Local News

September 29, 2013

School garden plants seeds of learning

Eight-year-old Ivan Salgado didn’t used to think he liked tomatoes.

But thanks to Brookwood Elementary’s student garden, he decided he was wrong.

“I found out they’re really good and sweet,” Ivan said. “My favorite part was when we planted broccoli. I love broccoli.”

“We think it’s wonderful,” he said of the garden, which was the focus of the Dalton Herb Society’s September meeting last Tuesday.

Parent volunteers Anna Verhoeff, a horticulturist, and Carmen Flammini, an agricultural engineer, oversee much of the garden, the planting, care and harvest. They spoke to the Herb Society, whose members’ attention was focused mainly on an herb spiral tower, which is designed to utilize a small space and keep the herb’s roots from rotting in too much water.

The herb tower is designed so plants that need more water are near the bottom and ones that need less are planted near the top. Care has to be put into placing the herbs so they receive the right amount of sunlight and shade as well, Verhoeff said.

“If you don’t have much space, you can utilize the herb tower,” said Jean Ray O’Neal, Herb Society president. “Or if you have low lying areas, it’s a way to get them up. Herb roots need to aerate ... This is such an educational tool. Children have the ability to taste the food they’re planting, and you can introduce them to nutritional vegetables, not just white potatoes.”

Fruits, vegetables and herbs grown in the garden are used in the school’s cafeteria. The garden is also used to teach students about several different topics, including science, nutrition and sustainable living.

“This is an outdoor learning space,” Brookwood Principal Celeste Martin said. “There’s enough of a certain vegetable to be able for all the students to eat it.”

“Science starts outside with nature,” she said. “Our kids love the space. We’ve seen a lot of benefit and growth with the kids. They appreciate real food. It’s not processed ... It’s wonderful to have this space.”

In the cafeteria on a day something from the garden is being used, there are signs letting students know it’s one of their crops, she said.

“My favorite thing is we get to plant it and then eat it,” 8-year-old Caroline Fox said. “Strawberries and lettuce are my favorite. I didn’t think I was going to like the lettuce, but I do. We have plants and we can eat it in the cafeteria. They’re very tasty.”

The winter planting season has just begun, and each of the school’s students — there are more than 600 — get a turn planting, as well as harvesting. They also help keep the garden weeded. This season’s crops include broccoli, cauliflower (which some of the students call “white broccoli”), Swiss chard, onions and kale.

“It’s a powerful way to teach the kids about different subjects,” Flammini said. “We saw how much they enjoyed it last year. When kids get hands-on projects like this they learn easily. We’re able to incorporate several subjects, nutrition, and we did an erosion segment.”

Flammini and Verhoeff want to introduce the children to a variety of produce, but also want to keep some of the items they know students enjoy.

“We lowered the variety this year so they can have more of each of the vegetables,” Verhoeff said. “The school has been really supportive.”

The garden has a greenhouse, a few raised beds and rows where crops are planted. The greenhouse was paid for with a grant and volunteers assembled it during one of the United Way’s Make a Difference Days.

Martin is glad the Herb Society decided to meet at the school’s garden.

“It’s important for the students to see there’s an interest in the space,” she said.

Text Only
Local News
  • Bugs and Kisses 1 mlh.jpg Local stores expect tax holiday to create lots of sales

    Local retailers say Georgia’s sales tax holiday weekends mean big business for them, and they are gearing up to capitalize on this year’s tax-free shopping on Friday and Saturday.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Esme file mw 2.jpg Still fighting

    Ten-year-old Esme Miller was celebrated earlier this year for the way she’s handled a bout with osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Historical photos of Murray County needed

    Maybe you have a photograph of a well-known preacher from the 1940s. Or maybe you have a photograph taken of a church choir from the 1920s.

    July 30, 2014

  • State DOT wants your input on transportation needs

    As state and national leaders consider alternatives for funding future transportation needs, the Georgia Department of Transportation wants to know what Georgians would like in their 21st century transportation system and how they recommend paying for it.

    July 30, 2014

  • Jail for Justice Tour event here tonight

    The Moral Monday Georgia Coalition, the NAACP-led multi-racial, multi-issue advocacy group, will host an event in partnership with the Georgia Dreamers Alliance, Coalition of Latino Leaders (CLILA), Whitfield NAACP and the Whitfield County Democratic Party at Dalton’s Mack Gaston Community Center tonight from 5 to 9.

    July 30, 2014

  • Two charged with tampering with evidence in drug investigation

    Two people have been arrested and charged with tampering with evidence in connection with the synthetic marijuana bust in February involving a Dalton business owner.

    July 30, 2014

  • Beaulieu to close operations for one week for inventory

    Floorcovering giant Beaulieu of America will conduct a physical inventory of its buildings and facilities next week, with only salaried employees reporting for work.

    July 30, 2014

  • Green spot closing 1 mlh.jpg A part of the family

    Larry Green can’t remember the exact date. But he says it was about 54 years ago when his father Marvin took him to see the new store he and his brother Herman had commissioned Red Jennings to build at 309 W. Emery St. in Dalton.

    July 29, 2014 3 Photos

  • New high school?

    The only means for “staying small” and preserving “The Dalton Way” in Dalton Public Schools may be through expansion, Superintendent Jim Hawkins said Tuesday.

    July 29, 2014

  • Bond denied for man arrested in synthetic marijuana bust

    A Dalton business owner charged in a synthetic marijuana bust was denied bond Tuesday.

    July 29, 2014