Category Archives: Planting

Catching student attention with delightful surprise

Pea shootsWe can do something in and around the garden that does not happen in the classroom often enough: capture attention with a moment of pleasant surprise. Take, for example, what happens when we offer a taste of leaves and stems from a live plant.

Some students, of course, cheerfully pop the greens in their mouths. Many Continue reading

Why a garden? Why the Vegetable Project? (#4)

April 21 Isaiah JamesWhat exactly drives us to build gardens at Albany schools and then lead kids out to them? Why would we bother with those time-consuming fundraising initiatives, like Boxtops for Education, and those time-consuming chores in the garden, like weeding and watering? And what is the big deal about growing some of our own lettuce and tomatoes, when it’s so cheap in the supermarket?

Please see our first take at answering these questions and then another and then still one more. And here is another try.

Vegetables can be a tough sell, at least when alternatives full of sugar, salt and fat Continue reading

Buying seeds supports the Vegetable Project

High Mowing seed packsContributing to the Vegetable Project is as easy as buying High Mowing Organic Seeds from us from now until Tuesday, March 20.

You can view our offering and place orders online, through farmraiser.com, which supports fundraisers built around healthy eating and local products.

Or if you would rather do business on paper, maybe so you can invite friends and family to go in on an order with you, that’s okay, too. Please click here for a printable brochure describing what we are offering. And then print an order form. Please get orders to us, with cash or a check, by Friday, March 16, so we can complete necessary handling.

Either way, the Vegetable Project receives half of all sales in our eighth annual seed sale fundraiser. You will have your seeds in time for the coming season’s planting. And you will be supporting our four-season growing and our work to create hands-on teaching and learning opportunities in Albany schools, by providing us with funds for supplies, tools and equipment.

And rather donate the full cost of seeds or more? That’s okay, too. Just click on the Donate button at our web site to make an online contribution.

High Mowing’s seeds are organic and free of genetically modified organisms, which we think is important. And based in Vermont, many of its seeds were raised in the Northeast, meaning they’re especially suited to thrive in the kind of conditions that have.

The Vegetable Project reaches out especially to kids with the greatest needs. These are kids in Albany schools who are challenging and disruptive, who do not respond well to admonitions like “sit still in your chair” and “look up at the board.” We garden, prepare tasty dishes with what we grow and teach about scientific method. But most of all we engage kids. Working at two Albany schools so far, we have four programs: a year-round after-school Garden Club at Stephen and Harriet Myers Middle School, development and assistance with plant-related classroom activities and curriculum at both Myers Middle School and Albany High School, a paid garden assistant internship mentoring program for at-risk students at Albany High and a work site for a city summer jobs program that gives high school-age students a first exposure to employment.

In addition, we are building development plans for an outdoor classroom at our middle school home, with a greenhouse, a shaded sitting area, a fruit tree orchard and naturalized space where science classes would conduct meaningful scientific investigations. The completed space should be as irresistible to art or history teachers as it is to science teachers, thus increasing kids’ time outdoors in fresh air and amid greenery, which research shows supports wide ranging healthy outcomes.

Happy gardening. And please help us spread word about this great offer.

–Bill Stoneman

Experimenting with science classroom experience

young girl examining a test tube in a science class

Trying to find the right classroom formula takes considerable trial and error.

We are conducting a controlled experiment, of a sort, in a couple of high school science classes. We are seeking to determine whether we can capture the attention of seriously disaffected living environment students by significantly altering the their classroom experience. And to the extent that we can, we are seeking to determine whether teachers who are at their wit’s end will see the same progress with students that we see.

The context, which we see discouragingly often, are classes with many, many, students who show just about Continue reading

Planting seeds to connect with disengaged students

Arugula seedlingsThe tiny specs of green in the accompanying photo, taken in the morning on Sunday, Oct. 1, are arugula seedlings. We scattered arugula seeds four days earlier, on Wednesday, Sept. 27. It’s worth noting that some seeds still germinate at this late point in the season. We are fairly confident, if not 100 percent certain, that leaves on these plants still have enough Continue reading

Partnership opportunity for enterprising teachers

Cambridge pix2Help wanted: Seeking a classroom teacher, or maybe two or three, maybe a science teacher or maybe a family and consumer science teacher, but maybe something else as well, to partner with the Vegetable Project in curating our gardens and school yards as a class project and an alternative approach to teaching and learning. More than just name plants, we Continue reading

A path through the garden to academic success

We spend so much of our energy growing peas and carrots and all sorts of other plants that we neglect at times to talk about a broader mission: to do our part in gCommunity Foundation logorowing healthy children. Working in schools where academic outcomes are often discouraging, we suspect that healthy, nurturing relationships with adults and educators can make a positive difference.

This thought about relationships, maybe call it mentoring, and perhaps the idea Continue reading

Whole Kids funding new greenhouse at Myers

Greenhouse

At Myers Middle School.

A big challenge in school gardening in this part of the world is winter. Children are at their desks, but the soil is frozen. Thus, we are please to report great help that the Whole Kids Foundation is offering us to build a workaround.

As part of an annual school gardening Continue reading

Growing indoors a short walk from Albany High

Greenhouse2The school leaders at Saint Anne Institute have kindly offered use of a beautiful heated greenhouse on its campus to Albany High School and Abrookin Career and Technical Center. And as slightly captured in the accompanying photo, we have begun exploring how to put this great opportunity to use.

With as much as 1,000 square feet of heated and sun-lit space about 10 minutes Continue reading

Yes, we’re still putting seeds in the ground

Carrots AHS 82214

Carrot seedlings at Albany High started 13 days ago. Not bad considering carrot seeds are notoriously slow to germinate.

I mentioned a patch of ground near Albany High to an administrator there the other day. I said that I hoped we could throw some compost there and drop some seeds in.

“Now?”

More than ask a question, this individual betrayed substantial surprise that we would still be putting seeds in the ground in late August. So, for the record, yes, now. Indeed, we put lettuce, spinach, arugula and radish seed in over Continue reading