On Thursday, I drove to Lime Springs (36 miles west of Decorah) and helped the second graders plant radishes in the school’s two raised beds. I also helped the first graders and kindergarteners plant spinach. This was my first planting of the season- I was so excited to get back into gardening!
The second grade teacher had no experience with gardening, so I led the students outside and explained that the first thing we needed to do was till up the soil. All of the dirt had gotten really compact over the winter months. We only had one hand rake, so the teacher used the rake while the students and I used our hands to loosen up the dirt. While we were digging around, a couple of the students found worms. Surprisingly, they were so excited about the worms! I explained to them that worms are good for the soil, and this made them even more excited about finding worms as we continued to dig.
When the soil was loose enough to begin planting, I explained to the students the process of germination and how to use their fingers to dig a small hole for the seed. We planted two rows of radish seeds, and almost immediately after we finished a light rain began to fall. It was perfect!
The school didn’t have garden gloves, so we all dug and planted with our bare hands. A few of the girls told me that they were sad because the mud had caked onto their freshly painted fingernails. I told them it was okay because the garden was giving us mud manicures! They laughed and after they were done planting, the girls told the first graders and kindergartners about their cool mud manicures!
The kindergartners and first graders didn’t finish planting the spinach seeds because the rain. I’m going back to Lime Springs tomorrow to do a nutrition lesson on spinach and plant the rest of the seeds.