MEXICO – Lindsay MacMillan decided to use her love of gardening to help teach her students about the scientific method.

As a result, Mountain Valley Middle School may very well have lots of really local flowers and vegetables in time for the beginning of the next school year.

Right now, her classroom window is lined with tomato and bean seedlings, as well as with some marigolds and cosmos. In a couple of weeks, these seedlings will be planted along with lots more seeds, all depending upon the generosity of the community.

“It’s all hands-on,” she said.

Some students have been researching soils and the direction the wind blows at the site of the garden beds. Others have researched the acidity of the rainfall. And about 15 students regularly stay late once a week to care for the growing plants.

Elizabeth Bishop, a student who lives in Mexico, has been busy helping with garden ideas and plans to donate flower seeds and a trellis. She hopes to transplant many of the seedlings into the middle school garden, and she also plans to come by and help weed once a week throughout the summer.

“It’s really cool to see the plants get bigger everyday and to know you helped create it,” she said.

Although her family doesn’t have a garden this year, she said the family has started a compost heap and hopes to plant one next year.

Kasey Zadakis said she used to help her grandmother weed her garden.

“I like the flowers and their beauty. Vegetables can be very helpful, too, because they help with a budget,” she said.

Misty Steward is studying the impact of the wind on the garden space planned for planting at the school. She said shrubs may have to be planted around the garden to protect the tender seedlings.

She also hopes to work in the garden over the summer.

“I want to get down and dirty,” she said of working in the soil.

MacMillan, a Greenwood resident, said she plans to come by the school each week throughout the summer to work in the garden and check on how it is doing. She said other teachers have also volunteered to help out. This is the first year for launching the garden. If all goes well, it will be done again next year and expanded.

“We’ll find out where the interest is,” she said.

She said she, district nutrition director Jeanne LaPointe, and four of her students traveled to Belfast earlier in the year to learn how the middle school there planned its garden.

Hopes are to use some of the vegetables in the school nutrition program in the fall and with the Family Consumer Science class.

Several people or businesses have donated seedlings, soil, or other gardening necessities, but more is needed to build the beds, work the soil, and compost the vegetables. Anyone wishing to make donations may contact Lindsay at the middle school at 364-7926.

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