The saying, “The days are long, and the years are short” rings true to me. It’s hard to believe we are approaching one full year of living through the COVID-19 pandemic. The Schoolyard Gardens team misses working one-on-one with our schools, but we are looking forward to brighter days in the garden.
Throughout the growing season, we’ve enjoyed receiving phone calls and email updates from our teachers gardening through the pandemic. We’ve enjoyed hearing all the creative ways students and families shared garden updates and the harvest with their communities. It was the silver lining during these unfortunate times.
Special Education teacher, Ms. Parsons from Southwood Elementary in Raytown, Missouri, started gardening shortly after the school went into lockdown and continued gardening without students through the summer and fall. Curious to hear how it went, I asked a few follow up questions:
What was your reason for gardening through COVID ?
It was a good opportunity to work with my own kids on gardening as well as providing Southwood families with healthy foods from our harvest.
What were some of your favorite garden highlights or stories from the past growing season?
Some of my favorite highlights would be of course teaching my eight-year-old how to plant and harvest the garden. It was also really rewarding to be able to give our harvest to the community when there is so much need. I love watching the faces of the children receive the yummy vegetables that our garden was able to provide.
Did you learn something new about gardening?
Broccoli took a lot longer to produce in our garden than normal! We were not able to have any broccoli heads again this season before the cold weather hit but were able to harvest good leaves!
What were some of your challenges gardening through COVID? Were these challenges resolved or are you still looking for answers?
It was difficult keeping up with the 4 garden beds by myself. Even with my family’s help, it was a major undertaking! I am hoping that I will be able to receive help this spring and get students involved.
How did you share the garden’s harvest?
We were able to share our harvest with our Southwood families through a community outreach program called REAP. While they would not let us put our produce in packages with their food, we were still able to package our harvest and pass it out to families separately when they came to pick up.
Way to go Ms. Parsons! Thanks for all you do!
If you are ready to start gardening again this March be sure to check out our helpful “How To” videos on our Schoolyard Garden YouTube channel and as always, please reach out to your Schoolyard Garden coordinator for assistance.