By Hannah Bingham
Students at Dewitt Elementary enjoyed getting their hands dirty in the community garden at the school Wednesday morning. The Dewitt Community Garden is a project, along with another community garden at Union College and twenty independent family gardens, which is part of the inaugural year of the Grow Appalachia program in Knox County. It is located in front of the Dewitt Elementary School and is maintained in collaboration with the Lend A Hand Center and members of the Stinking Creek community. The garden consists of six raised beds filled with tomatoes, cucumbers, watermelon, sweet potatoes, peppers, zucchini, onions, lettuce, and eggplant. There are also two tilled plots filled with heirloom beans and corn.
The kindergarten through third grade classes participated in a very fun and informative lesson in gardening. Students learned what different types of plants looked like as each class was given a tour of the garden. Many of the students could already identify certain types of plants. After the tours, each class was given an activity to do. The kindergarten and first grade classes planted their own pumpkin patch. The second grade classes planted three wooden crates with yellow squash. Each student got to plant and cover up their own seed. The third grade class practiced writing and drawing skills by making labels for each of the different plant types to be placed in the beds and at the end of each row. The students will be able to see the progress the garden has made when they return to school in the fall.