Sunday, April 7, 2013

April School Garden Classes Begin

Now that spring break is over, the grade three class is returning to the garden. This week they will be planting the seed tapes they made in March. It was a great rainy day project for them to do. In all, they made 62 feet of seed tape. That's a lot of vegetables!

They will be planting lettuce, spinach, spicy greens, radishes, carrots, beets, potatoes, onions, broad beans and peas in the one hour they are at the garden. Did I tell you there are 28 students this year so many hands make light work.

The students come by bus from Southpointe Academy in Tsawwassen. They learn everything about gardening from starting seeds to harvesting and tasting their own vegetables. They usually start their day by spending time just observing in the garden. There is so much to learn by seeing the changes nature brings. From the buds that swell in spring to the light frost that covers kale in the fall, they learn to see the changes and identify the different seasons.

When planting, they learn to measure so their math skills are tested. They have to read seed packets so they know how to plant the seeds. They also work in groups and learn to work as a team. Gardening is also good exercise and a good way to burn off all the pent up energy after sitting at a desk all day.

Last fall the students planted a 100 mile diet salad garden. Tomorrow they will taste some of their overwintered crops such as kale and arugula. In just weeks they will see their first seeds come up and we will hopefully harvest something to eat at the end of June. That's what's different about a school garden. The garden program begins in September and people always ask "What can you plant then?" Winter gardening is something more people should try. Crops that are left over winter get even sweeter with a touch of frost. Plants such as kale are perfect for children to enjoy. They love it!
After a short winter break the children are back in the garden in spring, eager to get digging. Give a child a pile of soil and all of a sudden they all want to use a shovel. From March to June the children come every second week to tend to the gardens. This year they have nine raised beds where they will be growing food for the food bank.

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