With the school year coming to a close in the upcoming weeks, most area teachers are preparing for summer vacation, but others are already planning their lessons for next year and some are getting a green thumb in the process.
“They’re learning how to manage their garden like an outdoor classroom and relate that back to their academic curriculum,” said Abbey Palmer of Michigan State University, who was recently invited to lead a gardening workshop on the campus of Michigan Tech, where she is educating educators.
Palmer said, “We’re also talking about really practical things, like how to manage deer when they get into the garden or what to do with the food if you have extra.”
Abbey’s students are a group of teachers who are learning tips and tricks of gardening that they will use to teach your children in the upcoming school year.
Michigan Tech Professor Joan Chadde said, “Teachers need to be addressing the next generation Michigan science standards.”
One of the things that the group is learning is how to prolong the short grow season that we get here in the Keweenaw.
Palmer said, “So people who want ripe tomatoes can do a little bit with what’s called season extension, where you’re using plastic or an agricultural fabric to cover your plants and protect them from the frost.”
This type of apparatus would produce a greenhouse effect, keeping the plant and the soil warmer for a longer period of time.
Palmer said, “Some of the teachers that are here today have hoop houses that they can use to extend the season by as much as a couple of months.”
She also says that hoop houses are an affective tool for peppers as well.
Along with fall classes where the group will recirculate their learnings, some of the newly acquired knowledge will also be taught in summer gardening programs.
Chadde said, “Learning how to garden, but also learning how to engage students and learning about gardening and it’s such a great part of science and social studies.”