Just last week here at High Rocks’ Ruby Grow site, we planted tomatoes and peppers. But not all by ourselves, we had some help from kids that go to a nearby school. The kids have been coming by every Friday to learn about growing food and garden care. This is a new development for our farm, but one we welcome with open arms, since it is so important to connect our youth to gardening and healthy food!
One of our major crops is tomatoes, so we started off by teaching the students how to plant a tomato plant and how to care for it. Each kid got to plant one tomato in a hole that was already dug out. So once they placed their transplant in the hole, all they had to do was cover it up. We explained the importance of making sure the plant was snug and securely tamped down into the soil, since the more the soil had contact with the roots, the more be able to utilize the nutrients of the soil. They also learned a bit about soil health and how to help keep soil in tip top shape.
Once they got done planting their tomato plant, they then went over and planted four pepper plants a piece. When you have plenty of hands to help plant, things get done pretty fast! Within an hour we had planted a ninety-foot bed of peppers and a ninety-foot row of tomatoes. This helped us a lot with getting our lonely high tunnel filled up, and well on our way to pumping out some good produce into the community.
We also set aside a plot of our farm specifically for the Elementary schoolers to grow their own food. A little over a month before we planted some spinach in a row, which was harvested and they got to try at school. It has been pretty exciting with them coming by and helping out. Things tend to get done pretty fast and it can be interesting with what they want to know, but it’s been great having them over and getting them closer to local, farm fresh food!