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Adopt the Garden This Summer

posted Jun 7, 2014, 5:54 PM by Kristina Fernandes   [ updated Jun 24, 2015, 5:38 AM by Linda Aber ]
Written by Krissy Fernandes

The Seed to Harvest garden project has been busy this spring. Over the past few months, parent volunteers have been working with many of the classrooms to prepare the garden for this year’s crop. The activities have included

Planting Seedlings
Students in 15 classrooms were given the opportunity to plant one of the many flowers and vegetables that are going into our garden this year. They were each given a peat pod, measuring stick, and of course, seeds. The seeds were placed in a classroom window so that students could watch them grow until they were ready to be planted outside. Many of the classes also enjoyed a garden story, read by a parent volunteer, and a seed matching game.

Garden Grafts
15 classes signed up to help make our garden bright and colorful all year round. Students created crafts such as painted rocks, cement mushrooms, fairy houses, wind chimes, plant markers, and cement pavers. The crafts have almost all been placed in the garden and they all look beautiful!

Working in the Garden
Students of 10 classes met out in the garden to help prepare the garden beds, weed, plant seeds and seedlings, and do other needed garden maintenance. One of the fourth grade classes even helped clean out the garden shed. It was a fun couple of days and students were able to enjoy the nice weather and participate in their school garden.

In addition to the hard work of our students during the day, several continued to help get the garden going after school. The Kindergarten A.S.A.P. program built and planted potato cages in the back of the garden. It was a really cold day, but the students stuck it out and their efforts have now yielded a ton of healthy potato plants. It will be very exciting to harvest them at the start of next year.

Many of the other plants have started growing as well. The herb bed is looking good. Most of the herbs (basil, cilantro, dill, etc.) were planted from seed, so they are just starting out. The garlic, lavender and sage came back strong from last year.

The flower bed has hollyhocks, Shasta daisies, and one other purple flower that can be cut for vases, and then morning glories and two other climbing flowers in the back. They were planted as seeds, so will take some time to come up.

The "Salad Bar" beds are doing well. We planted some tomato seedlings and sweet basil from seed. Mass Horticulture donated several mature tomato plants as well as some Eggplant. A few new pepper plants have also been planted since, unfortunately, the seedlings didn't yield much.

The lettuce is starting to come up in two beds, and the sugar snap peas have sprouted. The strawberries look AWESOME! Everyone can't wait for them to bear fruit. There should be plenty for taste-testing over the summer.

HOW YOU CAN HELP!
Now that the garden is growing, we need help maintaining it over the summer while school is not in session. We are lucky enough to have an irrigation system, and have taken steps to make the garden more easily maintainable by adding stone between each of the beds. This means that the on-going maintenance has been significantly reduced.

We need families to sign-up to “Adopt the Garden” for weekly time slots throughout the summer. You can come by an work in the garden with your kids anytime during the week. All you need to do is:

  • Weed in the garden beds
  • Remove any “dead-heads” from the flowers
  • Help yourself to any ripe fruits, vegetables and herbs

If you can help, sign up at: adoptthegarden.benhempto.org.
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