There might have been snow on the ground and temperatures well below zero but Grade 5 students at MC Knoll School were still busy harvesting their garden last week.
Teacher Susan Muir explained that back in the spring she applied to have her class be part of the Little Green Thumbs program administered to Agriculture in the Classroom.
“I found out in later summer I was accepted,” she said, adding in September she attended a one-day workshop about the program.
The workshop gave Muir the basics to help her students establish an indoor garden, complete with worms to compost soil, and special lighting to help the plants grow.
The result is a rather diverse garden with lettuce, kale, purple and green beans, peas, Tiny Tim tomatoes, cucumbers, basil and other herbs and sprouts all being grown.
“Every day six kids are our daily gardeners,” said Muir, explaining they have to feed the worms, water the plants and do other chores associated with the garden.
On a regular basis the entire class visits the garden to keep up on what is happening, with part of the process to keep a journal, said Muir.
“They’re doing a lot of writing,” she said.
In many cases Muir said the students are doing research into what they are growing, such as details on the hybrid lettuce, and what makes it unique from an indoor garden.
Muir said the program to-date has been an excellent teaching tool, culminating at this point with a salad lunch last week from what has been gown.
But Muir said she can see bigger benefits ahead.
“They’re (the students) really excited about having their own gardens in the spring,” she said, adding if they begin growing at least some of their own food it will be a big step in appreciating food production.
With that in mind Muir said they want to eventually see the school have its own active outdoor garden, adding the tomatoes from their indoor garden might be the start of that being transferred outside in spring.
More immediate Muir said the students will plant flowers after the seasonal break with an eye to them being a Mother’s Day gift.