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Gardening Clubs Continue District-Wide Despite Colder Weather

CCS gardening club

December 8, 2022 -- Colder months are now here, but the gardening clubs at Columbus City Schools are warming up thanks to new indoor composts.

Students at Georgian Heights Elementary School have layered 2-liter bottles with dirt, grass, leaves, and other items to create the indoor composts. The bottles sit in the windows of the school and are watered regularly, as plants become visible.

Special Needs Preschool Teacher Victoria Johnson said the idea started after she took a class about school gardening at The Ohio State University. 

CCS gardening club“Originally we just planted in the raised beds outside, but we wanted to step it up after COVID,” Johnson said. “We approached the principal about creating an indoor garden space. It’s a place people can come when it’s too chilly outside for recess but still have a chance to be among the greenery.”

Many schools throughout the District have gardening clubs which take place outside. Johnson’s club is among the first to make the transition inside for students to continue their work. Her students use materials like eggshells and coffee grounds for composting. 

“Compost is a way we can add healthy nutrients to the soil to help plants grow,” Johnson said.

First grader Gianna Thomas is learning about how composting and gardening work. 

“I like filling the compost up with paper and grass,” she said. “It was cool to use my hands and feel everything.”

Johnson said having the composts inside allows her to work with more students and not have to rely on good weather to host gardening club meetings. 

At Liberty Elementary, students are finding different ways of getting plants to grow outside as temperatures drop.

“We get a paper towel, glue, and seeds. That way when we go outside, the wind doesn’t blow it off and the glue is moisture, it helps the plant grow,” said fifth grader Maddox Ferguson.

Students at Liberty began planting seeds outside their library in the fall. Ferguson said as the plants grow, a sheet will be placed over them so they don’t get icy

Liberty Gardening Club leader and Librarian Diana Hunter said using paper towels and glue to plant seeds outside has proved successful for previous students at the school.

“That was new to me, and I questioned it. But glue is basically water and flour, that makes sense because it’s not going to kill the seed, the water will cause it to dilute and the more water you put on it the more that will loosen up,” Hunter said.

Many of the gardening clubs in the District allow students to take plants home. Both Johnson and Hunter said the clubs keep students excited throughout the school year.

“Most of them haven’t had a one-on-one with plants. They don’t know how the process starts, so to them it’s amazing that this little seed in a cup becomes a plant, but now they get to actually see the process,” Hunter said.

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