How their garden grows:

How their garden grows: Students build greenhouse, container gardens
Posted on 07/06/2022
Morganton, NC – Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Students at Heritage Middle School are putting their heads and green thumbs together for a special project this summer that they hope will benefit the community.

Starting in March, a group of students along with Tim Gallagher, an ELA teacher at HMS, repurposed a bocce court into a greenhouse and raised container garden. They wrote a proposal for a grant through the GEAR UP program, whose funding provided the greenhouse structure, 10 garden containers and soil. They also found funding through Adam Shade and the board of directors at Farm Bureau Insurance for fencing, arbors and plants to start the growing season.

Gallagher said, “Students started the building of the garden by assembling all of the metal beds and placing them in the space. Another team of students came to school on a blustery Saturday and filled all the beds with dirt. Next, I was able to utilize teams of kids throughout the school day to plant and design the layout of the garden. From June 10-30, I had approximately 15 sixth- and eighth-grade students participate in a summer enrichment camp that focused on the garden. In that time frame, students built and installed the greenhouse and installed drip irrigation with a timer. They also learned about pruning, fertilization and general garden maintenance.”

Gallagher said during the camp students cooked an Asian-inspired eggplant dish, squash casserole and zucchini boat pizzas using what grew in the garden. They are currently growing carrots, onions, yellow squash, eggplant, green beans, tomatoes and cucumbers with plans to grow brussel sprouts and winter vegetables in the fall season. Students were able to experience first-hand how food is grown, how to cook it and how to share what they learned to those around them.

The vision for the garden is to expand the space to become a farmer’s market where students could sell their produce and art.

Gallagher said, “I hope the garden can open doors to the community at large by educating and enriching everyone who comes in contact with it. Schools are in the fabric of our community, and I want the community to experience what goes on at school in a different light.”

Superintendent Dr. Mike Swan said, “I am thankful for the dedication of our teachers to create learning atmospheres for our students to thrive, excel and gain leadership qualities. It amazes me that through just planting a garden our middle school students have learned so much about nutrition, science and agriculture.”
HMS Garden
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