Harder Student Farmers

Harder Elementary enjoy a spaciously established central garden area, a lovely garden space that occupies the grounds in between the main school wings.   Within the garden are fruit trees, flowering trees, flowers, shrubs, raised beds, an outdoor classroom, a greenhouse, picnic tables and two sitting spots.  Our Garden Committee works to maintain the garden and encourage classroom participation by adopting a planting bed or other space. 

Room 2 students cheered at the prospect of an outdoors learning experience and fresh vegetables to take home to their families.  A quick poll revealed that everyone eats radishes.  Radishes went to the top of the seed planting list.  First graders like their own space.  So during math we worked out how to divide the planting bed into rectangles one to a student.   We created 40 plots.  Thirty-one assigned to students.  Each student has a plot ten inches by nine and half inches. The broccoli and peas occupy six.  Two of the existing broccoli plants were trimmed back and the remaining removed to make room for student plots.  On both sides of the broccoli we planted pea seedlings climbing on tomato baskets.  The empty plots are used for planting demonstrations.  

The assigning of plots came next.  Students walked around deciding where they fit.  In the middle, plots were picked by arm length.  Students with long arms leaned across the bed to determine which plot they could reach. 

During writing we designed a planting scheme and wrote 'How to plant Radishes'.   Lastly, students decided to plant a head of lettuce, a row of radishes and a row of carrots.  Arranging all within their plot to allow for plant growth and avoid overcrowding. 

Now we wait anxious farmers.  

By Mary Jenkins-Parish, Teacher