Saturday, May 01, 2010

We have to make them grow!

In June of last year, Ms. Susie started helping us create a garden for the After-School Academy. A group came in and worked alongside our kids to create a "lasagna garden" because the dirt was too hard to till.

Planting in the middle of the summer in Dallas didn't seem like the best idea, but we started with what we had. When the school year started back up, Ms. Susie continued to come and work with a couple of kids at a time showing them how to take soil samples, stake plants, and check the rain gauge. At the beginning, most of the kids' interaction in the garden was pretty basic. Only a couple of kids could go out at a time and close supervision was required so that kids didn't walk through the garden (and on top of the plants). Basic instruction was given and a one or two kids were given the opportunity to water at Ms. Susie or Ms. Danielle's instruction.

When I walked out to the garden the other day, I saw several kids in the garden, moving the wheelbarrow, shoveling and carrying the dirt...all while carefully walking through the rows of the garden to make sure they weren't stepping on any plants.

I'm seeing more initiative on the kids' part. The garden is becoming their own and they are becoming the experts in the garden. Ask them about worms or composting and they do a pretty good job of explaining it.

As you see in the video, the kids are also eating the vegetables produced in our garden. Right now, the garden is loaded with variety--chard, onions, garlic, lettuce, sweet peas, broccoli, potatoes, tomatoes...and more that I'm probably forgetting. As we move into this summer, we plan to do more with cooking and tasting the vegetables from our garden with the goal of working toward healthier eating habits.

The kids love the garden...and I love what the kids are learning from the garden!