Last year, as part of their science curriculum, Chesnut’s Kindergarteners started sweet potato slips in their classrooms, which they planted in Chesnut Garden on the last day of school. It was only fitting then, that they be the ones to dig in the dirt this fall to see what had become of their crop.
They had planted two beds of sweet potatoes and, unintentionally, a third (when vines sprung up in the compost bed where the starter potatoes had been left to decompose).
Pitchforks in hand, Garden Leader Carissa Malone, two mothers from Ms. Radford’s class and first grade teachers Ms. Jordan, Ms. Radford and Ms. Landis guided the children’s garden work. The kids could recall the process of growing and planting their sweet potato slips, and had a blast hunting for the rewards of their work and patience.
After wiping off their sweet potatoes with paper towels, the student farmers weighed them, and divided the harvest into brown bags to take home and share with their families. The sweet potato vines (which could also be prepared like any leafy green and eaten), were added to Chesnut Garden’s new compost tumblers, where they’ll become rich soil amendment for future crops.
Ms. Jordan concluded the outing with a math exercise as the students gathered on the tree stump seats, to calculate the total pounds harvested: 31.4 — enough to send every child home with a sweet potato, and hopefully, something more. Like a taste of the feeling of self-sufficiency.