Every year, the ag department at North Scott grows food in their raised gardening beds. Students in the ag department grow plants in the beds year-round, and currently, students in Intro to Ag are growing various vegetables for the spring season.
Mr. Hunter, the head of the ag department, states that students are growing plants like swiss chard, carrots, and radishes that thrive in the springtime climate. During the summer, interested students grow flowers and other plants for state fair, and some students grow pumpkins during autumn.
The gardens give the students a microcosmic look into the life of a gardener or farmer.
To grow plants in the beds, Hunter explains that students are given an assignment and choose the plants they want to grow. Students collaborate as a group to maintain their garden beds and ensure that their plants are staying healthy while managing weeds and planning for imminent weather. Students water their plants outside of class, and once the plants are ready, the students harvest the plants in class. After harvest, the students clean, prepare, and eat the vegetables they’ve grown in class. After celebrating their successes, the students clean their garden beds for the next season of students gardening for state fair.
Hunter observes that the department faces a slow start due to the cold and rainy weather. “Other farmers are facing similar trials and tribulations,” Hunter states. To combat the unfortunate weather, the ag department utilizes their artificial greenhouse to begin growing earlier than other farmers, and the department measures the temperature of the greenhouse’s soil to ensure the soil stays above 50 degrees Fahrenheit—a healthy temperature for their crops.
Hunter elaborates that this season marks the fifth year the ag department has had the raised beds, and the department has expanded the beds during the last three years. Each garden takes about $100 to prepare, as new plastic coverings to protect the plants from unideal weather are the only consumables that the ag department uses; the department gets all of their seeds donated to them. The ag department began growing in the gardens out of a desire for students to understand the food production process from start to finish first-hand. The gardens help students develop valuable skills related to planning, taking measurements, managing pests, suppressing weeds, and cleaning.
Since the ag department has gotten the beds, a multitude of students have enjoyed growing their plants. The gardens provide fun and satisfaction for the student gardeners, and the gardens give the students a microcosmic look into the life of a gardener or farmer.