As the first quarter of garden flex class comes to an end we reflect on the hard work the students put forth and their achievements in the garden. We had a spectacular group of 7th graders! This quarter the students were busy gaining skills on seasonal work in the garden as we geared up for the cold winter months.
There were a lot of beds to prep. Most of the beds, save for the kale, were to be cover cropped. The kids learned about cover crops or “green manure” and their importance towards feeding the soil after a long season of feeding ourselves. Varieties we used for winter included Rye, Austrian field pea, Clover, Fava bean, and Vetch, all of which can stand a bit of a frost. A significant part of the experience was the hands on bed prep process.
The kids learned how to put the garden to sleep through mulching. We let some of our beds grow weedier than usual and instead of pulling them, along with the leftover lettuce crop, we turned them into the bed and spread a nice, thick blanket of hay over it. This way, the leafy nitrogen matter will decompose with help of the hay (carbon) blanket and provide a space for the microorganisms in the soil to “communicate” with or breakdown the matter.
Students also excelled at other garden responsibilities, such as managing the school’s worm bin. This included weighing the food scraps, maintaining the log, and learning how to feed the worms!
The 7th graders helped harvest vegetables for the Good Cheer Food Bank as well as collaborating with the Home Economics teacher to provide fresh veggies for their cooking classes. What a great way to give back to the community!
Great work team!
So long August! Hello September! Only one more week until school starts and the garden is as bountiful as ever. But, before we get carried away with the delicious garden treats we have for the middle school, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on an important addition to LMS. One that was started with the help of last years 7th grade flex class and the Dream Team. One that is well on its way to being a major player in ramping up our production for this years salad bar. Yes folks, it’s our new extension! Below is a compilation of the extension from then to now…
We added six additional beds to the LMS garden. The seventh graders worked hard on measuring, prepping, digging, applying compost, more digging, and even showed us their carpentry skills, to make this garden extension happen!
The kids were really excited to see a tractor in action. A big thanks to Chris Korrow for taking time to dig up the area, using a friendlier spading tractor attachment- similar to hand spading- leaving a nice porous, permeable bed.
Wow, what a transformation!
No garden is complete without a sunflower!
We have had quite a busy summer! The bees have been happily pollinating our vegetables, and we have almost planted out all of our fall beds! Tomatoes, peppers, basil, and even our one eggplant are very happy producers in the Greenhouse.
We just harvested 30 pounds of produce from the garden that will grow directly to Good Cheer and Whidbey Island Nourishes. We are feeling really good about this season’s harvest and the bounty it’s providing to those in need. But don’t worry LMS students, there will be plenty left over for you!
The sungolds are ready to be picked, the cucumbers are reaching new heights, and we’re growing colorful varieties of peppers in abundance! And the first summer squash is coming on!
As our harvests continue to grow, keep an eye out for more posts!
These pictures are of the garden this fourth quarter. We’re learning how to build compost bins and plant potatoes. Way to go L.M.S. STEM!
Our 3rd Quarter STEM class is off to an exciting start! We have several students who chose to continue with STEM to continue their projects. We also have several new folks that have joined our group who bring new enthusiasm and willingness to work and help out!
Hats off to Cary and Cheryl, who have been working with and training students to plant and transplant young vegetable seedlings growing in our hoop house. There are now 6 raised beds with a nice, rich compost and soil blend, created by our 2nd quarter students. One bed already has some wonderful vegies thriving!
More hats off to Mr. Rocco Gianni, of retired LMS fame, now a school board member. Rocco worked hard and overcame some struggles to work with a team of students to pressure wash the greenhouse. It looks SO much better, and we immediately noticed the increase in the amount of light that can come through the panes to help the plants grow!
The extension has been approved and we have a dedicated, hard-working crew busily clearing blackberries as well as bringing in compost and soil to build the new beds with Cary & Cheryl. Last year’s beds have been turned and mulched and it won’t be too long before outdoor planting.