I struggle to find the right words to accurately describe the Holden Garden Project.
Expanding? Too much of an understatement.
Growing? Too much of a pun.
Thriving? Maybe. Blossoming? Close.
Or how about "stupendously educational?" Maybe too much over the top.
But you get the picture.
Since its inception a few years ago the garden beds at Holden Elementary School have taken flight. Parent volunteers work with the help of local groups such as the Kent Environmental Council and Garden Club of Kent to to educate students about natural food.
Visually, its success is obvious — especially when comparing of virgin soil with the images above, which were shot Friday.
You can see the success in the headlines, too:
With a new school year, students in grades first through fifth are now transitioning into different areas of the garden.
Holden Principal Julie Troman said each grade cultivates a particular area of the garden project, and because fifth graders leave for Stanton Middle School each spring the incoming grade takes over the area planted by their predecessors.
The garden project features separate gardens, including a salad garden — with lettuce and tomatoes — and a flower and butterfly garden, a salsa garden (where you'll find peppers, corn stalks and the like), the "Three Sisters" garden and a Kent history garden.
The idea, parent volunteer Lynn Gregor said, is to give the students a broad range of plants to experience.
The start of the school year means students are doing maintenance on the gardens now. Some new plantings will go in the ground this fall, and during the winter they'll plan for the spring when more plants will take root to grow over the summer, Troman said.
The project, which has been emulated at other Kent schools, teaches children about gardening and all that's involved with growing their own plants for food. Some of the students seem like experts, identifying plants and knowing how to cultivate them. Others shout with joy at tasting a ripe cherry tomato — one girl's first ever fresh from-the-garden treat.
"We plan on harvesting more this coming school year and having the kids eat fresh from their garden," Gregor said.
And thanks to the Whole Kids Foundation grant both the garden project and the school's outdoor classroom will be expanding further with benches and other materials.
Kudos to all the volunteers who help make this happen. It's a great educational tool with boundless opportunities.