March 26, 2015 - Seed to Harvest Meeting

posted Mar 30, 2015, 8:01 AM by Kristina Fernandes   [ updated Mar 30, 2015, 8:09 AM ]
Attendees: Krissy Fernandes, Rebecca Hall, Cydney Hodder, Linda Aber, Maureen McMahon, Kathy Cappellano

First off, thank you Maureen for the delicious homemade chocolate-chip muffins!

We started the meeting by reviewing the grants won and the budget left for the year.

NEF Grant: $4,000
Wholefoods Grant: $2,000
PTO Budget: $600 (Some of this was used in the fall)
TOTAL 2015 BUDGET: $6,600

The NEF Grant is pretty much spent already.  We are just waiting for the vendors to be created with the town and then the greenhouse and elevated raised garden beds will be ordered.  We just got the notification that the WholeFoods grant funds check has been mailed out.  We will make a list of desired items to add to the garden and then prioritize where we want to spend that money.

The program priorities for 2015 are:
  • Build the Living Lab in the school's courtyard (STH will be most involved in the initial build out.  After the space is ready, the teaching staff will be able to sign-up the space similar to how they would reserve the computer lab.  Teachers will be responsible for maintaining their own projects.  STH can use some of the greenhouse space to grow plants for the community garden.)
  • Plant and maintain the Seed to Harvest community garden.  This year the priority will be on planting more of the popular veggies and grow them well.
  • Add a trough style sink so students can quickly wash up after garden projects.
  • Add seating in the garden (did not get to this last year).
  • Install garden sign and message board.
  • Add more learning opportunities in the garden.
  • Continue the planting and garden craft activities for the classes.  Try to focus each grade/class on a particular plant in the garden.
We brainstormed a quick list of the most popular veggies that we want to plant.  We tried to focus on those that are able to be harvested in the spring or fall so that students get the most exposure. A "Garden Planning" spreadsheet has been created on the Seed to Harvest drive to continue refining this list.

Spring Harvest
Lettuces (arugula, romain, iceberg, sulu, mortel, dandelion)
Edible flowers (pansies)
Herbs (scallions, lavender, basil, cilantro, etc)

Fall Harvest
Brussel Sprouts

Sugar Snap Peas
Green Beans
Rainbow Flower Garden
Chinese Vegetables (Bok Choy)

We have decided to subscribe to the Farmers Almanac Garden Planner ($25/year) to make planning easier this year and in years to follow.

Since we have some extra money to spend this year, we also started a list of things it would be nice to have in the Living Lab or community garden (this list is also in the Garden Planning spreadsheet).
  • Compost tumbler (to replace the existing compost bins)
  • Watering cans (smaller to make it easier for kids to use)
  • Trough sink
  • Food scale (2)
  • Microscope
  • Ph/Soil Testing kits
  • Magnifying glasses
  • Collection baskets (WholeFoods?)
  • Worm farm
  • Potato boxes
  • Weather stuff (i.e. rain gauge, wind instruments, thermometer, barometer)
  • Fencing for raspberries
  • Trellises
Other to do's that we discussed:
  • Document the set-up and break-down instructions for the garden and living lab
  • Schedule taste-testing (lettuce party?  WholeFoods chefs?)
  • Thin out the strawberries (move to berry patch - on second thought, it probably is best to leave the large bed for the fall crop) [Kathy]
  • Investigate trimming back blackberries/raspberries [Kathy]
  • Contact MetroWest Irrigation to schedule turning on the sprinkler system [Krissy]
  • Weed out the fairy garden [Maureen]
  • Survey teachers regarding garden priorities for this year [Cydney]

A shared Pinterest board has been set up so that we can share ideas for the garden and activities.

There was a lot of conversation, so hopefully this captures the most important parts.  Let's plan on meeting again this week to continue the conversation/planning.  We will have to get the seedling planting schedule to teachers by early next week.  If you are able to make it, lets meet on Thursday again.  This time, let's meet at the school so that we can walk out to the garden.

Seed to Harvest Meeting
Date: Thursday, April 2, 2015
Time: 10:30 - 11:30 am
Location: Ben-Hem Teacher's Work Area

The goal of this next meeting will be to finalize the planting plan, assign owners to different tasks, and determine purchase priorities.