The Garden at Oswegatchie School is a sustainable organic garden where children get a hands on experience learning where their food comes from while developing an appreciation and respect for nature. The Garden will be a learning center to teach gardening as well as incorporating art, music, literature, math and science. It is a place where children are encouraged to join in and participate in the process of creating, developing and maintaining the garden!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Wrapping Up the School Year

Squash taking over the garden bed!
It seems like forever ago since we started the Garden. It has only been 48 days since we first built the beds and filled them. 48 DAYS! It is amazing how much has happened since then. The children were skeptical when we first planted those tiny tender seedlings. Yesterday in Garden Club the delighted cries of "oh my gosh look at that!" or "everyone come over here I found a cucumber!" then "these plants are giants now!" made me realize that the many, many hours we have poured into planning and preparation and research have been worth it. 

On Tuesday the children planted annuals in Mrs. Macione's Butterfly Garden. They added petunias, zinnias, and marigolds to accompany the butterfly weed, bee balm, yarrow, and shasta daisies. The center bed is a buffet for butterflies. We can't wait to start seeing the pollinating visitors! After they planted, the children added a layer of mulch to the bed to retain moisture and keep the weeds at bay. 

Tuesday's children also learned about the importance of dead-heading, pinching dead blossoms off of a plant to keep it producing flowers. Since the goal of this garden is to be self-sustaining, we showed the children how to make their own seed packets to save marigold seeds for next year. For instructions on how to make your own seed packets see Bepa's Garden link.

The Garden's tomato plants are coming along beautifully. It was time to prune off the bottom branches so the energy will go into producing fruit instead of leaves. With every snip, the delicious aroma of tomato was released into the air. I heard one child saying "I wish I could eat them up right now, it smells so gooooood!" The children asked for the cuttings to put in their journals. A few children just enjoyed the olfactory experience of the cut tomato branch. Another used the branches for a hair accessory.

Thursday's Garden Club got down to the business of weeding the pumpkin patch. The original pumpkin seedlings we planted are struggling so  last week's the Fun Friday enrichment group planted more seeds directly into the patch. In only one week they have started to sprout! After weeding the children got to finish planting the remaining elements to the Three Sisters bed beans and squash. 

After the hard work of weeding and planting the children had some time to write about the progress they have noticed in the garden.

The school year may be coming to an end but the work of maintaining and keeping a garden is just beginning. The children were anxious when they asked what would happen to the garden during the summer. We assured them they were welcome to come as often as they like to weed, water, or just enjoy the peace and quiet the garden offers. Rob and I will be frequent visitors to the Garden and have some more building projects planned. When I told the children of the opportunity to help build more things one child threw her hand into the air and said "Oooo, building? I'm your woman. I LOVE to build things!" The only thing I could think of was: not as much as I enjoy watching you thrive doing it! I feel blessed to have the opportunity to help children find things they love doing and giving them the venue to practice, and learn from their mistakes in a supportive environment. 

As always, thanks for coming along with us on this journey.

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