Garden Club Planting Reaps Stellar Harvest

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The recent warm daytime and cool nighttime temperatures made ideal conditions for Frank P. Long Intermediate School Garden Club members to harvest vegetables planted in the school’s courtyard learning lab gardens. There were exclamations of joy and awe as the students examined and then picked the labor of their work: a bright purple eggplant, onions, peppers and a variety of lettuces. The vegetables were bagged and donated to the Lighthouse Mission for an early fall salad for its patrons. 
During the 2018-2019 school year, the District opened its new courtyard learning lab, completed with the use of district capital reserve funds while providing a flexible instructional space and an extension of classroom learning. Vegetable and flower boxes were made available for Garden Club members and classes to beautify the garden plots as part of the science curriculum. 
Previous Garden Club adviser Sarah Rauch said, “The goal of planting vegetables was to beautify the courtyard and to show students where their food comes from.”

Ms. Rauch noted that the students were particularly interested in the way asparagus plants grew. Additionally, Bellport Garden Club volunteers came each week to assist with the planting and weeding and provided the club with a $100 grant to pay for bulbs, plants and tools.

Even Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Giani caught the planting bug. He donated spicy onions from his own home garden for the students to enjoy. “The gardening plots are amazing and a wonderful opportunity for our students to learn how food is grown,” Dr. Giani said.

Frank P. Long Intermediate School teacher Diana Santos is the new Garden Club adviser and has plans in place for imminent planting and science learning with this year’s members, who meet on Tuesday afternoons after school. The students will continue taming the overgrowth and plant additional bulbs that will bloom in spring. The students are even trying to identify a spikey plant that unexpectedly grew among the flowers.