Vermont School Garden

A visit to a Vermont public school garden through the seasons.


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Librarian as Garden Coordinator

Library Garden Bookwalk

Library Garden Book Walk

Among her many passions, Mandy Walsh, our part time school Librarian, has a special place in her heart our school garden. She’s co-coordinating the garden work with me this year and I couldn’t ask for a more innovative energetic partner. Pictured above is a page from the children’s book, Little Yellow Pear Tomatoes, by Demian Elaine Yumei. Mandy enlarged all of the pages of this wonderful book and created a “book walk” through our garden for the Kindergarten classes. This book  beautifully encourages the reader to examine the cycle of life in a way that is suitable for all ages.

Additionally, Mandy has taken advantage of other books to make garden connections. Pictured below are the ingredients for making salsa and sweet Mandy herself.

salsa-makinggarden-curriculum-in-the-library

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OK, one more thing: Our greenhouse is up and running thanks to Mandy’s husband, Chris, who tilled it for us last month. Thanks, Chris!

Hooray for fall greens!!

Hooray for fall greens!!


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October Garden Harvest

Winter Squash Harvest

Winter Squash Harvest

What a great COLD morning for harvesting squash and sweet potatoes. These brave third graders and their teacher, Jennie Perry, were out harvesting at 8:30 when the temperature hovered at somewhere below 35 degrees. The cold didn’t stop their enthusiasm for digging up  the buried treasures that had been growing in our school garden all summer. Students  planted our  sweet potato slips in late June. This variety must really like Vermont soil. The size of these ‘sweets’ was breathtaking!

sweet potato harvest

sweet potato harvest

our-sweet-potatoes

our-sweet-potatoes

sweet-potatoes-for-the-kitchen

sweet-potatoes-for-the-kitchen

On their way back to class third graders dropped off their harvest at the kitchen, where our chef, Harley Sterling, will create something magical with them for school lunch.

 

5th graders harvest acorn squash

5th graders harvest acorn squash

sweet-potatoes-for-the-kitchen

acorn squash-for-the-kitchen


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BACK TO SCHOOL IN THE GARDEN

mystery-heirloom-native-seed-revealed-acorn-squash

There’s a lot going on this month, some of which I’ve recorded here. Many teachers have taken advantage of the good weather and the kaleidoscope of images in the garden to visit with their students.

Keene State University Dietetics Post Grads visited one morning with their professors. Our chef, Harley  and his assistant, Melissa frequently incorporate our produce into their menus. You’ll see some extra tomatoes bubbling into sauce in one of the photos below. At recess time, kids love a run out to the garden to see what’s happening and to taste a few ripe raspberries.

We said “Good-Bye” to our hard working garden crew. They were able to get in a few cooking lessons in before they left.

sunflower-house-copyin-the-sunflower-house

drying-produce

Washing and spin-drying produce.

ksu-students-visit

Visiting KSU students.

 

KSU student visit.jpgHarley's tomatoe sauce.jpg

Harley and  Melissa.jpg

Chef Harley and Melissa.

last summer weeding.jpg

Last day summer garden crew.jpg

Our awesome teen crew and their leader, Meghan Licciardi.

ready for winter.jpg

Ready for winter.

 


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PESTO IN AUG./SEPT.

picking-the-last-of-the-basil

picking-the-last-of-the-basil

Our basil suffered from the drought this summer. It didn’t produce the usual ‘hedge’ of green that was harvested by students and staff members alike during past growing seasons. Fourth graders harvesting this year’s basil planted it from seed with their teacher, Dena Weiss-Tisman, in the  spring of their third grade year. We added parsley to make our pesto this fall and we made it with roasted/salted sunflower seeds fresh garlic and olive oil……no dairy! The kids loved tasting it. We made enough to freeze for the winter.

spinning-the-basil-dry

spinning-the-basil-dry

adding-sunflower-seeds

adding-sunflower-seeds

with-nancy

picking-the-last-of-the-basil

adding-sunflower-seeds

grade-4-parsely-basil-pesto adding-sunflower-seeds

with-nancy

With teacher Nancy Bladyka

 


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AUGUST HARVESTING AND HUMUS MAKING

parsley

parsley

Our chef, Harley Sterling, requested an  herb garden to enhance the gourmet meals he prepares for the school. This summer the parsley did not disappoint! We used some of it to show the teen crew how to make humus. They also pulled up a few carrots for dipping. After a reluctant first taste and a “no thanks, no more,” one of our crew members discovered that humus and carrots aren’t so bad. I think she might try making this for a snack again sometime.

carrot-harvest

carrot-harvest

washing-carrots

washing-carrots

add-chick-peas

add-chick-peas

parsley-for-humus

parsley-for-humus

tomatoes for sauce and salad bar

tomatoes for sauce and salad bar


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MID-AUGUST GARDEN CARE

tomato-harvestThis summer we experimented with leaving most of our tomato plants to vine out rather than staking and suckering them. It’s hard to say why the “vined out’ tomatoes did so well, but we certainly had an abundant crop! My theory is that they had more shade to protect them from the drought-like conditions we had this summer. Kudos to the teachers who came out to stake the other side of our tomato patch. Those tomatoes are easier for kids to pick and eat.

finding-potatoes

finding-potatoes

potato-harvest

potato-harvest

Our potatoes were hidden by a dense cover of weeds thanks to early July rain. The teen crew harvested them in mid-August, but the elementary students will still be able to harvest our sweet potatoes whose vines haven’t died out yet. We gave the white and red potatoes to our school chef, Harley Sterling. He washed them a put them in storage for a future school meal. Thanks, Harley! (You can see below what our sweet potatoes looked like mid-summer after the crew weeded and mulched them with straw.) Next are photos of the amazing job these kids did weeding our popcorn:

sweet-potatoes-weeded-and-mulched

sweet-potatoes-weeded-and-mulched

garden-crew-in-the-popcorn

garden-crew-in-the-popcorn

weeding-the-popcorn

weeding-the-popcorn

popcorn-weeded

popcorn-weeded

a-break-from-weeding

a-break-from-weeding


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AUGUST IN OUR GARDEN

new crew and summer campers

Meet our new Youth Services garden crew and their leader, Meghan. They’re here through a federal grant and they’ll be able to help us maintain our garden for 7 hours a week for 7 seven weeks! We are thrilled to have their help. When they’re not with us at our garden they work at other gardens in the district. Here they are pictured with a group of summer campers who have come out to the garden to help plant beans. Usually we plant beans in July to harvest them when the students are back at school. This year we had to wait until we got some much needed rain before we could plant our beans. Fingers crossed that we won’t have a frost before the beans are ready.

Our teen crew weeded an earlier bean planting. They showed the campers the tiniest new beans emerging from behind flowers on those plants.

Meanwhile, “Someone’s been eating our broccoli and kale!” We haven’t found the culprit, but I’m betting on a groundhog. It doesn’t seem to be munching lately so we can hope that it’s moved on. Both plants are showing signs of growing back. We’ll put some white clay on them to discourage unwanted munchers.

eaten broccoli

gnawed broccoli

bean planting Aug 1

planting beans for late September