These are the Atkinson Legacy Gardens – Watch Them Grow!
Gardens grow most vigorously in July and August, while kids are on summer break. This is an inherent problem for a school based growing cycle. One solution to this problem we’ve tried at our school is the “Legacy Garden.”
In this model, kids plant crops in the spring, before school ends; those spring plantings then become a harvest project for the incoming fall classes. We’ve done this at Atkinson for a few seasons. We’re still working out the kinks, but we do like how this cycle allows us to have mature vegetables and flowers ready to greet the kids when they return to school in September.
We’ve installed a timed watering system but the plantings still need care over the summer. Families and camp groups have participated in summer care — weeding, monitoring for pests, harvesting and replanting as needed. When classes return in the fall, there is a short harvest window, but we’ve found if the teachers and parent volunteers are ready with plans and lessons, there is time to learn about the harvest, pick the bounty, and prepare delicious foods before the rain begins.
The goal is for each class is to leave behind a legacy garden for a future class to benefit from and enjoy. This is the basic plan:
- In the late spring, classes plant a themed vegetable garden and prepare a “legacy packet” for an incoming class. The legacy packet contains helpful information — garden maps, photos, books, lessons, letters, instructions and recipes.
- The plantings mature over the summer and are ready for harvest in the fall.
- In-coming students don’t harvest what they planted, but rather, they inherit the plantings of their predecessors.
Some garden themes we’ve tried at Atkinson are listed below.
Seeds We Eat
Three Sisters Garden
Stone Soup Garden
Peter Rabbit Garden
Lots of Parsley
Language Class Gardens
Early Spring Gardens
Planting Plans (find out what goes in each garden and where to find it )
All lessons written by Atkinson Elementary parent Nikki Schulak