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Schools Learn the Benefits and Joys of Gardening in Manitoba’s North

Helen Betty Osborne, Norway House, MB

Photo Credits: HBOIERC Photography Students

HELEN BETTY OSBORNE ININIW EDUCATION RESOURCE CENTRE
Norway House, Manitoba

Helen Betty Osborne, Norway House, MBWe first started gardening in our school during the 2016-17 school year. We purchased 60 Rubbermaid containers and placed them in an open area at the center of our school. Each class was assigned a bin and were responsible, during the school year, for that bin. The location was perfect because it had large windows encircling the area so students could see the vegetables as they grew. Our yield this first year was good but we wanted to expand into a bigger, more open area. The second year saw more volunteers helping out, and, with the help of some farm equipment, we were able to create a much bigger garden.

The garden is currently approximately 11000 square feet. We had about 8 staff members who contributed to the garden and also numerous student volunteers. Next year we plan on setting up a basic irrigation system, a fence to protect it from animals, and purchase or build a shed to store the gardening equipment. We have plans to increase the depth of the soil in the future since some of it is shallow and also want to purchase more equipment that will help us make the garden more productive.

The vegetables we grew the second year included:
Carrots, Potatoes, Parsnip, Radishes, Lettuce, Tomatoes, Onions, Pumpkin, Kale, Cucumbers, Corn, Cabbage, Zucchini, Squash, Beans, Peas. and Beets..

The vegetables we harvested this year were distributed throughout the community. We hoped to encourage local community members to begin their own gardens. We have had meetings with Band members who were impressed with our growth and who want to start a community garden of their own. Some of the vegetables were also claimed by our school kitchen and served to the students and staff during lunchtime. Most were impressed with the size and taste of the vegetables.

Our goals for the garden have been successfully achieved this year. We have learned a great deal from this second year and hope to put our new skills and knowledge into improving our yields in the years to come. Problems will be overcome with time and practice and we know that our students and community learn the benefits and joys of gardening on their own.

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