Two classes of 7th graders in Lowndes County are taking what they are learning in science class into their school’s courtyard by preparing raised beds for fall gardening.
In the pictures below, students relay supplies to the building site, learn to measure wood for the raised beds, work together putting the beds together, fill the beds with soil, and add fertilizer. Plants will go in on another date after students learn more about what they will need to do to help their fall crops grow.
Alabama Cooperative Extension System Urban Regional Extension Agent Roosevelt Robinson and Lowndes County Extension Coordinator Tana Shealey are working with youth helping them make a connection between the science of horticulture and the hands-on gratification of growing fresh vegetables in their own surroundings.
Robinson, whose area of study includes Home Grounds, Home Gardens, and Home Pests, believes this ongoing project is beneficial to youth who might not have gardens at their homes.
Robinson stated, “School gardening has some amazing developmental benefits for today’s youth that help them to learn and grow. From engaging the senses, to encouraging healthy eating, a well thought out school garden has the potential to enhance motor skills, provide opportunities to introduce math and science concepts, even foster responsibility and teach patience. If your school doesn’t have a garden, then you should consider building one. School gardens can have a positive effect on the mind, body, and spirit.”
Over the next few weeks, the Alabama Cooperative Extension System’s Lowndes County team will be visiting area schools sharing the latest research on home gardening and creating raised beds. The Lowndes County Extension office is also working with residents in maintaining raised bed gardens in public housing areas in Mosses and Ft. Deposit; there are plans for creating learning gardens at other locations throughout Lowndes County.
Shealey said, “We are so excited about the support that we are receiving from the Lowndes County Commission, the Lowndes County Board of Education, area business owners and residents. We are very thankful for the support that our teachers and school administrators are showing towards our youth.”
Much of the work being done in Lowndes County’s public schools is made possible by a federal grant aimed at providing fresh fruits and vegetables to residents, support from the Lowndes County Commission, and donated plants and supplies from a Hayneville hardware store, J.T. Bell Home Improvement Co.