• Paula Robertson

May in the School Garden


With the return of warmer weather - we are being positive, our students have been eager to get out and share in gardening experiences. You know you've hatched potential farmers when several students come to you at recess/afterschool asking to weed, transplant and yes eat fresh greens. Each week we offer 10 gardening programs. Seven classroom hour programs, two after school gardening programs and an intergenerational program. Did you know that 2022 is the Year of the Garden? With that we are aiming to create opportunities for each of our 12 classes to have their own garden spaces.


Opportunities have knocked on our door recently thanks to Nancy Powis and the Friends of Clayoquot Sound. We now have two grow towers which are being utilized by Miss Aujla's and Miss Baas' classes. No easy task to move and prep them, fill with the right mixture of soil, planting strawberries, peas, and greens and edible flowers which we care for every week day. We are up for the many challenges. Too much rain, slugs and birds eating our greens. "It's all an experiment" is our motto. We have a race to see whose radishes will grow the fastest and plumpest. Results are not in yet. Keep you posted.


How exciting for the students to walk up to their door each day and see the sprouting, thriving and abundance of their efforts. And when parents come by to pick up their children, the pride is shared by the entire family. Often a mom or uncle, or grandma will come up to me and talk about all the garden knowledge they are gaining from their children. Bravo to our teachers and parents for their support and enthusiasm. Special thanks to Freda, a true farmer from way back, my side kick with Miss Baas' class. Miss Tucker's class have been champions creating signage for our Food Forest and tried their hand at micro green growing this month. Was it kale or sunflowers they liked best? Ms. Bruhwiler's and Mrs. Avila's Kindergarteners have been experimenting with growing peas, calendula and nasturtium flowers in their classrooms. Two out of three did best. Yes you're right. Peas like it cool. Both Mrs. Thompson's and Mr. Holt's classrooms are inside rooms so they don't have a planter outside their doors yet, however, that hasn't stopped them from raising their hands waving with excitement when it's time to go to the garden. They have been busy bees and ants. Creating protective fortresses around several of our garden beds from neighbourhood critters and planting potatoes in buckets, I think we're at 20 now.


Imagine the feast we will have in September. Potatoes, carrots, pumpkins, squash soups anyone? Our After School Garden Clubs have been garden warriors heading out in the rain most days, planting peas, lettuce, cabbage, broccoli and violas. Slug picking, collecting horse tail, making compost teas, hauling wood chips - the list goes on and on. They are eager each Tuesday and Thursday to work hard then create their garden sandwiches, and share some too. Our dear seniors, they range from 57 to 80 years young. Bless their hearts and their muscles. How they lift, prune, dig, haul, plant and weed for 2 hours in the rain and wind. I am in complete awe, we are so inspired. They are so thrilled to be matched up with Mr. Holt's Grade 2 class each week and build relationships, sharing wisdom and chores with each other.


Our Little School Garden Program is not so little any longer. We keep growing each year. How fortunate we are to have the school admin and teachers who support these programs, our Tofino Community Food Initiative Board members who support our work and all of you the parents and community members. Thank you!


See you in the garden!

Paula Robertson




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