This summer, Lakeview Elementary School managed to finish a drip line irrigation system for raised garden beds, as well as a butterfly garden. They also planted three new types of tree, including three types of avocados, Keitt mango, Ice Cream banana, goji berries and blueberry bushes. The school is incredibly grateful for Lucas Tuff, who worked hard on these gardens as part of his Eagle Scout project. Lucas not only elevated the raised beds, he also added two benches for each one.
The Lakeview garden options are now complete with aquaponics (thanks to Mrs. Torres), hydroponics, a garden tower, an orchard, raised beds, in-ground gardening and worm composting. Over the summer, workers built a mobile kitchen cart to assist with classroom cooking demonstrations. Thanks to all the families who donated kitchen appliances and tools to help fill the cart!
This year, the plan is to reach out to all students to involve them in starting produce from seed, and tending to it until harvest, culminating with a simple cooking demonstration.
Last year, before the end of school, Lakeview planted heirloom rainbow tomatoes and strawberry popcorn corn. They then harvested the popcorn cobs, and dried it for months over the summer. This September, several classes have already been able to remove the corn from the cob and air pop the popcorn in class.
Lakeview also introduced several classes to the guava fruit, making delicious smoothies. All recipes are documented, and will be shared with other garden class representatives to repeat in their own classrooms.
The kindergarten sandbox garden has also been replanted. Because of the sandy soil, it will be turned into a citrus and succulent area with milkweed and passion fruit vines. The garden tower in the Kinder-Garden area will house up to 50 different vegetables in much richer soil, which is more appropriate for vegetables and fruits.
A new aquaponics (a fish tank using produce to create a natural balance) unit in Lakeview’s library. Mrs. Torres has already planted cilantro, basil (including lemon, lime, sweet Thai and Emily) and Tom Thumb lettuce. Additionally, kindergarten classes started herbs in hydroponics units, and have grown basil, Thai basil, dill, parsley, mint, cilantro and chives. The children will soon use the herbs to make basil hummus.
Finally, Lakeview plans to teach children about worm composting, or turning “trash” into fresh castings for the plants. Ms. Goyette, Mrs. Thompson and childcare staff are all experimenting with red worm composting. Did you know that, in ideal conditions, a composting worm may eat up to its own weight each day? For example, two pounds of worms can eat two pounds of food each day – half of it in food scraps and half of it in bedding, such as paper and cardboard that the school recycles on campus.
Lakeview hopes to involve all classrooms with planting and harvesting a rare fruit or vegetable, one not normally found in a grocery store, and then tasting the fresh produce in class.
If you’re interested in getting involved with any of these rewarding activities, contact Vivian Chern at firstname.lastname@example.org. Lakeview would love to include you!