child with a growing pepper!
Thank you to all our staff, supporters, and volunteers for making Martha’s Table’s greenhouse a reality! It’s the meeting point between Martha’s Table’s Food and Nutrition Program and the Education Programs as it serves as both a source of production and as a vehicle for education!
The goal is to produce a harvest that can be used to support our prepared food programs. The greenhouse provides access to fresh nutritious foods and improves the quality of life of the children in our programs. It also helps inform individuals about healthy food choices.
The greenhouse curriculum teaches children where fruits and vegetables come from, how they are grown and their health benefits. All children take part in the daily greenhouse responsibilities. Lesson plans and activities were developed for specific age groups. We selected books and supporting material to complement weekly lessons. Children in the daycare and kids programs learn about greenhouse basics and the five senses. Eight to twelve year olds learn about the inner workings of a greenhouse, the different growing mediums, and photosynthesis. In the near future, older students will develop entrepreneurial skills through the production and selling of herbs.
The greenhouse was inaugurated in April 2013; hence our first growing season (Summer 2013) got off to a late start. There are several lessons learned: buying greenhouse variety seeds, developing a planting calendar to track when and how certain plants should be started, thorough monitoring for diseases and pests, consistent and correct watering practices, and heat control during the summer. Moving forward, our gained knowledge will improve yields. For the winter season we will plant tomatoes, leafy greens, broccoli and peppers.
Even in its infant stage, the greenhouse has been a great learning experience for staff, volunteers and children alike. We are excited about what’s to come; as the yields grow so do the possibilities!