If you looked at my Google search history, you would think I am a very confused gardener. Recent searches include: “tomato plant pruning” and “recipes with fresh basil”. Who worries about gardening when the temperature outside drops below ten degrees? People who teach students in a greenhouse, that’s who!
Once a month, seventh grade science students visit the space, caring for the vegetables and learning about food production and personal health along the way. To date, our basil and parsley plants are flourishing! Our tomatoes, however, have yet to bear any fruit, and it’s too soon to tell if they will. One of the hardest parts of gardening, for me, is the uncertainty. Things often don’t turn out as planned, just like life! It’s a great study in patience.
Sadly, uncooperative tomatoes are not the only issue plaguing the greenhouse. Attendance at my after school garden club has been dwindling. There are so many activities for junior high students to choose from after the last bell rings. From root beer brewing to automotive club, garden club had a nearly impossible time recruiting a steady stream of volunteers. Barb Winters-Kelly gave me the fabulous idea of using elementary school students when no middle-schoolers were available. The idea worked like a charm! Three girls from East Elementary had a blast working in the greenhouse. They harvested basil, snipped parsley, pruned tomatoes, and watered. It was their first experience in the greenhouse, and they cannot wait to go back!