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How does your garden grow? Sacred Heart enjoys the harvest

Salad, anyone?

Randy Cox, a Master Gardener who runs the 4-H club at Sacred Heart Catholic School, helps a student get salad dressing for his side salad — which was grown in the school garden. Rebecca Rider/Salisbury Post

Randy Cox, a Master Gardener who runs the 4-H club at Sacred Heart Catholic School, helps a student get salad dressing for his side salad — which was grown in the school garden. Rebecca Rider/Salisbury Post

By Rebecca Rider
rebecca.rider@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — Students from Sacred Heart Catholic School are enjoying the fruits of their labors. After months of waiting and patient work, produce from the school garden has made it into the lunchroom. Last week, students dug into salads featuring lettuce and radishes grown by fellow students.

“We have been harvesting all week,” Robin Fisher, director of marketing and communications for the school, said.

The garden, run by the school’s own 4-H club, is but one feature of a school striving to be greener. Principal Frank Cardelle said the school has applied for an N.C. Green School certificate, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and STREAM (science, technology, religion, engineering, agriculture and math) certifications.

Students started working in the garden four years ago under the watchful eye of Randy Cox, a Master Gardener who is partnering with the school. It started as two simple beds, but has expanded to one bed per class, as well as a bioshelter featuring insulation, heated beds and, in the future, solar power. The shelter will allow students to grow and enjoy vegetables during the colder months that take up a large chunk of the school year.

“Gardening is becoming a lost art,” Fisher said. “I’m so excited that we’re teaching children that you don’t just go to a grocery store to get your fruit and vegetables.”

The garden area also features an outdoor classroom, and Cox has plans to plant apple trees on the slope of a nearby hill. Students have also planted blackberry and blueberry bushes.

Randy Cox, a Master Gardener who runs Sacred Heart's 4-H Club, dishes out salad during lunch Friday. The lettuce and many of the salad toppings were grown by students. Rebecca Rider/Salisbury Post

Randy Cox, a Master Gardener who runs Sacred Heart’s 4-H Club, dishes out salad during lunch Friday. The lettuce and many of the salad toppings were grown by students. Rebecca Rider/Salisbury Post

Cox has developed a whole curriculum to fit the school’s agriculture component, which includes the importance of planning a garden, fostering seeds and lessons about soil. He tries to “give the kids as much hands on as we can.”

Cox said he hopes to use the bioshelter to foster seedlings to sell as a school fundraiser.

“So this is going to be a big benefit to the curriculum,” he said.

Sacred Heart has recently added an outdoor classroom on its nature trail and is working on building up sensory and pollinator gardens for students to explore, and Fisher and Cox say that they have plans to add an apiary.

Contact reporter Rebecca Rider at 704-797-4264. 

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