Growing Gardens in Canaan
In the winter of 2015-2016 it was brought to my attention that Canaan Elementary School would support the creation of a food garden. I was allowed to work with second and fourth graders to create this garden so that they could learn (first hand) how to plan a garden, use organic methods, and enjoy the fruits (and vegetables) of their labor. Another goal was to educate them on making healthy food choices.
The students began planting seeds indoors in early March under grow lights. They tended the seedlings throughout the spring, planned how to build the raised beds, set cardboard down on the walkways, mulched the walkways, built the raised beds, filled them with compost and soil, transplanted seedlings, and sowed seeds directly. They learned that straw mulch retains soil moisture and mulched the beds as well. They have been weeding, watering, observing, and even harvesting some salad greens. Students made sketches about how to direct rain water from our outdoor classroom roof (which is next to the garden) into a water collection barrel. The rain collection system is currently under construction.
Our school will host a summer recreation program and the staff has agreed to have the students tend the garden throughout the summer. Each day the cafeteria will prepare two meals and include what the children harvest.
Students have been very enthusiastic about this project and have enjoyed accomplishing a lot of work in a short time.
- Kevin Gianini, STEM Teacher