Danélle Cutting: School gardens are so much fun

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 18, 2016

This 80-degree weather has been brutal, not in the temperature sense but making everyone want to get out and garden.

Of course I love that everyone wants to garden, but it does make me have more work. One of my favorite tasks is working with the local school gardens. Recently I enjoyed working with the Morgan Elementary Pre-K class.

This will be the second year that we have gardened at Morgan Elementary and this class has only one raised bed to garden in, but boy does it provide enough for this group.

Last year we planted lettuces and beets and in the summer we planted some cover crops and interesting items such as cotton and gourds.

Many of the students have gardened before but some have never seen seeds or a vegetable garden. Unfortunately, some think that fruits and vegetables come from the grocery store, but having their own personal garden bed helps teach the students many different subjects.

Even though it is Pre-K, the students learn about colors, shapes, sizes, soils, pests, weeds, beneficial insects, how to harvest and the list goes on.

Last week the students learned about and planted seed tape (growing small seeds like onions on a paper tape roll), cilantro, carrots and lettuce.

At each session, the students will help me weed, control pests and search for beneficial insects. With good luck and hopefully having good weather we will be harvesting these goodies in no time.

My goal for these school gardens is that I will instill agricultural knowledge into the students and maybe one day they will help save the world from hunger, develop the best sweet potato or help the farmers become more profitable. I remember gardening with my family growing up and those were some of my most cherished moments; I hope these students will feel the same.

If you are interested in the Pre-K class at Morgan Elementary, they are starting to take applications for their program, you can contact the school at 704-636-0169 and speak with Kerry Gardner to sign your child up and hopefully, we will be gardening with your child soon.

If you would like to learn more about gardening, gardening with children or information on raised beds, contact your local Cooperative Extension agent, Danelle Cutting at 704-216-8970 or email her at danelle_cutting@ncsu.edu.