Cortez Middle School
The Cortez Middle School production field and educational garden were built in 2014. The education gardens consists of a high tunnel, pond, raised and in-ground beds and serval experimental plots. The goal of this garden is exploration; it is a living laboratory. We grow a variety of native and non-native crops, our biggest success this summer was our crop of dry land melons, which were not irrigated except for natural precipitation.
The production field is located on the schools old baseball field. It consists of over 25 in ground rows, split into three sections which are rotated seasonally to benefit the health of the soil and maximize growth. In the production field we grow corn, pumpkins, squash, collared greens, potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, beets, river beans, garbanzo beans and a wide variety of flowers. We practice companion planting, crop rotation and natural pest control to keep the production field thriving year after year. Between the education garden and the production field, we have a 70 tree orchard. Local heritage apples, pears, peaches and plums are grown in our orchard.
The Kemper Elementary School garden was built in 2015. Roughly 363 students attend Kemper and every one of these students receives garden class once a month throughout the school year. The Kemper garden consists of several well established fruit trees and shrubs, as well as raised beds for growing seasonal vegetables and tires which have been repurposed as flower containers. The garden is located next to the outside eating area, and the children get to experience the garden every single day.
“I love garden class because you get to learn no matter where you are no matter what the lesson is. My favorite lesson so far has been the life cycle of insects.” - 3rd Grader
These photos are from a recent teacher professional develop workshop. We held a breakout session at the Kemper garden where local teachers got to chance to explore the garden, asking questions and began planning how they can incorporate their school gardens into their curriculum.
The Mesa Elementary School Garden is under construction. The original garden was built in 2016. In the Spring of 2021 we decided to give the garden a much needed makeover. We tore out the old structures, salvaging whatever materials we could. Then we cut away the landscaping fabric to make room for the in ground beds and we left fabric where we want paths to be. Then we planted cover crop in all the bare soil and left it to grow. In the Spring of 2022 the soil should be ready to plant crops in and the 90 bulbs we planted should appear before too long!
“I like the tastings the best because now I really like sweet peppers and I had never tried them before” - 4th Grader
The Mesa garden is currently being redesigned. We began this process in the Spring of 2022. These pictures show us clearing away the landscape fabric to make way for path ways. In fall of 2022 we planted cover crop and almost 100 bulbs.