The Middle School Garden
Scroll down to view a slideshow of the garden throughout the seasons.
The garden began in September 2007, when students built the first raised beds out of discarded honey bee boxes. The first seeds (snap peas) were planted by families at the Middle School opening picnic. Within the first week of classes, all 7th graders had planted seeds for cool weather crops that would mature in less than 60 days.
Our Salad Celebration at the end of October was a huge success, featuring a variety of new and familiar salad greens, flavorful carrots, robust red radishes, and a choice of two dressings made from our garden herbs by the students under the direction Rob Watson, parent and owner of the Lone Wolf restaurant in Amherst. Students were impressed by the quantity of produce they harvested compared to the small size of the original seeds. Some had a new revelation: salad can be tasty and homegrown carrots are much better than store-bought ones.
The success of this first garden encouraged further development. Mrs. Whipple’s math classes made scale drawings of garden designs. Planning groups met after school during the winter to order seeds, purchase lumber, and construct frames for six more raised beds. The planting area grew from 16 square feet to close to 160 square feet. This a manageable size given the current student time allotted, though as more groups get involved, the garden may be moved and enlarged.
The garden helps students connect with many curriculum concepts including the needs of living things; seed germination; plant and animal life cycles; nutrient cycles; biotic and abiotic interactions; measurement; data collection and analysis; problem solving; and concepts of ecology, sustainability, environmental issues, and global connections.