Now that the trees have gone nearly bare and lightly freezing temperatures are settling in, it’s time for a Fall Learning Garden recap! Our students have had so much fun learning about plants, taking care of their gardens, and trying out new tasty fruits and veggies!
During our 12-week Fall session, so far we have taught OVER 700 lessons during the school day as well as after school! During the school day, we focus on relating our garden lessons to the standards taught in school, so the content differs slightly depending on which grade level we are working with. Some lessons revolve around learning the parts and needs of a plant, the History of Agriculture in VA, and weather patterns. However, during the out-of-school time, we are able to be a bit more flexible, including more movement games and time to play, in addition to more tastings!
Students who were a part of our elementary Garden Clubs this year were also given the opportunity to take home a grow bag so that they could enjoy growing at home and school! Clubbers chose from a selection of fall seedlings and seeds such as kale, collards, lettuce, radishes, and carrots and then planted a variety in their bags. During the lesson, they learned about companion planting, which is when we plant different types of plants that like to grow together so that they can help support each other and we can grow more food. This is just one example of how the garden can reflect students’ lives-we can all use more friends to help us grow! In the end, we distributed 83 grow bags to garden club students!
The last, and arguably most important part, of our Learning Garden program are the TASTINGS provided to students! All students who engage with the Learning Garden are encouraged to try fresh fruits and veggies straight from the garden, and also participate in facilitated tastings to try new dishes such as our Awesome Autumn salad which included sweet potatoes, zucchini, corn, and sugar snap peas. Students have often not tried these foods before and are usually so excited to try something new in the garden! Some favorite new foods have been: pomegranate seeds, pac choi, and even black beans!
Be sure to visit one of our gardens if you can, there will still be veggies growing during the winter! Although the season is winding down for now, we look forward to an easy winter’s rest so that we can start again with Learning Garden lessons in the spring!
Thank you to our volunteers who helped to fill grow bags and transplanted seedlings all season long!
Another HUGE THANK YOU to Anthem for financially supporting Learning Gardens! We couldn’t send home grow bags or facilitate as many lessons as we did without you!