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Watching Our Garden Grow

Janice Longino,   Amy Parks-heath El
Community Involvement, Student Leadership, Success with Funds,  Teamwork
Watching Our Garden Grow

We are in year two of our school garden. We are still in the learning and growing phases but have come such a long way. This year, we have had the opportunity to work with our community Boy Scout troop and a master gardener name Jim Burt. He has the titles of Master Gardener Vegetable Specialist, Rain Water Harvesting Specialist, and Master Composter. He visited with us after looking over our garden and helped us some amazing improvements. We utilized our Healthy Zone School funds to purchase six rain barrels to help with watering our garden and with conserving water. He is now helping us with preparing our own compost and purchasing a green house. With the green house, we will be able to grow our own seeds and transfer our plants to our garden. WE HAVE LEARNED A GREAT DEAL THIS YEAR!!!! The community involvement has been fun. With the help of a Boy Scout troop, we have expanded our garden, provided gravel walkways, mulched areas, flowers beds, and stools for our students to sit on when studying about the garden. Our garden team is going to paint the spools. It truly looks amazing. Our garden team maintains the garden, plants, and harvests our vegetables when they are ready. Next year, the goal is to have a fall, winter, and spring garden. It has been not only fun for all but such an amazing learning experience.

How did you accomplish your goals?

We were able to accomplish our goals with the help of grant funds, help from our parents and grand parents to provide plants to grow and their expertise with our students on how to improve our garden. They also provided us with the information and connections for our water barrels and are helping us with our greenhouse. The Boy Scout troop made our garden aesthetically pretty as part of their Eagle Project. Much of their supplies were donated by community businesses.

What challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?

Our biggest challenge has been time both on my part and our garden team. We have almost 900 kids in our school my time is precious. We meet before school, after school, and any time in between. This year has been harder to find time so next year, we will set one day a week to meat. Those that come early because they ride the bus will work on the garden before school and those that can stay after school with work on it then as well as each class taking care of their part of the garden.

How do you plan to make this Play last during the school year and beyond?

We are allowing each grade level to have their own box and in their specific box, each class with have their own plant. So, each class will be responsible for growing their own vegetable. This could help with the time issue we are having and allow our garden team to check and maintain the garden as a whole.