As the cold weather approached the school garden at Yerington Elementary School, it was time to say good bye to the beautiful vegetable plants and winterize the garden. Over the course of the growing season, the garden produced around 525 pounds of fresh veggies that ended up on families tables that were in need, and also in the school cafeteria for the students to taste. The Kindergarteners and First Graders helped to plant the inside of the Hoop-House with green beans, peppers, tomatoes, carrots, beets, swiss chard, potatoes, watermelon, and red onions. Several boys and girls came down from the Boys and Girls club, twice a week during the summer months to help out with more plumbing, planting, harvesting, and weeding in both the hoop-house and outside growing area. Outside the kids planted winter squash, corn, more green beans, zucchini, cucumbers, eggplant, broccoli, cauliflower, radishes, sunflowers that produced seeds, and of course, pumpkins. We even planted several pollinating wild flowers along the perimeter of the gardens to attract our bees.
Speaking of bees, we got to experience cross-pollination. There was a big zucchini-watermelon looking veggie/fruit. The bee had pollinated the watermelon, and then found its way to the zucchini, or so we thought! It turned out to be a pumpkin!!! The children and the extension office were in awe. The children learned where their food comes from by interacting in the school gardens. Some were very well educated before they came into the gardens by growing veggies with their families. It was refreshing to see these students explain things to their classmates. Yep, I wouldn’t have changed a thing!! Well…… maybe one thing! We had an intruder move into the hoop house underneath the tomato plants. Mr. Gopher was causing all kinds of tunnels to collapse! By the end of the growing season he had vanished!! Not sure what happened to him, and by the same token, didn’t ask! The students helped to harvest everything inside the hoop house. Next it was time to rototill and plant the fall ground cover crop to help enrich the soil for next year’s crops, and then close the doors for the winter.