They learned a lot and noticed many interesting phenomena in the garden. Students studied seeds, the many ways they grow, and they got hands on experience saving seeds during harvest time. They also harvested and experimented with a special seed/grain, Amaranth.
They noticed many of the insects and animals in the garden and the ways that these animals interact with nature, and how much the natural world depends on them. Students were very excited to observe a special guest, Speckles the hen, as she pecked, scratched, fertilized, and ate in the garden. This experience highlighted many of these interconnections between plants, animals, microbes, and insects.
Students studied soil and practiced the basics of making good compost. They measured seedlings as they grew and noticed the stages they went through. Students also learned about perennial plants and all of their benefits. They studied one in particular named comfrey and learned how it captured nutrients, suppressed weeds, and worked symbiotically with insects.
Students also put their muscles to work raking, mulching, maintaining tools, weeding garden beds, and building hoop houses for 4-season gardening.
They also used tools to build some wonderful storage shelves for our sweet potatoes. As it became colder they carefully put the beds to rest using fallen leaves and learned how layering in this way protects and enhances the soil ecology.
Students tasted herbs (stevia was a big hit,) persimmon, peppers, spinach, kale, purple leaf mustard, radishes, lettuces, turnips, okra, ground cherries, swiss chard and popped amaranth and corn kernels. In addition to all of these fresh foods they also experimented with frying okra, making pesto, making sweet potato fries and soup, pumpkin butter, and gypsy soup.