Although this year’s gardens had only limited success, we have two achievements we can be proud of.
Most importantly, the children became interested in agriculture and took some of the seeds home to plant in their own gardens. They grew Chinese cabbage, watermelon, cabbage, carrots and tomatoes. These were mostly vegetables that the kids had not previously been familiar with, and introducing them to their families has significantly increased the range of nutrients available to them. The kids enjoyed the process of watching seeds grow into food, and are perhaps one step closing to considering agriculture as a career when they grow up.
Almost as important was the opportunity they had to learn about the importance of fertilizing the soil, either with manure or with compost. Although the children did not bring manure produced by their farm animals at home (not an easy task!), they did learn what a difference it can make to a site’s productivity. And they learned how, when manure is not available, they can build a compost pile from brush and weeds, which is what they will be using for next year’s gardens.
We have new volunteers coming next fall, and with their help, and the knowledge we gained this year, we look forward to productive and inspiring gardens that will feed much of the community in which the schools are located.