Weather: 36º F, Cloudy
Every fall, I look forward to a celebration of the harvest season with a salad in the school gardens I work with. However, each year is different, with some being more abundant than others. This fall was fantastic for the Winton Hills Academy school garden. We planted radishes, lettuce and carrots on September 7th , and on November 2nd, I came to the garden again to help harvest lettuce and radishes overflowing from the beds. The carrots, having significant weed competition, were small and still needed more time. This was the second salad harvest of the fall from their garden.
Two kindergarten classes helped harvest lettuce leaves and radishes, rinse them, spin them dry in the salad spinner and eat the salad. After that, we harvested the rest of the lettuce and it almost filled a large plastic storage bin. We rinsed and spun this lettuce too, and bagged it up. The school community decided to share their extra garden bounty, so they added it to the weekly after school food distribution of La Soupe soups.
Even with a small amount of food growing in the garden, giving students a chance to taste what they’ve grown keeps them excited about gardening. Students of all ages can easily use small scissors to cut the lettuce leaves, leaving about one inch above the soil level so that the plant can continue to grow. Most kids will happily eat a plate of salad first thing in the school day and ask for seconds if they were a part of the process of getting it onto their plate.