The after-school LINC program at Gladstone Elementary School has been enjoying a bountiful fall harvest!
Earlier this season children planted kale, broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, collard greens, spinach, mustard greens, and beets in their raised bed garden plots and eagerly awaited picking the maturing crops.
Two months later, students harvested enough lettuce, spinach, and radishes from two 4’X12’ raised beds to make smoothies and salads for the entire group! LINC staff helped the children wash and prepare the radishes and lettuce for salads, and added the spinach to smoothies with strawberries, bananas, yogurt, cinnamon, and honey. When I asked students how the smoothies tasted, one excitedly exclaimed, “these taste better than McDonalds!” Another student who was on her third smoothie said that if her parents made these for her at home she would eat smoothies every day.
A few weeks later, the garden was still producing abundantly and the children once again filled their harvest bags full of lettuce and spinach, this time to bring home to their families. As we worked to thin out the beets, students were given the opportunity to sample the micro beet greens, and were pleasantly surprised at their mild, spinach-like flavor.
Brett Campbell, the Education Program Associate for the University of Missouri Extension, oversees the garden project at Gladstone and brings a group of 25 Kindergarten- 2nd grade students to weed, water, and mulch during the week. We are grateful for his support and leadership! As the season comes to a close, the Schoolyard Gardens staff is looking forward to planning a harvest party at Gladstone to celebrate the remainder of the fall harvest and try out new recipes.