Welcome back to the school garden! We have exciting year of garden classes planned. I spent the summer training with Seattle Tilth’s Garden Educator Summer Intensive, and reading books like the Week-by-Week Vegetable Gardener’s Handbook. I highly recommend both experiences, by the way, to everyone from novice gardeners to garden teachers!
I’d like to share an article that was sent my way about the value of garden education. Check it out here: https://theconversation.com/do-kids-who-grow-kale-eat-kale-64724
I found it interesting because it doesn’t claim school gardening to be a cure for all ills, but instead examines the tangible results. I know what I see in my students as a result of their garden classes – confidence, deep knowledge of science and their place in the natural world. The most gratifying result that I saw was children enthusiastically trying vegetables. One teacher last year told me that a student who wouldn’t eat vegetables at home last year was later eating kale with enthusiasm – because he had grown it and eaten it in the school garden.
Last Spring, the graduating 3rd graders planted several heirloom crops to be grown over the summer and enjoyed by this year’s new 3rd graders. In the front left in this photo are Scarlet Runner Beans, about to spiral up the trellis we built from bamboo and a donated metal trellis. Behind and to the far right are Makah Ozette potatoes, a delicious tuber placed on Slow Food’s Ark of Taste list, due to its incredible flavor.
The crops have grown all summer, thanks to our watering volunteers, and now the beautiful beans have climbed to the top of the trellis! The long hearty bean pods will be used for a lesson on seed saving.
Meanwhile, the potato plants are responding to the changing temperatures and turning colors, getting ready for the delicious underground treasures to be harvested. We now plan an annual Potato Soup Day here for the 3rd grade classes. If you are interested in helping to cook a simple recipe in bulk, please e-mail me, SnappdragonsGarden at gmail dot com. The soup was a big hit last year with the kids, and really helped bring home the connection of harvest + feast, as well as a lesson about local history.
Tomorrow is the big day, as half the third grade classes will be coming outdoors for their first garden class, with the remaining classes coming next week.
Thanks for all of your support!
Rowan Maya Lang