It’s been a busy spring for Schoolyard Gardens! In March, over 160 schools planted spring crops. While the first day of planting the garden is exciting and full of hope, the real joys—and sometimes frustrations—happens during the following eight weeks. Students, teachers and even our Schoolyards Gardens staff watch as our tending and hard work in the garden begin to pay off!
As we go from school to school, we help ensure the garden is in the best shape possible to have a productive harvest, but there is only so much we can do! This spring has been perfect for cool-season crops. With April’s plentiful rain, our gardens were well watered. And with the warm weather and sunshine-filled days in early May, our gardens were right on time to harvest as schools closed this past week. Throughout the spring, students worked in the garden as much as the rain would allow, weeding, watering and looking for worms and caterpillars.
It’s always exciting to watch the garden progress from tiny seeds, to sprouts above the ground, to plants that resemble vegetables we recognize, to finally being able to harvest. Lettuce and radishes rarely disappoint and are often the first vegetables ready to harvest. As the school year comes to a close, broccoli, carrots and peas like to wait until the last week of school to be mature enough to harvest, but they are well worth the wait!
While planting the garden is always fun, the best days to be a Schoolyard Gardener are in the last two weeks of the school year. Our staff has helped nearly 100 of our schools harvest their spring crops and plant summer crops. We’ve had the privilege of watching students try raw radishes, rip off lettuce and kale leaves and eat them, and to dig deep in the ground for potatoes. Students have filled produce bags to the brim to take home for their families, and they have told us honestly what they think of the vegetables. Our schools have grown so much food! And more than that, they know that they have accomplished something so great, and they take pride in that! Their smiles say it all.
When out at schools, we try and capture photos of the students trying fresh vegetables, or filling bags of food and tagging them with the hashtag #igrewthis. It’s been so fun to share these photos with the wider community. Join our students in our efforts. Share your images of your vegetable triumphs on social media with #igrewthis as your hashtag.