But that's just not me, I eagerly placed some calls to some local schools and rushed off to meet with members of their staff who work in the school greenhouses. I visited one of the schools this morning and I'll be visiting two more tomorrow. It was a little confusing walking in as my phone call hadn't been received with certainty. They knew I was coming and were glad to have me but the school, North Dundas District High, doesn't have anyone in charge of their greenhouse, teachers just use it whenever they need it. Nobody really coordinates anything and so to talk to anybody about the greenhouse is nearly impossible as nobody really knew anything about it other than it was there and that so long as they had a key, it was open for them to teach with.
So after a tour of the school from one of my good friends, I asked them to take me to a teacher who could let me into the greenhouse and in the end it was the vice principal who granted my request. She has only been at the school for about a month or so herself so really couldn't tell me much about it but she got me inside and so I was able to look around and see what plants were really growing inside. They had a small bed planted with beans and lettuce and afterwards when I returned with the EA (educational assistant) who was responsible for this planting, her and the two students who she supervised offered that I try one of the beans. Of course I couldn't resist.
I hope they do implement some changes to improve the facility. The most important change (and it wouldn't be all that hard to do) is to improve the soil. It hasn't been improved or enriched for years and as we all know, it is the soil which is the basis for beautiful plants. This of course means there is a limit to the plants they can grow and some students have actually started referring to the greenhouse as the "brownhouse" noting this lack of plants which other than the small vegetable bed and a few plants being overwintered for the staff, doesn't contain much.
Ms. Dubois did comment on the intrigue that has been created since starting the small vegetable patch. Her goal was to start the ball rolling. She figured bringing in a few plants and being seen inside the greenhouse regularly would get students and other teachers interested in using the greenhouse again and she notes that her efforts have not been in vain. Many students have approached her asking what they are doing inside the greenhouse and with her hopes to bring in a picnic table to allow leisure space for students to study or groups such as their enviro-team to meet at. This addition would really promote planting and care of the plants within and would most likely lead to a larger budget allocated to its improvement.
It won't be instant, slowly benches will be removed, soil will be enriched and plants will be added. Herbs for their culinary program, some space allocated to the worldwide Garden Connect project (learn more about Garden Connect here) and of course, some annuals to beautify the community and help raise funds for further improvements. It will be interesting to return in the spring and see if anything has changed. Their greenhouse has potential and I'll be sending them further ideas after my visit tomorrow with the organizer of St. Thomas Aquinas' greenhouse program which is exceptionally well developed. I'll be sure to write about their program after my visit tomorrow so be sure to check back in a few days to hear about it, or take the effortless approach and sign up to my newsletter. Then you'll receive all of the latest news right in your inbox. You can learn more about the newsletter here!