Leslie Ferguson-Packard and Ms. Brittany DiPompo’s 3rd grade class


As we jump in with two feet to the warmth of summer, I want to thank some people who have helped with our RLRS school garden project this year.  Sometime in the cold months of winter, Leslie and Paul Ferguson-Packard reached out to the school with a donation for the garden.  In the attached note, they offered to help me to set up an irrigation system so that the garden would be watered on a more regular basis throughout the summer. I said YES! Later on, Maine Ag in the Classroom (MAITC) offered an emergency school garden grant opportunity which I applied for and received to help pay for the water collection system, as well as pump, hose, and gutters.  With Paul and Leslie’s advice, we have expanded the garden beds to almost double what they were.  Mike Schrader, who has been a regular garden  helper since the early days of the school garden, was once again called upon to help.

Alison Loud’s students looking at the guest worms from Fixit Farm

Each class in the elementary wing has planted a small bed. Themes include a pea garden, pizza garden, stone soup garden, sunflowers, strawberries, potatoes, and salsa garden.  Kids have previously planted seeds and helped to transplant seedlings under grow lights. They continued to watch as the plants  were hardened off awaiting the magic time when the danger of frost was past.

Leslie, of Fixit Farm, brought her worms for the kids to meet and she guided them in some of their planting and shared her enthusiasm and generations- deep gardening knowledge. Paul has worked right alongside Leslie in engineering and refiguring the irrigation system including installing a garden shed for our tools.  We are truly fortunate to have so many people supporting this  garden.

Ridge Savage, Braydon Johnson, Leslie Ferguson-Packard, Skyler Thompson, Gavin Walsh, Finn Loud, Marshall Beaulieu

Students will also be able to experience  a 2021 new book called Tommy The Special Tomato written by Carrie Bergeron, a person with Down Syndrome.  This book will be set up in the garden for people to enjoy as a book walk.  Carrie is excited that we will have her book on display near the garden and wants people to treat others with Down Syndrome or other disabilities with kindness and respect. We are grateful to Faith, Jared, and Gabe Richard for their donation of four copies of the book to our school.

Gabe Richard holding a worm.

As the school year comes to an end, the garden will grow, and it will need to be tended over the summer.  If you and your child(ren) want to help, please contact me at [email protected].

Alison Loud’s 2nd grade class planting a pizza garden.

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