Students at Fuquay-Varina Elementary School have been busy playing in the dirt. However, it was all in the name of science as the students built a garden at their school. According to Fuquay-Varina Elementary third grade teacher Jenny Pettus, who has taught at the school for seven years, the garden was extremely successful thanks to the help of several members of the Fuquay-Varina community.
Pettus said the students planted apple trees, tomatoes, broccoli, peppers, cucumber, cantaloupe, blackberries, mint, a fig tree, petunias, impatiens, roses, Asiatic lilies, ranunculus, dahlias and marigolds in the school’s garden this year.
“The garden is used to provide hands-on experiences for students in relation to the science curriculum, which includes the study of plants and soils,” she said.
Pettus said by having students plant a garden they have learned several things. According to Pettus, students learned the properties of soils, composting, planting, plant care, how plants grow, healthy food choices, and benefits of local and organic gardening.
Pettus was able to purchase supplies for the garden thanks to the financial assistance of the Fuquay-Varina Garden Club.
“I have been working with students in the garden every year since I’ve worked at Fuquay-Varina Elementary School,” Pettus said. “This school year (2011-2012), I wrote a grant and was awarded $300 from the Fuquay-Varina Garden Club. I used this money to purchase a variety of plants to enhance the students’ learning in relationship to the science curriculum.”
However, it was not just the Garden Club that helped the school have a successful garden.
“I asked the manager of Home Depot if they would be willing to donate labor to till the garden for us since none of the grant money was permitted to be used to pay for any labor,” Pettus said. “The manager of Home Depot said they could do more than that and they sent out an entire crew to the school! The Home Depot crew installed flower bed boxes and delivered a variety of vegetables and flowers, which the students planted.”
Pettus said the garden has been extremely successful.
“The garden is still producing many vegetables and will continue through the summer. I have encouraged the students to visit the garden with their families over the summer and continue to harvest the vegetables. It has gotten staff as well as students interested in the progress of the garden, the food it is producing, and produced a feeling of pride among the FVES family.”