Students sifting beans from garden
In May, Burundi 4-H Staff, a local Agricultural Consultant, and two Educators toured our four sister school gardens sites to provide on-going support, and to check on the progress of the Burundi 4-H School Gardens Program. At each school the visiting team was greeted by school administrators, teachers and students who were eager to show them their gardens! One of the schools has organized their garden into 12 small gardens, where they have assigned groups of 4 students to each garden to track the development and progress of their gardens. By the time of the visit to the schools, many of the vegetables had been harvested! They have been growing carrots, beans, cabbage, amaranth, eggplant, and papaya.
The biggest challenge for all of the schools this year was the lack of water. They reported that the normal rains did not come as anticipated this year. Because it is financially prohibitive for them to use tap water for their gardens, some of the plants (especially cabbage) suffered. Other challenges were related to knowledge about compost, manure/fertilizer, and pesticide applications. And, lack of basic farming and watering tools continues to be a challenge.
Students and teachers shared some of what they have learned during this gardening season:
- Some plants will not grow in our soil so we need to add manure to the soil
- Plants grow very well when they are spaced and planted in rows - better than in the villages where plants are not grown in rows
- Some plants need more water than others to thrive
They also shared some of the benefits of the School Gardens:
- Students are taking some of the garden produce to share with their families
- Students are taking home small plants to plant gardens at their homes
- Teachers use the school gardens and curriculum to teach lessons about plant health, pests and the environment
Looking ahead to the next growing season, the hope is to have more gardening tools available and to have water catchment systems in place, where needed for irrigation. In order for this to become a reality for the kids in Burundi, more funds need to be raised to help the School Gardens Program Grow! You Can Help! JOIN US! By continuing your generous support of the Burundi 4-H Sister School Garden Program!
Learning math skills: Weighing beans from garden