Here is the long overdue update on our gardening endeavours at school.
It has now been a couple of months from when we planted our veggies and some flowers and it’s been a mixed bag of results.
Our raised boxes are doing well. Even though they had to be moved a few weeks ago, the plants have re-cooperated and are lush and green.
In fact we have already had a harvest of string beans. The children cooked them with fresh dill and radish leaves from the garden. The harvest was not big enough to feed the entire school so we added some store bought carrots. The result was a tasty treat of buttery-garlicky bean and carrot salad! The fact that it was from our garden made the salad all the more delicious.
A week ago we were able to harvest enough dill to send some home with the elementary children as well!
The gourds, yam, sunflowers, morning glory, pumpkin and other plants look happy and healthy.
The news is not so good with the keyhole gardening patch of the children though!
ALL the seeds that had germinated died due to heavy rains. We put up a canopy above the patch to provide some protection but it came too late. The only plants to survive were the turmeric and lemon grass. Now, we are going to have to start the planting all over again!
Fortunately, the failed experiment with the keyhole garden patch of the elementary children hasn’t really dampened their enthusiasm.
Instead they have become a little more interested in ‘how’ a plant is looking; are the leaves yellowing, is the soil too wet, is the stem bent? Maybe the timely harvest of the beans helped.
It has been interesting to observe the children’s responses to the garden over the last couple of months.
Many children have become better observers of what is growing around them. A new bud, a flower that has just bloomed or a tiny fruit that is appearing now catches their attention. They have seen day after day the bean flower’s ovary slowly elongate into a fruit. The first purple bud of the morning glory drew much attention. Funnily the big, bright yellow sunflower growing right next to the sandpit where most of the children play, went unnoticed!!!
Today a child guided me by the hand to show me a new ‘chilli’ that she spied growing. It was in fact the tender shoot of yam, all curled up, just emerging from the soil. This was enough to spark off a walk through the outdoor environment. A group of us walking about and noticing more keenly all that grew around us … the massive banana flower, the young and shiny new leaves, the little dot of a chilli just emerging …
“…what most develops a feeling of nature is the cultivation of the living things, because they by their natural development give back far more than they receive, and show something like infinity in their beauty and variety.”
~ Dr. Maria Montessori