School Garden Grows Organic Vegetables
By Corey Grisson
The Patterson School Garden was started in 2011 by three staff members: Diane Snyder, school social worker, Susan Steigner, school social worker, and Monica Broere, art teacher. They built three raised beds for vegetables and a pollinator bed for flowers that will attract insects that will carry pollen from plant to plant. Hollins Organic soil was delivered and dumped into the beds. The garden is located behind the Academy of Engineering inside a fenced-in area.
The purpose of the garden is to:
- To grow organic vegetables
- To teach students about gardening
- To provide service learning hours for students
The garden was started with a grant from the Baltimore Office of Sustainability. The amount of the grant was $1000 and was used to purchase soil, plants,seeds, materials like ground covering, and watering equipment, like hoses and nozzles. Visits were made to CGRN (Community Greening Network) and Baltimore Great Kids Farm to obtain sweet potatoes, onions, and a sprinkler system. In the spring of 2012 onions, broccoli rabe, radishes, sweet peas, and Swiss chard were planted and harvested. The early summer planting grew tomatoes, corn, zucchini, more onions, more Swiss chard, and sweet potatoes. The garden has been cleaned out and made ready for growing lettuces and rye from seed. The garden staff have sold the vegetables to Patterson high school staff for several weeks in the spring, summer, and early fall.
In order to grow enough vegetables for student consumption more grow space is needed, such as a hoophouse and more raised beds. Another grant application has been submitted to Lowes for a hoophouse and hopes are high that the grant will be given to Patterson. Meanwhile students help the Garden staff every Monday after school and earn service learning hours for clearing the garden, planting seeds, and digging out the area around the beds so paving stones can be laid.
This is terrific! I’m so glad Ms. Broere and Company finally got to do the garden. And what a great opportunity for the students! THAT is REAL service learning! 🙂