For the past 2 years, the kids at Martha’s Table have been using their green thumbs in the flourishing “Not-So-Secret Garden”. Hidden behind a wall of latticed planters, lies a beautiful garden full of growing vegetables, flowers, and herbs. As you pass through the lattice fence of ivy, under the hanging pots overflowing with flowers, you find yourself amid tall growing stalks of sunflowers, enormous zucchini plants with their massive leaves and blooming orange flowers, tomato plants creeping taller by the day, various herb bushes, and even a sprouting watermelon plant. Such an entrancing environment is only the first step to intrigue the kids at Martha’s Table to learn about plants, gardening, and healthy eating.
From the garden, the children have learned about all sorts of plants, like growing tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, parsley, and basil to name a few, and have watched them all grow in the garden. The kids started by planting seeds in the classrooms, and then brought the sprouts out to be planted in the garden. After weeks of tending the garden, the kids can see what their small sprouts have become. When I asked the kids in the pre-school class what they have learned, they all chimed, “for plants to grow they need water and sun and then they grow and have roots and stems.” And they were right! When the vegetables are ready to be harvested, the teachers will help them pick the vegetables and bring them to the kitchen to use in their lunches. The kids look forward to picking the vegetables, Aaron from the pre-school says, “we can eat them and give them to our mothers.” The excitement of eating the vegetables they have grown themselves encourages the kids to try vegetables they may not have had before. The garden is one of the great ways the kids are learning that being healthy can be fun!
Although the garden is becoming abundant with the seasonal vegetables, the children and staff at Martha’s Table are eager to see what the garden can still become. While everyone is extremely proud of the garden and its success, they believe there is a lot of potential for the garden to continue to grow, expand, and improve. Those at Martha’s Table hope that one day the garden can be filled with more planters, making room for more vegetables for the children to eat—and learn more about healthy eating. As the garden continues to expand, so does the experience that the children take from it. The children are excited to learn about the vegetables, and Martha’s Table is incredibly proud to be able to have them growing right outside their classrooms.
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