What is really exciting about the garden this spring is the way the kids will be interacting with it. Not only will we be planting our usual variety of kale, swiss chard, herbs, okra, radishes, etc, but each second grade class will have their own half of a bed, where individual kids will plant their own beans and monitor their life cycles as they grow over the course of the semester. The project will give the kids a sense of ownership, which is really important, as well as a chance to really interact with the garden in a very hands-on way.
Today we had a kindergarten class come out and plant some watermelon seeds. The kids were really excited to plant their own seeds and water them. While they were in small groups we talked to them about what the watermelon and all other plants needed to grow. We also discussed a little about the nutrients in the soil and why it was important to have lots of nutrients in the soil. Once the seeds were in the ground, we asked them what they expected to see next week when they came back – most of them said something like, “watermelon that we can eat!” Of course, we explained that it would take a little while before the plants were big enough to produce fruit, and happily this information did not damper their spirits at all. When our second grade class came out today we gave them each a couple of beans to plant in their bed, and let them water them. Before they planted we talked with them about what they should expect to see over the life cycle of the plants, what they needed to grow, and how we were going to monitor them. We can’t wait for these kids to see what they can do with just a few seeds. It’s going to be a great spring!