Deane Coady, retiring (2015) second grade teacher at Claypit Hill, and Mary Patterson, a TA at the time and also a Wayland public schools graduate, began this garden with the help of the Wayland Schools Foundation some years ago. It is ideally situated behind the school, readily viewed from classrooms and next to the playground. Molly Faulkner, whose children attended Claypit years ago, acts as the parent manager and has the support of many teachers, the (also retiring) principal, Debbie Bearse, the custodial staff, and the students.
We plant and harvest so as to get the children as involved as possible, both in the planting, and harvesting, but also for the eating. The cafeteria staff has been great about washing and cutting and preparing salads, sliced vegetables, roasted potatoes, cooked beans and edamame, etc.
About 400 square feet are planted in 8 raised beds ranging from 4×12 to 4x 8 and 3 x 10 plus about 150 feet on the inside border of the fenced perimeter. We believe that permanent beds are the best way to go and simply layer on finished compost twice a year. It turns out to make sense to have a parent “manager” for the garden who works with a teacher inside the school; the parent manager decides (with the teacher) on what to plant, where and when. The teacher helps enlist groups of children who then work with the parent in the garden.
In the middle of the garden there is a rough sawn bench for kids to sit on. Children often come in and sit or poke around by themselves and if Molly is working there they readily volunteer to work – weeding, planting, shoveling compost, digging holes, etc.
Lastly, we’ve held an annual fall sunflower seed estimating contest. We choose the largest head of the Giant Gray Striped variety and exhibit the dried head in a prominent glass case in the lobby; groups of children, some classrooms, compete to come up with the closest estimate; other classrooms are involved in the actual count and the cafeteria serves the roasted and salted seeds to the winners. To review the planting and harvesting schedule, click here.
While the drip irrigation system works off a faucet with a timer, we have a 275 gallon tank connected to a downspout next to the garden; this has a short, low pressure hose attached with a shut off so that children can easily fill watering cans.
Composting. Begun in fall 2011, the bins were built by the Green Team with help from some high school students and a town employee using funds raised by the Green Team through a 5% Day with our local Whole Foods. For more information, please view our composting page.