Though winds blew briskly Tuesday afternoon, thoughts of early spring warmed our inner green thumb during the garden club kickoff at Stanley Elementary’s after school program. With the eager assistance of several students from grades 2-5, Cece and I helped participants plant our first crops of the growing season. Children took turns filling trays with rich, crumbly soil, then carefully placed the tiny seeds of vegetables such as broccoli and kohlrabi (the green, alien-looking plant pictured at the very top of this blog) and herbs like chives and dill into shallow holes made by the gentle push of a finger.
Also in the planting mix were some Brussels sprouts, giant parsley, and cilantro. These seeds were a bit bigger than those of the broccoli and kohlrabi, but still pretty small, requiring careful holding and placement into the soil. Seeded trays were watered and labeled by the students, then placed on a growing rack set beside the large, south-facing windows of the school’s cafeteria, which will allow warm rays of sunshine to fall upon the soil and baby leaves of young plants.
When the weather warms up enough to begin planting crops outdoors, we will transplant the vegetables into the garden beds so they will have plenty of room to spread their roots and grow up into strong, bountiful plants. With our wet soil conditions from this past winter’s snowstorms, we don’t expect to harvest much of anything before May. But with all the hard work that goes into preparing and maintaining the garden will come many super fresh, homegrown rewards!