Kids seeing fruits of their labor

By Lisa Williams Ackley

Staff Writer

CARRYING THE BOUNTY OF THE HARVEST — they picked Monday morning are Brownfield-Denmark Elementary School fourth grade students Rigo Arce, at left, and Billy Watson. (Ackley Photos)

DENMARK — Maine songwriter Dave Mallett’s famous “Garden Song” could be the anthem of the Brownfield-Denmark Elementary School students’ Garden Project:

“Inch by inch, row by row

Gonna make this garden grow

All it takes is a rake and a hoe

And a piece of fertile ground”

Well, with the help and planning of their mentor, Special Services Ed Tech Lanie Buskin, the kids at Brownfield-Denmark Elementary School have carefully planted, tended and now harvested a whole bounty of several different crops!

“We brought in some good soil and we spread lime and compost,” Mrs. Buskin said of herself and the other adults who, literally, helped get the students’ Garden Project off the ground.

“We harvested it today,” said fourth grade student Rigo Arce, Monday afternoon.

“We started planting in May,” Mrs. Buskin said. “Our theme this year is ‘The Three Sisters’ Garden,’ a Native American theme — we have Corn People and Squash People and Bean People. Each year, we will have a different theme. Next year, it might be the Stone Soup Garden or the Pizza Garden!”

“We started the seeds indoors, and then took the seedlings and planted them on June 10th — we didn’t want them to get killed by frost,” said Mrs. Buskin, who is a Master Gardener. “Every class participated. The first graders planted sunflowers and marigolds.”

“The Maine Garden has plants native to our state — blueberries, elderberries and wild strawberries,” Mrs. Buskin explained. “They each have a tag listing their Latin name and their common name. The plan is this fall to go out and identify Maine native trees and put signs on them.”

There are also raised beds, in the students’ garden right outside of their school.

“The Pequawket Kids Association started us off with the Learning Grant through the (University of Maine 4-H Camp & Learning Center at Bryant Pond) for putting up the raised beds,” Mrs. Buskin said. “We have only 32 square feet of gardening space.”

She smiled and said proudly, “This is exciting! We were able to feed two families! We also donated vegetables to Maine Harvest for Hunger (formerly Plant-A-Row) where I volunteer,” she said. “I saw the need, and I’m proud to say the only District funds used were for mulch — they brought it.”

Mrs. Buskin and two other Master Gardeners — Lisa Clifford and Rosemary Wiser — also assisted the group with their gardening endeavor.

The students have an opportunity to do something worthwhile for others, while learning about gardening, at the same time, said Buskin.

Mrs. Buskin said, “A lot of kids don’t know where their food comes from.”

“This morning, we harvested some corn,” Mrs. Buskin said Sept. 12. “Three students made the signs for our gardens — Abigail Hewes, Lexi Parker and Lacie Towle.”

“It’s a whole-school project,” Mrs. Buskin stated. “We hope to get the community involved, next season.”

Mrs. Buskin said the Bradys of Treehouse Farm Greenhouses in Sweden donated all of the annuals for our garden. Linda Brady formerly taught at New Suncook School in Lovell.

“Our raised beds have lettuce, beet greens, broccoli, cabbage and some herbs,” Mrs. Buskin stated. “Our carrots didn’t germinate.”

PKA Garden Club

The Pequawket Kids Association will have a Garden Club as part of its activities for students, said Mrs. Buskin, that will allow other SAD 72 students to learn how to grow vegetables and other plants.

“This afternoon, we’re planting garlic,” she said Monday. “Garlic is planted in the fall, and we will harvest it next year.”

The fourth and fifth grade students prepared a Three Sisters’ Stew on Tuesday using the vegetables harvested on Monday.

“We are going to serve it in a pumpkin tureen,” Mrs. Buskin said Sept. 12.

Asked what they liked best about participating in the Student Garden project, here’s what they had to say:

Tori Lemons — “Planting the corn.”

Lexi Parker — “I think being able to come out here every day and being outside longer — and watering (the plants).”

Kathryn Hamlin — “Picking the corn.”

Billy Watson — “Probably taking the scissors and cutting the squash.”

Sarah Foster — “My favorite part was waiting for it to ripen, so we could pick it and eat it.”

Lacie Towle — I think it was really neat to come out here and plant the seeds and watch them get bigger.”

Rigo Arce — “Harvesting it — that’s my favorite part — harvesting the garden.”

Please follow and like us: