Sandburg's Edible Garden Program was initiated in the fall of 2010 by bringing Worm Factories into 2nd grade classrooms. The students manage the worms, with the help of the teacher and/or parent volunteer, and learned much about nature’s recyclers and the importance of healthy soil for growing heathy plants, which in turn fuels healthy bodies! Students document the temperature of the worm bin, the type and weight of food they add to the bin each week, in addition to other observations, in a weekly science journal. They are partners with nature and have a strong awareness of their beneficial role in the ecosystem.
The actually Edible Garden was created by laying a sheet mulch next to the Cottage building in November 2011. Girl Scouts and parent volunteers helped by spreading composted manure and cardboard across the grass, followed by a 12 inch layer of wood chips, another 1 inch layer of manure and a final layer of wood chips on top of that. All the layers were watered as we went along to promote decomposition and attract nature’s recyclers to build healthy soil!
Wood chips and stumps were donated by Beaver Stump Grinding and Outdoor Services. David Braden of Living Systems Institute was present and gave an introduction to the No till, No weed, Low water garden approach that we use at Sandburg. It's been a great opportunity for students to further partner with nature, demonstrate more of nature’s recyclers in action, and solidify their beneficial role in the garden ecosystem.
Now 1st graders manage the Worm Factories. The compost they create goes into the garden with the seedling the 2nd graders plant every May. These seedlings are started in the 2nd grade classes in March, are transplanted into larger containers in April and go into the garden in May. Every lesson brings the curriculum alive through hands on engagement. In addition to strengthening the learner’s connection to nature and science, all core subjects can be reinforced through the garden. Learners also demonstrate 21st century learning skills such as systems thinking, working in groups, problem solving and more!
When the 2nd graders return in the fall as 3rd graders, the harvest is celebrated through a pizza or salsa making party using all the produce grown in the garden. This is always an incredibly exciting event with a strong sense of community among the students. Of course everybody tries the vegetables, which always taste better when they grow them themselves.
For more information or to volunteer, please contact Sunni Lisco - jeffsunni[at]comcast[dot]net
August 2012 - First year of the garden...amazing sunflowers!!
July 2012 - Flagstone pavers donated by Elite Stone, Denver, CO
Gift from the 2012 - 2013 5th grade class - handcast birdbath created by Rhett Dacus of Colorado Garden Art