We recently helped to install a new school garden at one of our partner elementary schools - Elsie Whitlow Stokes Public Freedom Charter School, located in the Brookland neighborhood.
The school put in 12 4x8 raised garden beds, two of which are for the WYG's Garden Science program to use.
Stokes is one of the three DC elementary schools that participate in our Garden Science program.
Over the winter, we spent eight weeks in third and fourth grade classrooms teaching lessons relevant to plant, environmental, earth, and life sciences using garden topics like pollination, insect life cycles, and nutrition. For the first time, we also starts seeds in each classroom this year, which grew wonderfully thanks to a grow rack that we fashioned ourselves. We also made worm composting bins and harvested the worm castings at the end of the eight weeks to add more nutrients to the school garden's soil (see our previous post about worms).
Last week, the new school garden's ribbon was cut and many little hands plunged into the soil.
Our fourth grade classes transplanted the seedlings that we started in the classroom and direct seeded more lettuce and carrot seeds to fill up our two raised beds.
It was fun to design the beds as well - giving thought to how much space different plants need as well as how much sun. We practiced our measuring skills - using rulers and measuring tape to determine our plant spacing and planting depth. We'll have to wait and see in a few weeks, but we think the beds will be a beautiful mix of both flowers and vegetables. The students are especially excited for the sunflowers - not as excited for the spinach.
We were happy to have a part in a fabulous new addition to DC school gardens. See the DC Schoolyard Greening Consortium's website for a complete listing of school gardens and schoolyard greening projects in the District: http://www.dcschoolyardgreening.org/localprojects/participatingschools.html
Saving Seeds for Biodiversity by Thomas Christopher
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