The 2018 redesign of the Mayne Island School garden to create a lower maintenance, higher yield learning garden has been a wonderful example of the amazing things that can be accomplished by a team effort. The school team set out a multi-year plan to restructure the garden beds, replenish the soil, define perimeter beds, compost stations, upgrade the irrigation system and introduce a new state of the art wicking bed that conserves water.

This year we saw a dramatic clean-up of the garden, new landscape fabric laid with wood chips distributed and new plants introduced. We are now seeing the success of our hard work with snap peas, tomatoes and raspberries almost ready to harvest, and beautiful potato plants, pumpkins, zucchini and sweet peppers in full bloom. Great care was given to ensuring a long term garden strategy was in place and foundational partnerships with community organizations were created to ensure the garden would be an inviting and productive learning space for the students, staff and the community for many years to come.

Students, staff, and community came together throughout the year to learn from and with each other in a hands on way about seeds, compost, plant growth, and so much more. Working together to accomplish a shared goal was a highly motivating and transformative experience for all. A highlight for many students was our weekly ‘garden walks’ where students would identify how the plants were changing, and at what rate, and make predictions on which plants would be first to be ready for harvest.

Math lessons and literacy activities were weaved into our garden lessons as student journaled about their garden experiences, read literature about garden elements and practiced their measurement lessons by calculating the volume of the garden beds to determine the amount of soil needing to be ordered. An especially exciting moment for many was seeing the school gardeners featured on the front page of our local newspaper! We are looking forward to the next phase in the Fall when we redesign the greenhouse and introduce an Indigenous Garden.