Ashby elementary students harvest from own gardenPublished 9:39am Wednesday, November 9, 2011 Updated 11:40am Wednesday, November 9, 2011
The harvest is wrapping up for most farmers. This includes the “little farmers” in Ashby Elementary School. Ashby kindergarten, first, and second graders did a little farming of their own this year.
Last spring and summer they, along with their teachers, planted a variety of vegetables, herbs, flowers and other plants to use this fall as part of their curriculum.
All summer long the teachers Cindy Welch (kindergarten), Jeremy Knick (first grade) and Carol Koefod (second grade) put in countless hours tending to the gardens to make sure they had a good crop to use this fall.
“Well, this fall they were able to see the fruits of their labors,” said Pete Remboldt, K-12 principal, Ashby Public Schools.
The kindergartners planted a variety of squash, gourds, pumpkin and maize. They were able to use the pumpkins, along with help from the Sustainable Ag class, by harvesting the seeds for roasting and painting the pumpkins for some Halloween fun.
The hope is that next year they will be able to use the pumpkins to make pumpkin pie for their Thanksgiving celebration. They will also use the gourds and squash as decorations for their Thanksgiving celebration.
Spaghetti squash from the garden was served to the students for lunch as well.
“What a great way to give students an opportunity to try something new and locally grown in the school cafeteria,” said Remboldt.
In the classroom the students were able to use the different things they harvested as a topic for journaling. They wrote about the different aspects of pumpkins and squash from color and shape to taste and texture. They will also be able to use their harvest to talk about math in different aspects of counting, measuring and adding.
First graders planted herbs, onions and cucumbers along with a variety of other plants. They used the herbs, onions and cucumbers to make refrigerator pickles. Students also used the other plants to attract butterflies so they could study the different stages of the butterfly.
One of the plants that butterflies like is milkweed. Transplanting milkweed proved difficult but they were successful. They had many butterflies to study.
The students were able to use mathematics when counting the number of pickles in each container. They layed the groundwork for things like volume and collecting data on the life cycle of the butterflies. They were also able to journal about what stages the butterflies were going through and discover the different signs of an upcoming change in the butterflies.
Second graders planted three different types of tomatoes, seven varieties of peppers, nine varieties of tomatoes and a variety of herbs. The students learned how to harvest the different items so as not to damage them.
They were able to taste test the different varieties of onions, peppers, and tomatoes separately.
They recorded their different views of the things they tasted in a journal.
“Students were able to learn about descriptive writing to differentiate between the varieties,” said Remboldt. “They also made graphs about the favorite varieties of the students in the class. Then they combined the ingredients to make salsa.”
Students then compared the taste of the ingredients together with what they tasted like separately. They also compared their fresh salsa with store bought, processed salsa.
“What a wonderful way to teach our children valuable lessons about the food they eat and where it comes from, life cycles and sustainability,” said Remboldt. “It also teaches the importance of agriculture in our community.”
Plans for next spring and summer’s planting are already in the works. “We’re hoping to expand our gardens and create more learning experiences for our students,” said Remboldt. “With the addition of a high tunnel in our Sustainable Ag class, we will hopefully will add more opportunities to get fresh, locally grown foods into our school lunches as well.”