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First Grade Seed-to-Table Vegetable Gardens

By: KlockeK

   [image] three gardens             [image] garden markers


On October 10, 2013, the PTA Envrionmental Committee invited all 86 first grade students, and their teachers, to join them in creating a seed-to-table vegetable garden.  The purpose of this project was to introduce a variety of vegetables to the first graders and also show them how easy it is to grow their own vegetables.  Because the students  are in charge of planting, they will be more willing to try vegetables.  This could also encourage their parents to start their own home garden.


[image] planting               [image] planting lettuce


Four Environmental Committee Members directed the planting.  Three 4x4 raised garden beds were prepared ahead of time.  Tile garden markers and seed packets were placed at each bed along with garden tools.  This was an activity that took place during a 30 minute recess and participation was voluntary.  Around 40 students took part, at some point of their recess, to plant seeds and to water them.  This went so smoothly that we even had time to take a group photo.


                   [image] group photo


Planting is complete.  Now we get to watch our seeds grow!  Since this garden is on our playground, we made a sign to discourage digging or playing in the vegetable gardens.


[image] planted garden  [image] garden sign


At the time of planting, a Root Vue Garden was placed inside at the end of the first grade hallway containing radish seeds to show not only what happens above the dirt, but also below the dirt during the growing process.


  [image] Root Vue  [image] growing Root Vue


After we came back from Thanksgiving Break, it was time to harvest the gardens!  The snap peas still needed some more time to grow, so we left them alone.


  [image] lettuce   [image] mesclun mix


                                            [image] snap pea


We used recess time to gather with the first graders to harvest vegetables.  They have been patiently watching their seeds grow all this time.  Usually the first part of their recess has included a stop at the gardens to check on the status of any new growth.  This is so exciting for them.  It is time to pick the vegetables!


  [image] harvest lettuce   [image] lettuce bag


  [image] harvest mesclun mix   [image] mesclun bowl


                       [image] radishes  


The entire harvest was brought to my house and washed.  To make this easy for our teachers and to not disrupt class time, we decided to fill individual snack-size ziplocs with a taste of each vegetable we harvested.  Although, we know this isn't the most envionmentally friendly way to do this, it was a huge time saver for our teachers.  A gallon ziploc was labeled for each teacher and inside it contained a snack-ziploc for each of their students.  These were brought to school in a cooler.  At snack time, each student was presented with their own snack bag to have a taste.


                                        [image] tasting


We had made it known that tasting was totally voluntary, but all the first grade teachers excitedly said all their students enjoyed taking part in the tasting.  Tasting the radish was a huge hit!  A teacher even said this was the first time she had tried one and she liked it. :)  We debated having different dressings to dip the veggies into, but we then decided that it would give the kids the best opportunity to experience the true taste of the vegetable without dressing.  It was a HUGE success!  Introducing healthy foods at this age will hopefully promote healthy food choices going forward.  And we totally proved that growing your own food can be FUN!





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