Learn about winter sowing; join VegProj initiative

Want to learn how to turn a plastic gallon milk jug into a miniature greenhouse? Would you consider volunteering with the Vegetable Project team as we bring a burst of heart-pounding activity  – widely known as winter sowing – to more than 20 Albany schools classes between late January and early March?

Please join us at one of the following three hour-long training sessions, strictly for your own enjoyment or to prepare to participate in our third annual tour of the school district, bringing more intensive doing and touching and tasting and experiencing to classrooms than you’ll typically find in mainstream American classrooms.

  • Monday, Jan. 22, at 4 p.m., at New Scotland Avenue Elementary School, 369 New Scotland Avenue in Albany.
  • Monday, Jan. 29, at 4 p.m., at New Scotland Avenue Elementary School.
  • Saturday, Feb. 3, at 10 a.m., at Stephen and Harriet Myers Middle School, 10 Elbel Court, Albany.

The mission of the Vegetable Project, which has been digging in the dirt with Albany kids since 2009, is to create hands-on learning opportunities for Albany children, and especially Albany children with great needs, by building gardens, growing plants and harnessing the power of exposure to nature. We work mainly at Myers Middle School and Albany High School. But the milk jug miniature greenhouse project gives us a chance to introduce ourselves to other schools around the city, to talk about our vision for engaging kids who do not regard the school day as a positive experience and to test our capacity to do more without committing to year-round care for a garden.

And making the greenhouses is not nearly the end of this initiative. We’re sowing cold-hardy seeds in each milk jug. We’re setting the jugs outside immediately. And we expect to see green shoots emerge when warmer weather arrives. So, we will go back to each class as those new plants gain just a bit of size — timing depends on the weather, but April and May seem likely — and open the jugs with students and taste edible leaves of some, pot up others and transplant some into garden soil. And we would be thrilled to have new volunteer friends on hand for that.

It would be great to hear from you – by email to [email protected] or text to 518-728-6799 -if you will attend one of the training session, though letting us know is not a requirement.

We guided about 500 students in making 500 greenhouses in 2022 and then some 750 students making 750 greenhouses last year. And phew, we need a bigger team if we’re going to do that again. But with your help, we can provide loads of personal attention, which makes a difference in the lives of kids with great needs.

— Bill Stoneman

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