Vermont School Garden

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


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Community Support is How We Grow

Mike and Bianca Zaransky

Mike and Bianca Zaransky

It’s a fact that our school garden wouldn’t exist without the help of the incredible community members of Westminster. Above are Bianca and Mike Zaransky who, together with their son, sixth grader, Van have contributed many hours to our garden. Last week they came over after work to till the garden in preparation for Westminster Center School Planting Day, this Monday, June 1st from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. We’re so very lucky to have these young farmers supporting us. Come and join us for Planting Day!

This summer each teacher has adopted a crop to care for with my help and with the help of interested parents. We’re looking forward to a great growing season.


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Not Every Planting Experiment is Successful

Starting sweet potatoes

Starting sweet potatoes

Third graders and their teacher AND the custodian all got into raising sweet potato slips from last years crop of sweet potatoes. This time our experiment didn’t do very well. Before the slips could emerge, the sweet potatoes began to decompose, regardless of the TLC they received from everyone. I’m willing to try this again, but we’ll need to find a few different variables. Suggestions?

UPDATE We found sweet potato slips already started at our local Agway Garden Center! We’ll see how these southern transplants do in Vermont.


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May Planting Experiments in the Third Grade

Where will the seeds grow best?

Where will the seeds grow best?

Third graders had lots of opportunities to test out their hypotheses about how and where plants grow best in Dena Weiss-Tisman’s class this spring. With their teacher they designed an experiment to find the best place for growing basil. Along the way they discovered that basil seeds are about the size of a period in their books. Seedlings were started in the classroom window, on a bookshelf and in a drawer. Another group were brought to Harlow farm greenhouse. Even I was surprised at the outcome. Perhaps because our classroom window faced south and because the seedlings were consistently watered, the classroom window¬† seedlings did just about as well as the ones in the commercial greenhouse.

close-up of a basil seed

close-up of a basil seed

Dark Shade or Sun

Dark Shade or Sun

Planting Basil

Planting Basil

predicting and recording in science journals

predicting and recording in science journals

examining root systems

examining root systems