By Clare Taylor
The Duffy Elementary School Garden is full with the last of the summer crop. The 3 Sisters Garden, which is a typical Native American garden, was planted last spring with the intent that students could harvest the green beans, corn and squash come fall.
Fifth grade teacher Clare Taylor’s Gardening Team picked the last of the beans and took time out of their recess to learn about the age-old art of canning.
The nine students cleaned and de-stringed the beans before placing them in jars along with fresh garlic, fresh dill and cayenne pepper.
Taylor finished the canning preparations at home by adding vinegar and a hot water bath. The students are already anticipating the return of the canned beans for tasting in early November. Several of the students had experienced canning before, but for most this was a first.
“It is a fun thing you can try at home,” commented 5th graders Talia and Grace in their weekly garden update. “You can ask your parents to start a garden with healthy fruits and vegetables. You can also ask for recipes that are healthy and delicious! Remember that healthy eating is always important so you can stay healthy!“
After their canning duties were finished, the students spent the last few minutes of recess in the garden, picking the remainder of the sweet organic beans. “More! More!” was the feedback.
Duffy Elementary’s garden/outdoor classroom was established last year, in 2012. It has been supported by the school’s parent lead health and wellness committee, as well as a core group of passionate teachers.
“The goal of the garden is to connect Duffy children to their environment and where their food comes from,” said Rachel Stein, a parent and the garden chair.
Besides using the garden during the school day, Duffy has also used it as the location for some wonderful events. The annual fall student-run farmer’s market has featured pumpkin decorating in the garden and the annual spring art show was held in the garden last May. The art teacher, Liz Schott, spent the week leading up to the art show working with students on sculptures to be displayed in the garden. In addition, the music teacher, Marilyn Holcomb, had the choir perform a concert of spring songs in the garden during the event.
There are plans to build more raised beds, a classroom space and fence for the garden. Currently, the teachers of the Duffy garden committee are developing curriculum to increase learning time in the garden. It is the perfect way to maximize time outside .