Group Effort to Jumpstart School Garden

Science and Eco Club works with culinary students

Jenna Edra

Staff Writer

As a result of warmer weather and coordination with Chef Rosen and the culinary arts classes and administration, the Science and Eco Club organized its first after-school gardening session of the 2014-15 school year on Friday, February 13th. Club officers and Chef Rosen’s students came together to pull out weeds and plant zucchini and green beans in pursuit of beautifying the school, supplying food for the culinary classes to use, and reviving attention to the garden.

“Last year we had a strong number of people who were committed to helping,” gardening leader Srirang Subramanian (12) said. “Thus we were very active. This year, since most of those people have gone to college, interest has dwindled. So we are looking for people to take interest in the garden again and make progress on it.”

On the following Friday, February 20th, students continued weeding and additionally worked on improving the drip irrigation system, which waters the plants. Culinary arts student Aly Lee (11) came to gardening for the first time.

“I wanted to help create a garden, so we could have food [for the school],” Lee said.  “I hope we can use the food that we grow here for our school lunches, so we can have better lunches.”

Everyone involved with the garden has a specific vision of what they hope will come out of it in the future.

“[I hope for] a lot of luck–tomatoes, squash, lemons,” Chef Rosen said. “They say that there’s a plum tree and an apricot tree and now they’ve cross-pollinated to make a pluot, so I hope that comes out. Strawberries, radishes, you know, things that we use here a lot. After that, we’ll see maybe some lettuce… fava beans, some crops that we can turnover.”

Moreover, Subramanian sees the garden as a prospective space for various projects.

garden
Five students and Mrs. Raheja, a parent volunteer, weed out a planter box by hand on Friday, February 13.

“I wish to see a standing greenhouse with which we can grow some crops in,” Subramanian said. “We did experiment with a sundial made out of cinder blocks at one point, so I want to return to that idea. We have room for a rock bed garden to grow some of the drier plants. There is so much potential that the garden can bring out, but first and foremost, I wish to see vegetables and fruits grow in our beds, and install one more drip irrigation system on the opposite side of our garden.”

Mr. Sykes, the husband of chemistry teacher Mrs. Sykes, has regularly helped out with the garden for 4 years and hopes for “knowledgeable students.”

“It’s a classroom; it’s not necessarily just a garden,” Sykes said. “[Students] learn how to plan, they learn how to think ahead… how to work as a team… a little bit of engineering, a little bit of hydraulics, a little bit of husbandry, a little botany, a little construction.”

Science and Eco Club President Garima Raheja (12) also recognized the garden as a learning platform with opportunities to gain experience in gardening, as well as a place to unwind.

“If you wanted to help, if you wanted to learn how to garden, if you want to learn about a lot about the environment and how food systems work and just meet new people, [the garden is] a great place to interact,” Raheja said. “It’s almost therapeutic to just sit down and work hard, pull out a ton of weeds, talk to new friends, enjoy the air on a Friday afternoon. It’s hard work, but it’s relaxing hard work! You can just lose yourself in the garden.”

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