Sun­ny­side’s gar­den­ing gu­rus

Stanstead Journal - - FRONT PAGE - Vic­to­ria Vanier, Stanstead

For the sec­ond year in a row, Sun­ny­side Ele­men­tary School’s youngest stu­dents have been plant­ing a veg­etable and flower gar­den in June af­ter care­fully tend­ing young plants in their class­rooms for sev­eral weeks.

this month, dur­ing a visit to the grade two class of Marie-Josee Boulet, the teacher who ini­ti­ated the pro­ject, the stu­dents were anx­ious to get out to the gar­den to plant some pota­toes. Along one wall of the class­room flu­o­res­cent light fix­tures hov­ered over dozens of young seedlings planted in yogurt and cot­tage cheese con­tain­ers, wait­ing for warmer tem­per­a­tures be­fore get­ting their turn to move out to the gar­den.

We’ve started toma­toes and pep­per plants from seed and some flow­ers, morn­ing glo­ries, nas­tur­tiums and zin­nias. The kinder­garten class started these sun­flow­ers; I’ll have them as stu­dents next year so start­ing the sun­flow­ers was a nice in­tro­duc­tion to the gar­den­ing pro­ject. The grade three class has started cu­cum­ber plants,” ex­plained Marie-Josee Boulet as we toured the ‘in-school’ nurs­ery. “We’ll also be plant­ing two kinds of pump­kins,” she added.

head­ing to the brightly fenced veg­etable patch, the stu­dents had to write a few sen­tences in their gar­den­ing jour­nals. “We’re in­te­grat­ing writ­ing, read­ing and art with the gar­den­ing,” said Ms. Boulet. Look­ing at the class’ cel­ery stock-grow­ing experiment and the peas grow­ing in the clear glass con­tainer, so stu­dents can watch the root growth, science also seems to be in the mix.

out­side at the gar­den, the stu­dents gath­ered around, all eyes glued to the gar­den as their teacher demon­strated how to plant a potato. Work­ing in pairs, they then took turns sow­ing the spuds.

I’ve never done a gar­den be­fore,” said Chloe Ann af­ter plant­ing a potato. “It’s fun but you get a lit­tle dirty,” said her plant­ing part­ner, El­lie Har­den. Ben Knapp was in­ter­ested in the gar­den although he in­sisted adamantly that he “didn’t like veg­gies!” “The gar­den is cool, it’s good. I can re­mem­ber paint­ing the fence around this gar­den when I was in kinder­garten,” added Ben.

I like how we can grow veg­eta­bles. I like to eat veg­eta­bles,” said Ros­alyn Sheldon. “I al­ways help my Mom in her gar­den – I love do­ing gar­den­ing,” said Ale­sha Buzzell.

Sun­ny­side veg­etable gar­den is now all planted with the stu­dents’ seedlings and seeds. Over the sum­mer, Marie-Josee is hop­ing that the stu­dents will visit the gar­den with their par­ents to help main­tain and harvest it. “I’ll be send­ing a let­ter home to the par­ents to ask them to come and weed and wa­ter the gar­den with their kids, and to pick things when they’re ready. We’re also plan­ning to harvest the veg­eta­bles in the fall. We can use squash, toma­toes, herbs, and we’re hop­ing some pota­toes, for the school’s fall din­ner,” said Sun­ny­side teacher and her young stu­dents have planted a veg­etable gar­den at the school, grow­ing ev­ery­thing from seed. the teacher.

town of Stanstead’s sum­mer gar­den­ers work­ing with the Fleu­rons pro­ject will also check in on the gar­den oc­ca­sion­ally to help weed and wa­ter it.

It’s magic for the stu­dents to see the whole process of grow­ing food from be­gin­ning to end and, hope­fully, they’ll get to eat it in the fall!” said Ms. Boulet.

Photos Vic­to­ria Vanier

Marie-Josée Boulet

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