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LaFollette High’s Experimental Garden Club

Posted: 2:59PM December 6th, 2011 | Comments

Last night at the GROW Coalition’s Open Mic Think Tank Night we learned how one physics teacher and two student leaders, Tyler and Alex, are helping to shape and grow a new Experimental Garden Club at LaFollette High School.  The growing began in July 2010 with simple containers of tomatoes, peppers, basil and cucumbers.  This past summer the gardens expanded to a pair of raised beds and now the students have a vision for larger scale vegetable growing in the sunny, nooks  and crannies formed by the school building.  

Alex, Tyler and the other 10 members of the club are eager to experiment by testing and observing, for example, how arugula grows differently in a sunny garden versus indoors.  But they and their fellow garden-clubbers also love the hard labor.   They’ve discovered that the physical exertion of garden creation not only feels good but brings a great sense of accomplishment.

Over the next two years, these students and their teacher envision adding a rain garden, building gardens on existing asphalt, and growing and expanding their composting efforts.  And, along the way, they are asking lots of questions like what kind of plants work in a rain garden?  What will happen if you plant in compost alone?  What is the best design for a vertical cold frame?  Tyler, who is curious about a possible career in landscape architecture, also sees the garden club as a way to help students explore possible career directions.  He’d like to see the Experimental Garden Club help students open their eyes to a variety of career paths  whether they be horticulture, agriculture, landscape architecture or even urban planning.   

Tyler, Alex, and their fellow students, as well as their teacher Jim, are learning by doing.  They are having great fun creating a new and vibrant outdoor space at LaFollette High School and it was darn exciting to hear their story!

Thanks to those who attended last night’s meeting.  And thanks to Clare Seguin, REACH Teacher at Lincoln Elementary, who also shared her story.  You will be hearing more about her work soon.  And, in answer to questions raised last night about rain gardens you may want to check-out this resource:



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