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February in the school garden

Written by Paula, TCFI's Garden Coordinator:

Throughout the month of February, the focus for our Little Green Thumbs Garden Clubs at Wickaninnish Community School has been on what our seeds need to germinate, summed up in the acronym WOW: warmth, water, and oxygen. Our students have had fun with several experiments with seeds, particularly focusing on calendula, nasturtium, and sorrel seeds, the latter being their favourite!

We began by creating makeshift greenhouses using cardstock, plastic bags, and cotton balls to hold the seeds in place and some water. Some were placed in dark cupboards, others taped to windows, and some even placed in backpacks or along the inner walls of classrooms. Each week, we carefully monitored our greenhouses, observing factors such as sprout rate, location, and watering levels. Through this hands-on experience, the students learned valuable lessons about seed germination.

One important discovery was the impact of temperature and water levels on germination. We found that seeds placed in overly cold or wet conditions struggled to sprout or didn't sprout at all. We watched how light affected seedling growth, with those in darkness showing yellowing leaves initially, while those in light quickly turned vibrant green.

Among our seeds, sorrel proved to be the fastest to sprout, followed by nasturtiums and calendula. The joy and excitement on the children's faces as they witnessed their seeds sprouting each day were truly heartwarming. Their problem-solving skills were put to the test as they adjusted conditions to optimize germination rates.

Transplanting the seedlings into pots filled with pro mix, manure, worm castings, and compost was the next step in our gardening journey. The students learned about water-soluble fertilizers, reading instructions, and measuring spoon to litre, incorporating math and reading skills into our garden club activities.

One of the most beloved activities for the children has been watering the garden, where they've learned about the importance of proper watering techniques and fertilizer application. As we approach March break, we're excited to transplant our seedlings once more, giving students the opportunity to care for them at home and watch them continue to grow.

In summary, the month of February has been filled with hands-on learning, problem-solving, and excitement as our students explore the wonders of seed germination and gardening. We also have been harvesting radish, kale, broccoli from our greenhouse, and new growth sorrel, walking onions from our Food Forest to munch on each week as we explore garden lessons. We're grateful for the opportunity to cultivate curiosity and nurture a love for nature in our young gardeners. Here's to many more fruitful months ahead in the garden!

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