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Garden project helping students grow
Centennial Middle School … oh how does your garden grow? To get the answer to this question, just ask teacher Jamie Mesman-Davis and her Family Consumer Science students!
About three years ago, Mesman-Davis started a garden unit with her students. She wanted to provide the students with an opportunity to see where their food comes from and what it takes to grow their own food. From that idea, three distinct sub gardens within a common area have developed:
- Pollinating garden – Necessary to bring in bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, etc. and to help pollinate the plants.
- Sensory garden - Full of plants and herbs that students can taste, touch and smell.
- Harvesting garden - Once the plants bear fruit and vegetables, students will harvest them and use them in the cooking classroom labs.
“The students get to see the full cycle,” said Mesman-Davis. “Just this week the students were able to go out into the garden and pick thyme, rosemary, oregano (three different kinds), basil and mint to use in some of our labs - breaded chicken, schnitzel, and Italian meatballs. We also used some lemon balm, mint (mojito mint and orange citrus mint) and lavender in some smoothie drinks. It is so fun to watch students smell and taste the differences between the herbs and decide for themselves what they would like to add instead of just going off of a recipe.”
Through this garden project, students have also learned about square foot gardening, vertical gardening, and companion gardening. They used Earth Day to celebrate the four Rs in their garden:
- Reduce - waste by composting
- Reuse - toilet paper rolls by planting seeds in them
- Recycle - catch water and recycle it when watering our plants
- Renew - through planting new plants in the garden area
Students also brought in their spare change on Earth Day and together they were able to purchase a new tree for the garden area. Students voted and decided to buy a cherry tree. The group hopes to do this every year and eventually have a small orchard.
Mesman-Davis and her students have received many grants to make this garden area come to life. Grants were provided through the Centennial Parent Club, the Snohomish Garden Club, and the Snohomish Education Foundation. In addition, the Snohomish Garden Center donated plant starts for the garden area.
“We truly could not have done this without all their generosity,” said Mesman-Davis. “Through the support of the garden project and the district’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) program, we have been able to purchase all of our garden beds, raised bed and vertical garden beds, as well as all the soil that went into the beds. These items will last a long time and will be able to serve many years of students.”