple of picnic tables and a pond buried deep in weeds and grasses and a small flower patch. With your help we can   transform it into a fully functional area.


What we will do:

  • Clear the area leaving the four trees in place.
  • Cut back the reeds and weeds then revitalise and update the pond.
  • Get some raised beds so that our wheelchair users can participate in the project.
  • Create a vegetable patch.
  • Create a sensory rockery garden.
  • Get a greenhouse so we can grow more vegetables in there.



Why this is a great idea.

  • Transforming this land will give all of our students a good sense of pride and demonstrate that students like us will barriers to learning can contribute and accomplish anything.
  • We will learn about seasonal vegetables and how to grow them.
  • We will learn life skills such as how to cook and use vegetables. (We have a kitchen).
  • We can sell the vegetables we cook for example soups and broth.
  • We will learn about healthy eating.
  • We plan to sell some of the vegetables to make the project sustainable.
  • Selling the vegetables will give us retail experience.
  • Our sensory garden will benefit our visually impaired classmates as well as everyone else.
  • We can use the herbs in our sensory garden in cooking and selling also.
  • Interaction between two completely different departments (construction and foundation learning) will be good for everyone involved.
  • We plan to invite guest in to advise us on gardening such as the local WI (Women’s institute) and cooks such as some of our learners’ parents some who may come from a different ethnic background.
  • We can learn about how people from different countries use vegetables differently to us in their cooking.





How we are going to do this.

Firstly a lot of hard work, however we have many students who cannot wait to begin so a lot of hand make light work. Some learners’ can complete a work placement by gardening. All students will be able to contribute and participate in this project. We have asked the construction department if their students could and help by making some raised beds and build the poly greenhouse and shed we hope to buy. We need everything because we will be starting this project from scratch including a greenhouse, shed, tools, PPE, potting benches for inside the greenhouse, seed trays, plant pots, compost etc. Once we have everything we can build, monitor and maintain our brilliant sustainable project.