This is NEMJDS’s fifth year to have a Garden Club. It originally began with a vision from Brandon Clark, who is now in 8thgrade at NEMJDS. I got involved simply because Brandon asked me and that is all it took. Brandon and I agreed to learn together. Since then, Garden Club has improved yearly, and we are still growing.
Each year Howard Bearman donates plants to our club and offers much needed advice. He even taught the kids how to take dirt samples and send them off to Auburn University to make sure our soil has enough nutrients. As Garden Club was just beginning, Howard was very helpful in getting us started and taught the kids what to plant in Alabama weather.
This year, we have new volunteers that have joined our team, Dr. Sarah Parcak and Dr. Gregory Mumford. Dr. Greg has been busy reviving the looks of the garden by staining the wood on the garden boxes and the shed. It looks amazing and fresh. Dr. Sarah has been a valuable asset for our students. She has taught them how to start plants from seeds under heat lights. The students prepared the soil and learned how to fertilize the soil. It has also been very important for the students to learn how to tell the difference between a vegetable and a weed.
This year has been amazing. We have planted potatoes, sugar snap peas, kale, lettuce, cucumbers, radishes, onions, tomatoes (more than one kind), strawberries, broccoli, parsley, basil, dill, stevia, mint, thyme, and more. On the last day of Garden Club, the students will have a feast. They will all eat and enjoy the foods they have grown. We have also decided that our club will donate the excess food to a food pantry so that we can help someone who may be hungry.