As a result of obtaining a grant from Lands and Economic Development Services Program (LEDSP), the Eliza Archie Memorial School students and staff have a new school vegetable garden. Ken Bourne, a long-time resident of Forest Grove, agreed to work with the students and staff to help build and grow a raised bed garden that will demonstrate how to grow nutritious food from seed to harvest.
Ken Bourne has over 50 years of professional organic food production experience on three continents and is a certified Organic Master Gardener. He has written gardening books and gives talks on food health. A thank you goes out to the school secretary for finding this gentleman to work with students at the school garden.
The Three Feathers Crew was a great help in making the raised garden beds and helping to prepare the garden area for the school. Every raised bed now contains a good variety of vegetables and fruit that is growing well. Some vegetables are ready to harvest and others in various stages of growth, from seeds recently sown, to strong seedlings that will grow into plants ready for harvesting throughout the Summer and early Fall.
The vegetables in the garden range from potatoes, turnips, beets, rutabagas and peas, to lettuce, onions, carrots, Swiss chard, arugula, radishes, rhubarb, strawberries, and even a giant pumpkin, which is still small.
The students have been very attentive in the lessons of sowing seeds, transplanting seedlings, preparing the soil, and planting many vegetable seedlings plus rows and containers of potatoes. They have also made compost and compost tea that contains many beneficial microbes that actually feed the plants. They have learned that the soil is alive with an amazing variety of living creatures beneath their feet. The lessons on gardening have been integrated into the curriculum that covers science, math, health and personal planning.
The patience Bourne has shown towards the students and the teaching staff is commendable, and his stories about life experiences are enjoyable. The students at Eliza Archie Memorial School have a feeling of accomplishment with the idea of gardening and growing healthy food.