Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Pumpkins Are Coming!

Submitted by Kate Ritger

No one can say exactly how many years it has been happening, but it's been enough to make it a "tradition," and it happened again this year… the first graders from St. Joseph's Lab School helped plant the Common Ground Garden's pumpkin patch! In early May, Ryan Kutter and I (I'm the director and production manager for the garden), walked to the school to start the seeds with the students. Before the planting commenced the students were eager to share about some of their favorite and less-than-favorite vegetables. "Corn!" "Carrots!" "Peas!" While one student glowed with delight about a vegetable, another turned up his nose to that same choice.

Planting went without a hitch, or so we thought. Each student came out to the work table one by one and we helped them fill their cups with dirt, plant a seed and water it. Next the kids marched back to their classroom and placed their cups on the windowsill to get some warmth from the sun. As the gardeners strolled back across campus we commented, "Those are really nice kids. They were polite and friendly to us and to each other." What nice break in the day.

Weeks went by and while the gardeners continued planting potatoes, tomatoes, beets and greens in Common Ground Garden, the first graders continued to water their seeds and watch in anticipation. But something didn't go quite right; the seeds didn't sprout! Their wonderful teacher, Ms. Schneider, talked with them about the occasional trickiness of germination and hoped that we could help save the pumpkin planting experience for the kids.

Ryan and Thomsens Greenhouse save the day! With transplants in tow, the gardeners welcomed the energetic first graders to the empty pumpkin patch. Most of the time the garden is a quiet place, blessed with the music of robins, chickadees, bluebirds, finches, mourning doves and crows. But we could see and hear the first graders coming from blocks away. The gardeners talked a bit about what we've been planting, how we will care for the pumpkin seedlings, and how we look forward to seeing them as second graders in the fall when they will return to pick a pumpkin. Again, one by one the students worked with the gardeners, this time digging holes in the ground and planting the seedlings with care.

When the work was done, Ms. Schneider rounded up the first graders, led them in a big "Thank you" and guided them back to school. And now we all watch and wait, weed and water. The students' energy was infectious to the gardeners, and the garden was blessed with their hope for pumpkins in the fall.

photo: St. Joseph Lab School children in 2006 pick out the pumpkins they planted in 2005 at Common Ground Garden.

1 comment:

  1. As a former CBS student, this is so cool to read about! :)

    Steph Lindahl '98