Please describe your garden, is it raised beds, in the ground, do you have a greenhouse?
Currently we have constructed five raised flower bed gardens that are wheelchair accessible. They are primarily used for vegetable and herb gardening. We have a newly constructed greenhouse where we germinate our seeds in the beginning of spring and have a large flower bed that houses our butterfly and bee garden, as well as edible plantings.
What vegetables/fruit do you grow in your garden? What do you have a difficult time growing in your school garden?
Our school has grown tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, onions, garlic, cilantro, beans, and peppers in our raised flower beds. All of these varieties have done well in the gardens thanks to the commitment of both our staff, students, and daycare for the upkeep.
Why did your school decide to add a school garden?
Our school added a garden to give all of students a chance to see the amount of work it takes to produce food. It also gives students a first hand real life experience with the life cycle of these plants. Many of our students do not have these experiences in their regular life and by creating our garden our students were able to learn by experience.
What classes participate in the garden, what subjects are taught in the garden?
Each homeroom class was responsible for germinating and planting a particular type of seed for our garden. Primarily the science classes in each grade were actively involved in the project. Once foods were harvested, the Home Economics class was able to use some of the fresh produce in their recipes. Some of the produce was turned into salsa by the gardening team, who then enjoyed a nacho party to celebrate their hard work. The rest of the produce was given to the school snack program to feed our students.
Who manages the garden day to day? Who manages the garden over the Summer break?
Our lead teachers Racquel Hilbert and Michelle Olchowski were the heads of our school's Green Team- a collection of students from grade 5-8. The team was in charge of the maintenance during the school year. In the summer, our school's Daycare was thrilled to help out in the upkeep of the school garden.
What do you do with the harvest from your garden? Do you have a harvest celebration? Do you use it in the cafeteria, or culinary classes? Do you donate some of the produce?
Our school's Home Economic classes use some of the produce in their recipes and the rest is donated to the school's snack program. Parent volunteers meet every morning to prepare a healthy three food group snack for every student in our school to eat in the morning. Our students really love the fresh vegetables!
Do you have community involvement? Do you have parents and volunteers? Have been able to source other funding to help your garden grow?
Our summer maintenance project partners are the children and staff at the Humboldt Public School Community Childcare Centre. While housed in the same building as our school, the daycare is run independently of the school and has its own board of directors and Director. In the initial planting we had thirty parent volunteers that came on a weekend with their children to plant our perennials and vegetables. We have received donations of seeds, plants and soil in the past from local greenhouses and grocery stores and we have received grants in the past from the TD Friends of the Environment.
What are your future plans for the school garden?
Our plan is to continue to plant vegetables and herbs in our raised garden beds and continue on with the upkeep of our butterfly and bee gardens. We have just started developing the edible berry area of the school gardens and hope to continue to plant new varieties in the future. We are also planning to plant species of plants native to Saskatchewan that have important First Nations Significance and plan to plant as many crops that are native to our area as possible in the near future.
Any words of encouragement/tips for a school starting a school garden?
Planning and involving as many people from your community is critical for success. Often it is those connections that have their own connections that help lend their passion and expertise to a plan.
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