This spring students in grammar and middle school have had the new opportunity to start cool weather garden plants in their classrooms. Using special seed trays and white lights, the children planted spinach, lettuce and other greens before leaving for Spring Break. Now that they have returned their plantings have germinated and are ready to be moved to the garden.
The Gryphon Garden is ready to receive! Middle school students turned over the soils in all the boxes last week and the last of the frigid nights is likely behind us. This Thursday all of the seedlings will be transferred to the box beds located at the east end of the grammar school parking lot.
If you haven’t seen the installation, feel free to stop in and walk about. The garden is quite well done, thanks to generous gift made last summer by Sandra van Burk, in memory of her husband and Master Gardener, Gerrit van Burk. The Burk’s are grandparents to Skyler, Sarah, and Kate McCurley. This significant gift helped us fulfill a long-held dream of a working garden at school. Last fall Mr. McCurley built the box beds and spread pea gravel in the pathways. Our maintenance crew installed the deer fencing (9 ft tall!) around the perimeter and Heidi Heaton took on the responsibility of laying out the area for fruit trees, berries, grapes and vegetables. Over Spring Break Headmaster Heaton with help from Thaddaeus (10th) and support staff built the greenhouse which now sits behind the garden on the edge of the woods. Thad ran the tractor for an entire day mulching with chips from several trees provided by Tommy Parmiter (Alma-01, Joy-K).
In addition to spinach, lettuce, snap peas and onions, the garden is large enough for dwarf varieties of fruit trees including apples and pears. Raspberry and blueberry bushes are also under cultivation. It will take some time for everything to come to maturity and fruitfulness, but it’s an exciting start as we teach our students the life-long skill and joy of working with the earth.
Finally, if you would like to be involved more directly in the garden project, New Covenant is seeking to hire an adjunct instructor just for the garden program. This position will be responsible for oversight of the garden, recruiting and managing volunteers and, most importantly, working with our teachers to share the garden effectively with the hundreds of students each fall and spring. If you or someone you know is interested in this position, please contact our headmaster here.