The four youngest classes at SSE (K-3) enjoyed eight weeks of school garden activities from September-November 2022. We had fun harvesting and cooking, tending and digging, exploring and playing, reading and doing garden math, and making art and singing outdoors in the fine fall weather.
Week 1 (Sept 12-15) : Rainbow Garden Exploration
(The week of Sept 20-22 there were no garden classes due to scheduling with holiday Monday to mourn the death of Queen Elizabeth II.)
Week 2 (Sept 26-29): Picking Pumpkins & Planting Kale.
And also making massaged kale and strawberry salad and starting to paint the pumpkins for fun.
We also launched the ECO Club for grades 5-7 students on Wednesdays at lunch. They jumped right into planning for GoByBikeBC Week with the stationary bicycle blenders.
Week 3 (Oct 3-6): Painting pumpkins, a few last strawberries, + sunflower butter!
We also tried Mountain Rose apples purchased from the Salt Spring Island Apple Fest, and we got the bicycle blenders going for GoByBike week using local apple juice from Whims Farm and blackberries kids harvested over the summertime!
Week 4 (October 11-14): Peering into flowers & making bouquets thanks to Thrifty Foods.
Also, the Eco Club was able to distribute a Thanksgiving mealkit featuring SSI-grown green bean poutine and locally-grown heritage apples with pumpkin pie sugar-spice for dessert.
Week 5 (Oct 17-20): Each class also enjoyed a full-day field trip to Bullock Lake Farm, where we did native plant leaf rubbings and also harvested basil and learned to make pesto. Other farmer leaders showed how to plant garlic, make applesauce, made dried-flower bouquets, visited animals, and played games.
Week 6 (Oct 24-27): Final Pumpkin Count - all the last pumpkins were harvested, counted and began to be prepared for the all-school Pumpkin Soup lunch.
Week 7 (Oct 31-Nov 3): Halloween Pumpkin Soup Lunch! Culminating in an all-school Pumpkin Soup Lunch for 240 students plus families & teachers, made from some of the over 200 pumpkins grown in the SSE Hillside Garden over the summer. Herbed biscuits and "bloody beet" smoothies featured locally-grown produce, thanks to Polly and Nick of the SSI Agricultural Alliance's Gro-Local Campaign.
Week 8 (Nov 7-10): Clean up and winterizing the garden. Native Plant gathering space. Clean-up! In November, a new circular gathering area was constructed by Michael Nickels at Seven Ravens Permaculture at Indigenous Welcome Figure & Native Plant Garden at the south end of the Hydro Field. Moreover, local UVic student, Maya Irwin is helping design a spring Earth Day native planting and signage for this site.
Each day was rich and full, but the season seemed to speed by!
Weekend work-parties with school families here and there helped keep the gardens minimally tidied. Wwoofers who stayed with me helped a lot, too!
Come March 1st, we'll put out the Mason Bee nests, order haybales and pick up horse manure, and get growing again!
Spring 2023 will focus on composting, growing and cooking garden foods, and community connections with local farms and experts.