Buena Vista students, staff enjoy harvest

       Last spring Buena Vista Elementary students planted their first garden. This month they're reaping the harvest.

Buena Vista Montessori Primary teacher Paula Strobl (bending over) and assistant Tabitha Maxwell help students look for fresh flowers and ripe fruits and vegetables in the school's garden this week.
Westside Pioneer photo

       Subdivided into eight same-size plots (one for each class in the 2009-10 school year), the roughly 300-square-foot, timber-bordered space on the east side of the school has produced a bounty of fruits, vegetables and flowers.
       “It was a huge success,” said Clarice Hastings, who teaches Lower Elementary (grades 1-3) students at the all-Montessori school. She thanked the parents who, led by the PTA, watched over the garden during the summer. “It was amazing when we came back,” she said. “I was totally astounded at how great it turned out.”
       Michelle Moore, PTA president, said that during the summer two parents from each classroom came each week and “watered, tended and weeded” the garden. In all, 16 families were involved in the effort.
       So many zucchinis thrived that the PTA was able to make 350 muffins last week - “enough for all the kids,” Moore said.
       Other classrooms are working out their own plans for the bounty, with sharing going on as well, according to Paula Strobl, who teaches ages 3-6. Her class has been scouting for ripe tomatoes and zucchinis in their plot and making a class exercise out of picking flowers and arranging them.
       The school had received a $3,000 grant last year from the Colorado Garden Show that helped the garden get started.
       Among the other edibles are blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, garlic, basil, parsley, potatoes, corn, turnips, squash, onions, mushrooms, cauliflower and cilantro.
       With a ninth classroom added this year, Strobl noted, “we'll have to make our garden bigger.”

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