Central School’s Planting of the Green

    • SOUTH BERWICK, MAINE

      So. Berwick students celebrate ‘Planting of the Green’ day

      Harvest to be enjoyed on Salad Bar Day

planting of the green kate planting of the green planting of the green jeff

Second-grades Madeline Bickford and Meghan True plant oak leaf lettuce seeds in small pots made of folded newspaper at "Planting of the Green" day at Central School in South Berwick, Maine, Monday.Second-grades Madeline Bickford and Meghan True plant oak leaf lettuce seeds in small pots made of folded newspaper at “Planting of the Green” day at Central School in South Berwick, Maine, Monday. The seedlings will be transplanted to the school’s greenhouse. Ralph Morang photo
  • By Ralph Morang news@seacoastonline.com

    Posted Mar. 17, 2015 at 10:44 AM
    SOUTH BERWICK, Maine – “With the winter we’ve just had, I am ready to get my hands into some dirt.” Using those words, Central School music teacher and head gardener Kate Smith opened the fifth annual “Planting of the Green” day Monday.All the school’s students, from pre-K through grade 3, were assembled in the gymnasium to learn about potting soil, to sing songs and to plant vegetable seeds. Students plant seeds, transplant seedlings, watch plants grow, harvest the plants and have a salad bar day before school ends for the year.Smith led the school in a song, “Flowers, Stems, Leaves and Roots.”Chef and cookbook author Kathy Gunst asked the assemblage, “Where do carrots come from?” With the answer, “They grow,” Gunst said, “You are right, they do not come from the carrot factory.” She told students they would plant beets, kale, Swiss chard, lettuce, carrots, basil, dill and Easter egg radish. After the harvest, the third graders will make salad dressings and pestos, and on Salad Bar Day June 10, with some additions from local farms, all will feast.Organic landscaper “chef” Jeff Hoerth mixed up some potting soil for the school. First, he delicately explained where cow manure came from, then mixed it with peat moss, worm castings and perlite volcanic rock.Then it was time to get dirty. Students ahead of time made pots for the seedlings out of folded pieces of newspaper and made foil-lined trays to hold them. Each class had their own seed packets, and, by turn, each student scooped soil into a pot, planted just one seed and placed the pot in the tray.Parent volunteer Kate Martin said the school’s outdoor classroom and “hoop house” greenhouse were dear to her heart. “Every school should have this. It should spread to the middle school.” While teachers use the outdoor classroom and greenhouse in their curriculums, there are no gardening classes, she said. Gunst teaches cooking classes on a volunteer basis, since the time her children attended the school. “Each student has at least one cooking class,” she said.Parent and chef Ned Grieg has recently volunteered, too.Katherine Bousquet’s second-graders lined up at the planting table taking oak leaf lettuce seeds and planting them. Josh Sawyer said he thought it was really fun. Mia Chick said, “I’ll be eating better, and it will make me feel awesome!” Brianna Schoff said growing the lettuce will take a while. Madeline Bickford talked a lot about the newspaper plant pots, “It’s really recycling,” and how to grow plants, “Talk to the plant and give it music.”The tray of pots will go back to classrooms where they will sprout on windowsills and then the seedlings will be transplanted. By Salad Bar Day, all students should be looking forward to eating their vegetables.

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