Students at PS 346 are excited to be back in the Spring Creek Recreational Fund’s (SCRF) Urban Garden Classroom (UGC) to help Garden Educator, Jacqui Roytman, harvest the last crops for the season.
First graders picked the final batches of heirloom and cherry tomatoes, which had finally turned beautiful shades of dark green, orange and deep red (key signs that the fruit is ripe). After measuring and comparing the different tomato sizes, Roytman showed the children how to weigh their freshly harvested fruit. The six and seven-year- olds learned the difference between ounces and pounds while pilling their tomatoes on a scale.
The third grade class also had a chance to visit the garden to collect fall’s last vegetable bounty. The students were tasked with garden maintenance, so that they understand the importance of taking care of the soil, cleaning out weeds and watering the plants.
Roytman handed out gardening gloves and placed the children into teams. Each group was given a shovel and wheelbarrow to spread woodchips around the garden beds, so that the weeds will not overtake the soil during the winter seasons. Planting and harvesting are not the only things a gardener has to concentrate on, Roytman explained to the class. They have to always make sure the soil is nourished with compost, amended frequently and ensure that the garden beds are prepared for the winter months with cover crops.
Once the upkeep was completed, the children harvested green peppers, eggplants, corn, cucumbers, and other vegetables. They were also happy to see the large pumpkins that members of Spring Creek Senior Partners’ Gardening Club planted and harvested.
At the end of their lesson, Roytman explained the various nutrients within each of the vegetables and fruit, as well as different ways to cook them. Some students described which vegetables were their favorites and how their parents cook them, while others were eager to try the food they harvested at UGC.
Photos by Jacqui Roytman