It’s been a wonderfuly busy and exciting opening to the new school year with all classes from kindergarten to grade six coming to the School Farm. Each class has walked into the garden with great enthusiasm for all the changes they can see in the garden since they left in June, and of course, for all the fresh garden nibbles available. Many feet have quickly taken off to explore the scarlet runner bean teepees! Two tall green teepees with room to sit and eat a fresh garden nibble with a friend or open a bean pod and find magic black and purple beans inside.
Grade one students have been noticing which part of the plants they eat: roots, stems, flowers, seeds. We’ve walked through the garden and collected a rainbow array of plants to eat and then noticed which part we’re eating. Rainbow colors, and delicious crunching were the order of the day. The carrot beds are also ready and waiting for the children to pull fresh orange goodness out of the ground to munch, which they happily do.
The cove beds are being tended by our grade two students again this year. The buckwheat cover crop planted in June has matured and grown into a thick crop that will decompose over the winter and build the soil for planting in the spring. The students have been working on chopping up the buckwheat and turning it into the cove beds.
All classes have taken part in remembering the season in the garden by noticing what the plants are busy doing, particularly the flowers. Grades one, two and three have walked around the garden noticing all the flowers still in bloom. They’ve had the chance to draw their favorites and then use the flower petals to color in their drawings. Happy exclamations and some very fun drawings were taken home by the students.
A variety of plants are producing seeds now and the students have taken the opportunity to explore the garden in search of seeds hiding in the dead looking flowers. They were successful in their search and many patient minutes were spent examining the seeds with magnifying glasses and then sorting and saving the seeds. Look for student designed seed packets to come home soon.
Studying plant reproduction is a topic that fits nicely into the autumn garden landscape, along with seed collecting, and grades five and six students had the opportunity to dissect flowers and draw and label all the parts.
Grade three students have completed the cycle of growing and harvesting by finally opening the dry beans they planed last spring. They tirelessly opened and sorted the Rockwell and Orca beans into big bowls.
Grade 5 and 6 science classes have used the garden as their science laboratory this fall. They’ve done experiments in Buoyancy to find out if weight affects buoyancy. Some of their findings were surprising, and everyone seemed to enjoy the process of finding out which vegetable would float and thinking about why a 1 ounce cherry tomatoes sinks while a 8 pound pumpkin floats!
There is no shortage of things to do in the garden. One student exclaimed, ‘This is my dream place!’ That’s a vote of confidence that tells us the students feel like the garden is theirs and they’re right. Plenty to do and plenty to eat, what could be better?