The success of a school garden is largely dependent on whether or not the students feel and know that they were instrumental in creating it . . . and to feel that, every student needs to get their hands dirty. School gardens are about much more than just growing food — they are about connecting children with their ecosystem, cultivating a sense of stewardship, instilling a sense of place, fostering social development and teamwork, promoting a healthy lifestyle . . . the list goes on. New studies are being published almost every day about how school gardens improve academic achievement in ways we are only beginning to understand.
Over the last 3 weeks all of our students have had a hand in helping our garden grow. We’ve been hauling bin after bin of mulch up from the lower lot to the garden, laying down landscaping fabric, and spreading the mulch with shovels. We are about ready to start in on the other side near the Willow Tunnel next week. Then comes the Dyeing Plant Spiral which will be used in conjunction with our Handwork Curriculum. Check out the photos below:
On Tuesday at lunchtime the 3rd & 4th grade students sat down to share the bounty of last year’s garden. The lunch marks the official date the 3rd grade class becomes the primary stewards of our school’s garden.
In the garden, during last Thursday’s morning break, I had the great pleasure of bearing witness to a lavish marriage ceremony performance between a few 2nd Graders and The Air. Really . . . “The Air.” (I didn’t question it . . . the idea seeming totally reasonable coming from their bright eyes.) Below is a photograph of the bridal party. (Unfortunately, I was unable to capture a decent image of the groom.)
I often ponder . . . where do all the garden rocks go?
But yesterday I stumbled upon . . .
. . . a crude fortress wall deep in the garden bushes. Quietly (and with great care) I took a peek beyond this high, formidable wall. And there I found a diligent crew of Garden Guardians.
These particular ones informed me that their job was to make
Magical Rock Powders & Marigold Paint.
And with a deep sigh of relief, I retreated . . . assured in the knowledge that their herculean efforts will keep the weeds at bay far better than simple stones would acting alone.
This week we did a little harvesting & planting in the garden….
The 4th grade had a good time digging up “Potato Mountain” to find that the seeds they planted 6 months ago became beautifully odd-shaped, potassium-rich nuggets.
And the 3rd grade helped me plant 2 blueberry shrubs, a gift from Mr. Hamilton of Hybridoma Organic Fruit Farm
. We won’t be seeing much action from them for the next few seasons but will be looking forward to munching on their delicious fruit for many years to come. Thanks again, Hybridoma!
Have a wonderful weekend!
Tonight I will be starting the Baltimore County Master Gardener Program. Classes will run from January 22nd to April 9th on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. This is part of WSB’s effort to expand our school’s garden this coming spring. We’re hoping to make the garden a central place for our students to grow and learn. We are also looking into the possibility of opening the garden to the wider community. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know your interest and commitment level to gardening this summer — this information will allow me to plan just how vast our garden can grow and be sustainable. This is a fantastic opportunity for you and your children to learn and grow together throughout the summer months . . . not to mention revel in the satisfaction of harvesting the bounty of your efforts (literally!). Please be in touch.