Vermont School Garden

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

What’s Going on at Westminster Organics in the Spring?

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Last week the Fourth grade classes hopped on a school bus for a ten minute ride to Paul Harlow’s farm. He was waiting to show them where their popcorn had been curing over the winter. They also got to see Marcus, a Harlow farm icon, demonstrate an antique machine made for removing the kernels from ears of popcorn.

Corn kernel remover

Paul chicken greenhouse

One of the farmers, Brandon Allen, invented a device for storing popcorn kernels. It will take another few months of air drying for the popcorn to pop into clouds of fluffy white deliciousness. Brandon’s storage unit is a model of Yankee ingenuity. A large plastic trash can and PVC pipe are wedded together to create a rodent-free container that allows air to flow through to the kernels. We’re going to try to replicate his model on a smaller scale to store the fourth grade popcorn harvest back at school. Brandon  once attended Westminster Center School.

Future kale crop

Paul also gave the students a tour of the greenhouses. They were already beginning to fill with flats of flower and vegetable seedlings. One student said, “this makes me wish it was summer,” as she emerged from the warm steamy space. “It even smells like summer in there.” Thousands of tiny kale plants had been seeded into flats. Paul challenged the class with complicated math problems. If one flat holds this many, then how many plants do you think are in this greenhouse? No doubt about the need for good math skills on a farm!

Finally the class got a peek at a new beef herd that had recently arrived. Many questions were raised and answered about beef cattle before it was time to head back to school.

new beef herd

Many thanks for a great trip, Paul and Westminster Organics!


Author: vermontschoolgarden

I have been an elementary teacher at the Westminster Center School for 30 years. For most of those years, I maintained a garden as part of my teaching curriculum resource. Now I am the Garden Coordinator for all of the Westminster Center School classrooms.

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