Gardening gift for green-fingered youngsters

Green-fingered youngsters at a Cardiff primary school will get a horticultural boost this summer thanks to Mermaid Quay.

The GreenHouse at Mermaid Quay, which will be located on the waterfront at Mermaid Quay until later this month, is to have a new long term home at the nearby Mount Stuart Primary School after teachers saw photos on social media.

Justin Patel, general manager at Mermaid Quay and the driving force behind the centre’s green initiatives, said: “It’s a pleasure to be able to donate the GreenHouse to Mount Stuart School and know that it will be helping pupils to get practical experience of gardening and growing vegetables.”

“The GreenHouse was a way for us to highlight everything we’re doing to improve our sustainability and reduce waste, so re-using it in this way makes perfect sense.”

Senior teaching assistant Iris Pudney, who runs the school’s popular after-school gardening club, said: “One of our teachers saw the photos of the GreenHouse at Mermaid Quay on Twitter one evening and sent a message to say that we’d love to take it off their hands when they’d finished with it. It was a lovely surprise when the centre management team got in touch and said they’d be delighted to give it to us.”

“Living in the middle of a city, many of our pupils don’t have much in the way of a garden at home, so our gardening club is very popular. It gives the children the opportunity to learn where our foods come from, and they love the responsibility of jobs like watering the plants.

“In the past, we have grown lots of different things, such as tomatoes, courgettes, green beans, strawberries, herbs, and flowers from cuttings. We did have a poly tunnel that did the job but unfortunately it was damaged in one of the bad storms – the GreenHouse will replace that and will enable us to start again with some new seeds. And as it’s bigger than what we had before, we will be able to grow far more than we have in the past.”

A group from the school’s Gardening Club visited Mermaid Quay today to have a look at the GreenHouse and see first hand how Mermaid Quay is turning food waste from the 30+ restaurants, cafes and bars on the site into a soil enhancer which is helping the plants in the GreenHouse grow.

Made from plastic bottles and recycled materials, the GreenHouse has been a feature at Mermaid Quay since early April.

Since 2015, Mermaid Quay has gone from recycling zero food waste to processing more than 100 tonnes a year in its on-site BioNova digester. The resulting digestate makes a good soil enhancer and is used in the planters around Mermaid Quay. Work is also underway to explore how it can be used as biofuel.

Mermaid Quay has also significantly increased its recycling levels, with all recyclable dry materials such as cardboard, paper, and glass, collected and processed locally with the result that Mermaid Quay now sends no general waste to landfill.