Vermont School Garden

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

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planting kale Grade 1

Planting two kinds of kale, a favorite crop in our garden.

Every student at the Westminster Center School got to plant something in our all school garden on May 10th. We chose an early planting date this year for two reasons. It was very warm in early April and we thought it would stay that way. (Ha! In Vermont?) The last day of school this year is June 8th, which is early. It doesn’t allow students much time to observe  plant  growth and change.

We have two new inspirational garden coordinators: Many Walsh (also our Librarian) and Bianca Zaransky, parent and Social Justice Advocate.

Help came  from a variety of sources on Planting Day. Harlow Farms and Paul Harlow  gave us a huge variety of starts ( two kinds of kale, tomatoes, peppers and seedling potatoes.) The Clough family of Westminster Community Feeds ( with two daughters at our school) delivered mulch straw  at cost. Farmer, Evan Harlow gave us the entire day, helping with everything from explaining planting to understanding the importance of community interdependence.  Parents, Mike Zaransky  and Jason Goodell  tilled and supplied manure. (See previous blog entry.)

The temperatures, day/night vary dramatically in spring, so we’ll have to be more vigilant with the more tender crops for a few weeks…..just like looking after new babies! Watering early and or in the evenings is important during hot days  as is some kind of cover for near freezing nights. Babies need a stress-free environment. We also hope to mulch with wet newspaper and straw to keep the soil moist and the weeds at bay.

We’re keeping a few heat loving starts indoors. We’ll plant them during that last week of school: basil and flower seedlings, sweet potatoes and Valencia peanuts will go in sometime during that first week of June. The peanuts are a new addition this year. We’re excited to see how they grow.

Planting day 2016

Farmer, and parent, Evan Harlow handing out squash starts.

talking to 3rd graders.jpg

Explaining about local produce and community interdependence.



planting popcorn


kale sign in

hammering in the kale sign

grade 2 kale pops

Eating kale smoothie popscicles.

potato sign up

cucumbers in planting herbs

Teo and Evan

Evan and Teo Harlow and the Kindergarten

tarragon close -up

Tarragon seedling.

Mandy planting with Grade 1

Straw delivery

Garen Clough and his daughter from Community Feed Store, Westminster.













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More on Carrots

planting seed stripsYes, we believe it’s time to start carrots in our Vermont school garden. We tried a new method of “pre-thinning” this year. Students glued teensie carrot seeds to a line of Elmer’s glue on strips of paper. The glue will dissolve in the rain and the seeds will be set to grow an appropriate length apart! (We hope.) This is a first time experiment and I’m hoping it works. Carrots should be ready to pull up when the summer camp program is in session in late July.

This turned out to be a carrot themed After School party for 11 students. First they had a snack of local baby carrots. Then they put together a recipe for healthy carrot muffins. Finally they brought their carrot seed strips out to the garden to plant. It was a super afternoon!

seed stripsMAKING SEED STRIPSgrating carrotscarrot muffin makingcarrots muffinsRecipe: Healthy Carrot Muffins