Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The 5th grade students at Spooner Middle School enjoyed a hands on lesson all about worms. The students will be raising red wiggler worms in the classroom over the following spring. During that time they will be collecting food waste from the lunch room to feed the worms. As the ground thaws and the garden is ready to plant the students will brew up some worm tea to feed the plants. Once the fertilizer is created it will be applied to the graden, helping us grow even more plentiful vegetables this summer.

The students had a fun time exploring the role that worms play in decomposing our waste. They built small worm habitats, adding soil, bedding, and food. The small habitats created a wonderful environment for the students to learn further about worms by touching and feeling them. Some students went so far as to give their worm a name...

Friday, February 3, 2012

First Planting of the Year

On Wednesday, February 1, the 1st grade student from Spooner Elementary began planting lettuce. Thanks to the assistance of our wonderful Master Gardener Volunteers the students learned how to plant seeds. The students got a chance to feel the soil and to observe the process of planting. They saw how seeds, soil, and materials can be purchased to plant at home. They also learned how deep to plant the seeds, when they need to be planted, and how many days it takes for the plants to mature.

The students planted two different varieties of lettuce, both green and red lettuce. The seeds were planted in flats placed in the grow cart at the elementary school, this will allow the students the ability to continually view the plants as they grow. It will take approximately 35-40 days for the lettuce to fully mature. This is a little shorter than if it were planted outside, since we can optimize the growing conditions indoors. Once the lettuce has fully matured the students will harvest the lettuce to make a salad, which they can all share. This way the students play a significant role in the planting, growing, and harvesting of the leafy vegetables.

Leafy vegetables are important because they have the highest amount of nutrition per calorie of any vegetable. They are an excellent source of Vitamin A, beta-carotene, as the lettuce leafs are a storehouse for the plants photochemicals. Leafy greens are also a rich source of vitamin K, which plays an important role in bone health. This is why it has been suggested from many health groups to have a salad of leafy vegetables with each meal.