What's growing in the school gardens?
Updated: May 18, 2022
For the last two growing seasons we have not been able to be in the gardens with the children so we are excited to be planning in person programs for the children and after what felt like the longest winter Green Thumbs is excited just to be getting back into the gardens, preparing them and starting to plant the gardens at our 3 partnering schools for this growing season.
Rebecca Davis, our Urban Agriculture Specialist has been making plans all designed to tease the imaginations of our young gardeners. Seeds are now getting a head start in the greenhouses at Regent Park and Allan Gardens.
The children will help with the planting so that they have an opportunity to see the young plants and learn about the roots as well as to help them to recognize the plants as they grow.
Beyond the many expected varieties of lettuces and kales, Rebecca has chosen others to be intriguing for the children. There will be small ball shaped carrots, red heirloom carrots, Bumble Bee cherry tomatoes, purple tomatoes, Moon and Stars Watermelons, Mad Hatter peppers, small sweet cucamelons, a very small sweet melon-like cucumber, and more. She explained that the small colourful vegetables are fun for young eyes and easier for small hands to harvest.
And then there is heritage corn! Three inch ears of Strawberry Corn for popping and Glass Gem for a cookout in the Winchester Firepit.
Most of the plants she has chosen will grow to a child’s eye level and have been chosen for their appealing colours and shapes. Not just the vegetables but the Bee Balm, Dwarf Sunflowers, Coreopsis, Nasturtiums, and marigolds; all flowers which will attract the pollinators. Some of the edible flowers like borage, nasturtium and squash flowers will find their way into salads for in-garden lunches which the children will help to prepare after harvesting and washing the vegetables.
A very important focus will be on the flowers that the plants produce which become the fruit when pollinated. Pollination is a critical teaching moment allowing Rebecca to explain the importance of bees and other pollinating insects as they watch the vegetables and fruit grow.
For extra fun the kids are making wildflower bombs with donated wildflower seeds and mud to toss into neglected corners of our community. If you see clumps of wildflowers later in the season, growing in unexpected places, you will know that little Green Thumbs have been doing some guerrilla gardening...
Green Thumbs Growing Kids (GTGK) is a local charity actively creating and managing school gardens in this community connecting children to food and their environment. Gardens at Sprucecourt Jr. PS, Winchester Jr. & Sr. PS and Rose Avenue PS are managed by Green Thumbs. We also support gardening projects at Nelson Mandela Park PS.
Green Thumbs is engaging the minds and imaginations of children in hands on garden and food education in our school gardens and depends on funding from members of the community and friends of the gardens. Please donate if you can.