US (NC): Middle school students build greenhouse and container gardens

Students at Heritage Middle School are putting their heads and green thumbs together for a special project this summer that they hope will benefit the community.
Starting in March, a group of students, along with Tim Gallagher, an ELA teacher at Heritage Middle, repurposed a bocce court into a greenhouse and raised container gardens. They wrote a proposal for a grant through the GEAR UP program to fund the greenhouse structure, 10 garden containers, and soil. They also found funding through Adam Shade and the board of directors at Farm Bureau Insurance for fencing, arbors, and plants to start the growing season.

“Students started the building of the garden by assembling all of the metal beds and placing them in the space,” Gallagher said. “Another team of students came to school on a blustery Saturday and filled all the beds with dirt. Next, I was able to utilize teams of kids throughout the school day to plant and design the layout of the garden. From June 10-30, I had approximately 15 sixth- and eighth-grade students participate in a summer enrichment camp that focused on the garden. In that time frame, students built and installed the greenhouse and installed drip irrigation with a timer. They also learned about pruning, fertilization, and general garden maintenance.”

Gallagher said students also cooked an Asian-inspired eggplant dish, squash casserole, and zucchini boat pizzas using what grew in the garden. They are currently growing carrots, onions, yellow squash, eggplant, green beans, tomatoes, and cucumbers and have plans to grow Brussels sprouts and winter vegetables in the fall season. Students were able to experience first-hand how food is grown, how to cook it, and share what they learned with those around them.

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