The Grade 4 class visited the garden in order to learn about root systems. The frost has ended our gardening plans early, but the grade 4’s were able to continue to learn after the plants had shrivelled up!
Here’s what some of the grade 4’s wrote about the garden:
About using the Learning Garden:
The other day we went to the gardens at the school. We pulled some of the plants out of the garden and we found taproots. A garden is a good thing to care for.
We were pulling out roots. Also all kinds of plants, like zucchini plants. There were lots of roots. All of us pulled out roots. We saw roots. I learned that roots are important. It is nice and beautiful to have gardens at school.
A few days ago my class pulled out some plants from a bin full of dirt. When we pulled out the zucchini plants we noticed the roots were taproots. I learned that zucchini plants only have taproots, and not fibrous.
Me and my class went outside and we pulled and looked for different roots plants and we looked for tap and fibrous. Plants need a lot of care. I like having a learning garden at school because I can look at cool plants.
When I approached the RMWB about the learning gardens, I was very enthusiastic. I figured I can do most of the work and that it would get done no matter what. I mentioned opportunities for partnership like the Boys and Girls Club, Girls Inc, etc. but I wasn’t sure how to get them in place. Suddenly, I looked at my summer schedule and realized I would only be in town for about two weeks of the summer. It was scary to realize that no matter how much I wanted to do the work, I wouldn’t physically be there.
This is the garden when I left for my summer vacation. One of the beds. You can see why it needed tender care.
I decided to try and use technology to help me find support. I signed up on signupgenius.com and set up times for volunteers. I sent out requests in our school newsletters and made posters for the school. I happened to meet a member of the Board of Directors of Girls Inc and mentioned the garden to her as an opportunity for their summer camps. I also sit on the BoD for the Boys and Girls Club so I suggested the same to the camp counsellors.
As it came down to crunch time before I left I had enough volunteers. Between myself, Girls Inc, the Boys and Girls Club, and a volunteer family recruited through the Fort McMurray Gardening Enthusiasts page; there were enough volunteers to care for the garden.
We also had some guardian angels from the parks department at the RMWB and McMurray Aviation. These ladies made sure that the garden got ample water until our water tanks were delivered. A huge thank you to Crystal and Rai and anyone who came out and helped them.
The garden looked amazing. The care given ensured that it flourished and grew. It was so exciting to stop by and see campers from Girls Inc watering and harvesting. Getting pictures from families showing their harvests and how they cooked them was another highlight.
The garden when I returned from my first 2 week adventure. Looking fantastic and lush!
Beet salad from a Father Turcotte family
I am so happy that the community took care of this garden. I had people come up to me and speak to me about it while I was there. An elderly woman visits the garden often and waters some of her own plants. She is a pleasure to speak with. I cannot wait to see what this year holds as we try out new gardening techniques. Thank you to everyone who has supported the garden by visiting it, sharing it on social media, and just going to the park and enjoying it to show that it is a public space.
Well, it is now September and planting day was about 2 months ago. It was an amazing day. The children were really excited to finally be planting their seedlings.
I carefully went outside before they came out and labeled the garden boxes with chalk to show them where to plant. Two months later it is obvious the excitement got to them and they planted wherever they wanted to :).
Some of the children were very apprehensive. They didn’t know how deep to dig the hole, how to get the plant out of the container, or how to plant it without getting their hands dirty. Quickly they learned that getting dirty was part of the program. With that caution out of the way they really opened up and started having fun with it. There were about 30 kids of varying ages working together to put their seedlings in the earth.
After the recess bell rang, there was still a lot of planting to be done. Some students graciously offered to be late for their end of the school year festivities and continue to help me plant. Together we made sure the potatoes were safely tucked into their tire planters.
The school year ended quickly after and I was very scared the garden wasn’t going to succeed. Vandalism, poor weather, lack of volunteers. These were all challenges the garden had going against it. The next post will outline what happened over July and August.
**please bear with me as I am trying a new app to make these posts. We received our iPad minis that are going to be used in the garden and I am hopeful that students will be able to write future entries. I am currently trying to figure out how to post photos with the entries. 🙂 I think I got it to add one photo. I will pursue gallery as an option. Thanks again for your patience while we are learning.
It is hard to believe this day has finally come! Tomorrow afternoon we will be planting our seedlings in our garden boxes! Jillian from the RMWB helped me plan out what grows well with what and we are almost set.
Here are some photos of the plans. Please forgive my lack of design skills 🙂
Layout and the plans for what will be in each garden box
I am really excited to work with members of our Garden Club. We hope you will drop by and check the progress of the garden over the summer! Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post!!
We are very excited that our Garden Boxes have found their permanent home in our green space. We are delighted with the new placement; moving away from a farm-row structure, to a more inviting, moving space that can grow with the dreams of our students and community.
The planting should commence in the next few days, luckily before the students head away for summer vacation! We are planning to plant: carrots, beets, spinach, pumpkins, squash, peas, cucumbers, tomatoes, and potatoes. We might find some other items growing as well.
Currently, I (Mrs Doleman) am writing this blog, but I am very hopeful in September that we will begin getting student voices and perspectives on the projects happening on here instead. It will be amazing to be able to show the cross-curricular learning that comes from this project! Stay tuned for photos and documentation of our planting day!
Thanks for reading!