The fifth-grade students at Medina ISD Elementary are experiencing a more meaningful way of studying botany.
Volunteers from the Medina Rose Garden Club meet with the class once a week as they learn to grow vegetables. Garden Club President Leigh Thomas remarks that this is the best way to teach youngsters where food comes from and engage them in hands on science learning.
Project lead Nancy Bailey has organized this project and oversees the weekly gardening with the children. The students have planted a variety of vegetables to cultivate this season – radishes, beets, spinach, kale, and carrots. They will care for their plots weekly while waiting for the vegetables to produce.
Over the summer, the Garden Club members planted sweet potato slips to cover the garden and discourage weeds. Several weeks ago, the club members cut away the vines and began harvesting the sweet potatoes.
The bountiful crop dried for several weeks, and each fifth-grade gardener got to take home a bag of those vegetables for their families. The students are still digging up random sweet potato plants which are still producing potatoes. This further bounty is being shared with the Medina Food Pantry.
Ten volunteers from the Garden Club showed up to help the 14 fifthgrade students this past Monday. Eagerly preparing for the students to arrive, the volunteers bustled around filling watering cans from a rain barrel while chatting with each other.
After a few brief instructions when the students arrived, the youngsters took their water to their designated garden plot and diligently watered their seedlings while also pulling a few random weeds.
Several students searched for sweet potato plants and dug them up with their rooty potato goodness. The joy sparkled in their eyes when they found a missed sweet potato.
Fifth grader Logan summed it up with just a small smile and a brief comment. When asked about whether she enjoyed vegetable gardening, she shyly commented, “Yes, I do.” A short answer, but from the intensity observed as the students went about their tasks, it was a response that every student there could agree with.
At the end of the class, Bailey passed out individual notebooks for students to record their observations about the class. Students got pencils and began writing their observations about this very hands-on science project. Bailey talked the students through the scientific process as it relates to gardening as teacher Mrs. Knight-Hall proudly looked on.
The Medina Rose Garden Club sponsors many projects within the community. For more information email them at email@example.com or find them on Facebook.