Paddy Madden, author of ‘Go Wild at School’ and SESE lecturer in Marino Institute of Education, was the brilliant speaker at Lucan GIY monthly meeting on Mon 15 April last. Even though I thought I knew a good bit about school gardens and getting kids interested in the natural world, I was blown away by the practical array of trials, projects and experiments which Paddy demonstrated using old containers and other make-shift equipment which would be common in most households.

For instance, the audience got involved in making paper plant pots, eating tendrils of peas growing in a large plant pot and leaves of onions also growing in a pot. The peas were sown marrowfat peas from a regular supermarket food shelf and the onions were a densely planted handful of onion sets. The leaves can be eaten as well as the onions themselves. Using plastic bottles, cardboard and tinfoil etc,  soil was analysed, earthworms were studied and seeds were sown.

If you are a teacher or are friendly with teachers, please urge them to sign up for

School garden guru, Paddy Madden, telling teachers at Lucan GIY about plant spacing.

School garden guru, Paddy Madden, telling teachers at Lucan GIY about plant spacing.

Paddy Maddens course on ‘Living Classrooms – Using School Grounds’ from 1 – 5 July this summer at Marino Institute of Education, Griffith Avenue, Dublin 9.  Teachers should email Moya at or phone 01 – 8057775 or Paddy 01 – 8057757. Only Marino seems to take the importance of food growing in schools seriously among the Colleges of Education which is great to see as far as it goes. However, why the blind spot in all the other  larger Colleges of Education?  I wish we had more Paddy Madden type lecturers. Ireland’s future would be a healthier place if that was the case!


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