Friday, September 14, 2018

Garden Club at Prince Elementary School

I'd say we were oversubscribed, but I was thrilled with the turnout.
I went in with a flexible lesson plan in mind; forty some kindergarteners sent that flying. There was no way they were going to make name tags; they wanted to garden.  So, I regrouped.

I went over the rules :
Be Kind  (Obviously.)
No Shoes on the Raised Beds. (Do you want people walking on your bed with their shoes?) 
No climbing on or over the fence.  (Grandma will get in trouble if you do that, and I don't want trouble).

Then I set them to weeding the entire garden area. 
Their enthusiasm was delicious, but there were so many of them that taking pictures was impossible.  I was the only grown up, and I had to admire the collections of tiny leaves and small stones and sticks presented to me by many many many proud, little hands.  

The bigger kids came in the next wave.  There were just as many of them, and they were bigger. They took up more space, and made more noise.  But they were eager to learn, so we took a tour of the irrigation system, following the indentation left from the trenching.
UofA volunteers covering the trench containing the main irrigation line
It was a treasure hunt, ending where it all began, with connections and roaches and my voice calmly saying that they were all living creatures but no, I was not going to pick one up so they could see.
The hole beside the box was filled in when the system was installed, well before the kids gathered there..
We walked the main line back to the drip lines
 in the raised beds
They were less enthusiastic weeders than their younger friends, but their collection of the bigger stones (for a cairn) is neatly organized in a specific corner.  Then, they left.

The biggest kids were respectful of the process
and strong enough to lift the bags of soil (so I didn't have to).
Some held the bag, some scooped out the soil, 
and ML, a Leader, guided her peers as they amended the beds.
The little green wagon in the foreground collects our trash.  I'd never seen such eager barrow pushers.
There are two beds in the garden, with plenty of opportunity to get your hands dirty.
 No gloves (the school does have sinks, right?), just fingers digging deep into the soil, mixing the old with the new.
They were so proud, so determined to leave it perfect 
(they are beginning gardeners.... they have time to learn the truth)
that they lightly smoothed the surface to an even plane before they left.

And then there was this bit of hilarity.
What are you doing? I wondered.  They were weeding.  
And this weed was stuck.  Really really stuck. 
So they were getting down low to pull it or break it but it was really really stuck.
Perhaps that's because it's a root.  See this tree?  This giant tree looming over the roof of the school?  
This is one of its roots.  It's connected to all that tree-ness.  It's not going anywhere.
And yet, they kept pulling.

That optimism will stand them in good stead as they learn to be desert gardeners.
Garden Club meets every Wednesday in the hour around noon.
Come and visit us, if you're in the neighborhood.
We're quite proud.


  1. You are very ambitious. I hate yard work and would be a terrible leader for any such venture. I know the kids will get so much from this and I'm glad you have the fortitude.

    1. I could not have done it without professional help from the UofA's Community and School Garden Program. They did the install, culled the 100's of seed packets and gave me a planting chart, and promise to answer all my questions. The irrigation is on a timer. I love gardening, and that helps.


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