School & Community Gardens

Tuesday when I picked up my first-grade granddaughter Sarah from school, we didn’t go directly home to get ready for Yoga. We stayed at school because she’s in a Garden Club. The club is managed by wonderful volunteer parents. They had a lot of growing things in their beds.

 IMG_0399 (Swiss Chard or Brocollini)

First thing the kids (of all ages) did was to build a bird feeder. Pretty easy, but lots of fun. Complicated by the varying times kids showed up. “Ms. Amy,” as the kids called her would give directions and then more kids would show up. (It takes a while to get kids dismissed from school.) Ms. Amy was cool and managed well. She emphasized the kids doing things by themselves.  The feeder has to dry for 24 hours, then they can hang it up.

 IMG_0400

After working on the bird feeder, the kids planted onions. IMG_0397 (Sarah sticking the tiny bud way down in the dirt.)

Then they began to harvest veggies: beans, peas, radishes, swiss chard, and broccolini. The carrots weren’t ready yet.  Did you know you can eat pea flowers, and they taste just like peas? I didn’t. Sarah tried a flower and didn’t spit it out. I’ll take that as a recommendation. IMG_0402 Radishes

Now, I’m not a gardener. I do well to keep my potted plants outside and my violets inside going. We put in a garden in one of my schools, and I do understand the value of what kids and adults can learn from working on a garden.  The list is endless, but here are a few:

Learning where your food comes from

Valuing fresh veggies

Developing healthy eating habits

Learning to work with others

Planning/Organizing

Math skills when you figure how to build the beds and how much space you need for X number of plants

Communication skills

IMG_0401

I could go on and on. What you need to begin is a couple of knowledgeable staff people or parent volunteers to take on the project. Bringing in the whole community is important. And of course, some money to get you going.

Do your kids or grandkids have a school garden? Does your community? Do you have a green thumb and like to dig in the dirt? Love to hear from you.

P. S. I’d love to have one more Beta Reader for ACT OF SURVIVAL. Looks like it will be mid-December before I can send it your way. Thanks to two the Toni’s who’ve volunteered.

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7 responses to “School & Community Gardens

  1. Marsha – Getting kids outside is a wonderful way of engaging their brains. As you can attest, experiential learning is the most effective and the most fun. I’m wondering if you’re familiar with Out Teach Education, formerly Real School Gardens. I did a post last month on WiththeBarretts.com about the beginning of their installation at Oakmont Elementary. Here’s the link: https://www.withthebarretts.com/2018/real-school-gardens-adventure-in-education/.

    It’s a wonderful organization, worthy of a look.

    Love hearing from you! Please keep it up. And best of luck with the new book.

    Best – Dan

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey, Dan. I didn’t know the name had changed, but I am familiar with “Real School Gardens” Believe it was started by the Rainwater Foundation. Because I couldn’t remember the name (and didn’t take time to look it up!), I cut that paragraph from the post. The garden at Woodway Elementary that was begun when I was principal was a part of that effort. I’m so glad to hear it’s still alive and well. I’ll definitely check out your blog. Thanks so much for stopping by and for the good wishes. 🙂

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  2. I loved this post! Glad your granddaughter is involved in the garden club. My grandson Corbin has a garden at home with his father and loves to be out in it. He eats green beans and asparagus (if you can believe that) while outside and other vegetables. He loves to pick raspberries and blueberries.

    I wish I had my father and grandmother’s green thumb. I try. They had incredible gardens.

    One of the most peaceful times ever, was when I was out working in a garden at another house where we lived. I was outside most of the day and I remember it being peaceful, spiritual. I was one with the earth. I’ll never forget that feeling. I suppose it could have been the sun beating down on my head…lol. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey, Susan. Love the memories of your own gardening experiences. And I’ve seen those cute pics of your grandson doing his gardening thing. A blessing for all for sure. And I know it wasn’t just the sun beating on your head. 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by.

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  3. I’m sure many of the folks up north reading your blog on gardening are pretty envious of harvesting this time of year. First snow fell in Michigan today and I saw Susan’s photo of their snow in the back yard. I didn’t know about the pea flowers tasting like peas. I’ll pass that on to Gardener Ted. The elementary school (K-3) near us always had a garden. I admired the teachers’ dedication to nurturing it. It was so well done with a small chalet style playhouse in the center. Our kids have grown up helping G-pa in the garden. He just beams when he’s in the garden with them. Yes, so many benefits to gardening, and one is watching him and the kids together among the plants. I enjoyed your photos and story. I’m sure Sarah will remember the gardening time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey, JQ. I thought about you when I wrote this post, knowing what ardent gardeners you and you dear husband are. Love the pics you share on FB. How awesome for the grands and their G-pa (love this name and haven’t heard it before. Perfect.) get to hang out together “playing” in the dirt. I’m so excited I was able to share something you didn’t know about the pea flowers. We’ll have our first freeze tonight. About a week earlier than usual. Oh, gosh. I have to cover my pots outside. It’s such a pain. And the wind is blowing a gale. Thanks for stopping by., 🙂

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