Students celebrate their year of gardening

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 10, 2016

By Miranda Miller-Wojcik

and Karen Perez-Perez

Cooperative Extension

SALISBURY — As the school year quickly comes to an end, kindergarten students of Starr Atwell’s class at Millbridge Elementary School anxiously await the arrival of a favorite guest, Danélle Cutting. After what seemed like an eternal wait, Monday was finally the day they would get to harvest the crops that they had planted with much hard work earlier in the year.

Cutting, local foods agent for Rowan Cooperative Extension, had been working side by side with these energetic 5- and 6-year-olds to teach them a little bit about the gardening world, and just what it really takes to grow those vegetables that they all love so much. Also with Cutting were three interns from Rowan County Extension, Jessica Resor, Karen Perez-Perez and Miranda Miller-Wojcik.

While waiting for the students to finish their morning snack, everyone started talking about their life plans and goals, but then it was finally time for the fun to begin. Students enthusiastically began the trek outside to where their raised gardens were located.

Once outside, they were split into two groups so they could easily gather their vegetables. Taking turns harvesting different vegetables, the groups collected sweet peas, radishes, onions and carrots. Unfortunately, there was not much for the students to eat off of the carrots, but to make up for this, Cutting pulled up two lettuces for them to try, as well. The potatoes will not be ready for harvest until the fall, but Cutting dug around one of the potato plants for the students to see what a growing, baby potato looks like.

Once all of their crops had been gathered, the students went back inside to wash their hands, anticipating the rewards of their labor and patience.

After washing and cutting the vegetables, the interns passed out pieces of the vegetables for the eager kindergartners to taste, some preferring some vegetables over others. To tie all of Cutting’s lessons together, the students wrote down their favorite vegetable they tried, and they also got to draw a picture of what their “perfect garden” would look like.

As the class began to work intently on their drawings, the interns walked around and looked for their favorite ones. When time was up and the students were finished, it was time for the gardening lesson to end. As a big thank you, the students and Atwell gave Cutting a fresh pound cake and a beautiful thank-you card.

The students were very happy to get to harvest their own vegetables, and they could hardly wait for next year.

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