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The Garden Club

Simonton's Garden of Awesomeness

Love to garden? Looking for ways to donate your time to Simonton Elementary? Come join us in the Garden!

We would love your help in the garden. We need assistance transporting garden supplies from the supplier(s) to the school garden. Sometimes we need extra hands to dig in the dirt. Additionally, we would like help distributing fliers for fundraisers benefiting the school garden. There are many ways to provide help in and with the garden. Whether you can help for one hour or five, we will greatly appreciate your help.

For more information or to obtain a volunteer form, please contact Jamie Jugler, Simonton Elementary Attendance Clerk at 480-987-5330 x 5532.
 
 

"Educating future gardeners while growing a community"

 
 

Garden Update

End of the Year 2015 - 2016

We just completed yet another garden club. Several positive things occurred this year. First, our club membership increased. Secondly, club membership was open to all grades, not just fourth-sixth graders. We added two additional garden club sponsors, Simonton teachers, to help with our after school club meetings. A Simonton parent and her daughter attended several of our meetings.

Harvest Times and Crops

Our harvests were larger this school year. With each harvest, we approximated the weight of the fruits and vegetables. We documented what we harvested and who benefited from nature’s bounty.

This year we grew a wider variety of crops. We grew carrots, spinach, and white onions. Purple onions, mortgage lifter tomatoes, Swiss chard, radishes, beets, and Chinese cabbage were new additions to Simonton’s Garden of Awesomeness. This year we also grew nasturtiums, edible flowers, and leaves. We also incorporated petunias, moss roses, and daffodil bulbs. Some of the regular crops we grew were broccoli, snow and sugar snap peas, lettuce, squash, and basil. Marigolds and sunflowers are flowers we grow on an annual basis.

Garden club members and their families benefited from our harvests. Our garden sponsors, garden coordinator, several Simonton teachers, and PTO members enjoyed some of the produce. Simonton’s administration and maintenance team benefited from the fresh produce also.

Peas, broccoli, and tomatoes were kid favorites. Swiss chard, kale, radishes, and beets are some of the crops that people tasted for the first time. We had several converts to Swiss chard and kale. They are both delicious and nutritious raw, braised, baked, and steamed.

Recycling Program

This year we gave some plant material to feed chickens and geese. A couple of our garden club families have chickens and geese, so we were able to share our plants with their birds. The birds enjoyed pea plants, cabbage leaves, Swiss chards, and radish leaves. They were happy to receive the good food. Happy chickens mean more eggs. It was a win-win for everyone!

In our lasagna garden box, we added expired plant material that we will compost into the bed.
The McDonald’s coffee grounds recycling program is an ongoing process that will continue to reduce consumer waste. Our school gardening programs benefit from the green material for our composting area and around our plants.

Once again, we had a great group of children and youth in our garden club program. Our talented group of participants is amazing. They seemed to enjoy the program. They never tired of digging in the dirt, planting new things, bug hunting, and the joy of discovering new plant growth.

Club News - May 2016

Leadership Days

In preparation for our Leadership Days, the garden leadership team worked with Simonton’s garden club to create a demo board. Children from the garden leadership team picked a fresh harvest of produce for each leadership day celebration. They selected carrots, beets, radishes, kale, oregano, basil, sunflowers, and marigolds for the events.

During the presentation, student leaders provided gardening related information to Simonton families. The following day, community members were at Simonton Elementary to receive information about our Leader in Me Program, our clubs, and our school.

The garden leadership team did an amazing job. They participated in the event from start to finish. It was defiantly a student inspired and student driven event.

Thanks to our students for great enthusiasm as garden leaders. I am grateful for your support, time, and positive attitudes.

Thanks to our garden club group who worked so well on all things gardening related. It was very special that you and the garden leadership group were able to prepare for the special day. After all, it is all about creating fun and memorable opportunities while growing leaders. Thank you again for the great things you do!

Garden Club News - April 2016

Simonton's garden of awesomeness is partnering with McDonald's! McDonald's has a coffee grounds recycling program, and our garden club coordinator Sherri accepted the donation. We are pleased to be part of this good neighbor program in our community. Thank you, Sherri for all you do to support the garden!
 
 
Garden Club News - March 2016

During spring break, Mrs. Booth and her two children, Mrs. Tschoepe, Ms. Lovelady, and our garden coordinator spent time in the garden. Ms. Lovelady brought worms to the garden. Mrs. Booth’s boys happily added them into a garden box. Mrs. Tschoepe purchased four tomato plants and six sugar baby watermelon plants to donate to the garden.

Our time together was fun. It was a hot watching the little ones working with the worms and digging in the dirt. Getting to know one another, a little better was one of the benefits of the day. It was especially enjoyable to come together as a team while pulling weeds, adding transplants to the garden, and watering the new and existing plants.

Thanks to Mrs. Booth, her kiddos, Mrs. Tschoepe, and Ms. Lovelady for their labor, plants, and worms. Gardening together was a terrific way to celebrate the beautiful springtime weather.

Garden Club News - December 2015

Winter break was a terrific time to conduct routine gardening maintenance. We removed expired plants from the garden beds. Then we moved the plants into an empty garden box. The plant material will breakdown and become compost. The compost area is a relatively new addition to the garden. The lasagna garden will demonstrate another method of recycling, composting, and enriching the soil while showing the Simonton youth a different planting method.

Just prior to New Year’s Eve, our garden coordinator sowed red onions into a garden box. Then, we added a thin layer of composted mulch at the base of the bedding plants. Mulch will benefit the plants by keeping the soil from drying out and reducing weeds. It was a win-win in the garden. The garden benefited from the extra attention. The garden coordinator enjoyed the exercise and quite time in the garden.

A lavender plant was added to a planting container which just so happens to be a stack of old tires. The tire planters are just another way we are recycling and repurposing materials in the garden. There are three sets of tires, three tires per set, that we spray painted festive colors to bring more beauty into the garden area.

Garden Club News - November 2015

The LDS service team came prepared for work. They brought breakfast, water, juice, snacks and tools. Their team included people of all ages who came together one Saturday morning. Their mission was to help with gardening site maintenance, clean up, and planting projects.

The service team planted vegetables and pulled weeds. Furthermore, they dug up Bermuda grass. It took a team of determined people to remove the Bermuda grass and a tall plant that was deeply rooted in a raised garden box. The removed the grass and the large plant to free up space for future plantings of fruits, vegetables, and flowers.

We removed soil from one garden bed to make way for a demonstration garden, a lasagna garden.

Thank you to everyone who made the day flow smoothly. It was a great day of teamwork and cooperation as well as a terrific family outing. We are grateful for the community support.

Garden Club News - October 2015

What’s been growing in Simonton’s Garden of Awesomeness? Our gardeners planted broccoli, purple cabbages, white onions, and onions directly into a raised garden box. The pea, legume, seeds were hand sown into the same garden box. All of the aforementioned were plants that we added in the school garden, prior to winter break. Simonton’s garden participants incorporated the plants into the garden during an after-school club meeting.

Fall Festival

During Simonton’s annual fall festival, our garden coordinator set up a display featuring our garden pavers, gardening related posters, signage, and a Kneaders Bakery gift basket.

Garden Club News - August 2015

In August, there was a garden themed display during the meet the teacher night at Simonton Elementary School. Kneaders Bakery graciously donated a gift basket for the event. Simonton’s garden coordinator was available to answer questions about our upcoming garden club meetings. School gardening related posters and signage adorned the table. Fresh flowers rounded out the setting with a touch of color and beauty.

Garden Update 2015-2016

We have an active garden club that meets every Monday after school. We have had community members come in and volunteer with the garden, donations from a local nursery, and have been gifted a tiller from the district landscaping company. Our garden club is a wonderful addition to our school. Even the kindergarten uses it. They release their "home grown" butterflies each year in our beautiful garden. Thank you to all our volunteers and benefactors.

Kind Regards,

Sherri Crosslin
Kathryn Sue
Simonton Garden Coordinator