Sunday, April 21, 2013

Want Updates?

Please click here to head to school's website for more information or please call 508-790-4685 to leave a message for the new gardening committee.

Thank you.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Saying Goodbye

As these little hands grow, may they never forget the warmth of the soil and the magic that it holds.

The Garden at BCHMCPS is a culmination of so many wonderful people's dreams and visions.  As I was called upon by those in the community to become the project coordinator of such a large project, I never would have envisioned moving on from the school and feeling as though I have left behind a huge part of my being.

I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who was such a huge part of the garden's beginnings and successes.  We should all feel very proud of what we accomplished together.  Thank you so much to the numerous parent volunteers, school staff, students, Nan Ingraham, Diana Sherburne, Traci Wyse, retired school principal Ken Keenan, Beth Anne Allen and Mr. Tony Lacina.  Thank you to the Hyannis Youth and Community Center.  Thank you to the Mid-Cape Farmer's Market.  I would also like to thank Pine Harbor Sheds, Reliable Fence, Home Depot, Country Garden, Cape Cod Organic Farm and the Gangemi family for their generosity.

During our first two years we accomplished so much to be proud of:
We met and designed the garden.
We raised necessary funding to start the garden.
We planted seedlings in the classroom.
We constructed over 30 raised beds.
We created wood chipped pathways.
We planted 30 blueberry bushes with the school's students.
We organized an entire school planting day in the spring.
We had guest chickens help us to organically eradicate termites found in the garden.
Kindergartner's participated in a garden exploration morning.
We constructed a custom built storage shed for all the garden supplies.
We acquired all supplies necessary to tend to a garden.
We developed lesson plans.
We ran two enrichment clusters in the school.
We built a worm composter.
We supplemented the school meals with organic vegetables, herbs and fruits grown in the garden.
We donated much needed excess produce to the Noah Shelter of Hyannis.
We donated student created artwork to the Friend's of BCHMCPS auction.
We set up picnic tables in the garden for outdoor lessons and exploration.
We started a composting program in the garden with three compost bins.
We kicked off our Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds lecture series.
We created a blueprint binder with all work to date accomplished and future direction/goals.
We obtained the Enoch Cobb Grant with the help of our new school principal, Marilee Cantelmo.

As the school year began to wind down, a new garden team was formed to take over the ground work that we had laid.  Much of our work is planned to be continued and new programs and ideas will blossom as the garden is handed over to its newest group of caretakers.  I am so very proud to know that the garden will continue to grow in so very many ways, growing into classrooms, the community and mostly of all, growing in peoples' hearts as it has in mine.

Thank you everyone for giving me so many memories that I will cherish always.

~Melissa Caughey,  Project Coordinator 2010-2012.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Summer Garden Reflections

Blueberries, mixed greens and thyme
As each summer draws to a close, it is always a special time of reflection and anticipation. This summer is no different. It holds many memories, not the least of which is our weekly visits to the BCHMCPS Garden.

When Ken and I first began our visits, we were amazed by the level of involvement and commitment our school families were devoting to tend and harvest our garden’s bounty. We were happy to see our colleagues Nancy Miller, Susie Pease, and Ann Marie Melley working side-by-side with students and parents to care for the plants and produce. We were thrilled with our purchase of cukes, green beans, and swiss chard that we would enjoy throughout the following week.

In subsequent visits, we developed a real excitement of what would be growing, and what would be available for purchase. Each week brought new surprises – blueberries, rainbow carrots, many kinds of potatoes, green beans, cukes, swiss chard, and tomatoes, to name some of the delicious produce that was available.

Even more exciting was the interaction we were lucky enough to see of parents, students, and community members, as they worked together, sharing information about the planting process and harvesting tasks, talking about great recipes, and making plans for future plantings and experiences that could be shared with students during the school year, with great anticipation. We looked forward to seeing people who had become friends as a result of our visits. We also looked forward to seeing the teachable moments that were constantly happening around us.

It will be so interesting to follow our BCHMCPS Garden adventures, see what new crops will be flourishing, and watch the learning potential continue to unfold for our school family. A huge thank you to the volunteers who spearheaded this project, and continue to provide our school community with an invaluable experience. We are so very lucky to have such dedicated families supporting our students and school endeavors.

~Mr. and Mrs. Keenan

Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday Morning in the Garden

Today was a fabulous day with community members and school families sharing in harvesting the bounty of fruits and vegetables.  Today we picked blueberries, swiss chard, green beans and 64 cucumbers.  Our beautiful mixed greens and beets were picked too.  They are done for this growing season.  However, we plan to plant some more mixed greens for a Fall crop once school resumes. 

Yet, our growing season is far from over.  We still have tomatoes, herbs, carrots, and potatoes as well as cotton and pigeon peas on their way!  Don't forget to stop on by Tuesdays and Fridays from 8am -10am to pick up your organic locally grown produce for suggested donations.  We have also been extremely fortunate to donate weekly produce from the garden to our local homeless shelter, The Noah Shelter, in Hyannis around the corner from the school. 

We are having a fantastic first year!  Please stop by if you have the time.  We love visitors!

Photo Credit: MJ Keenan

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Help Wanted

What do they say about the best laid plans? 

Due to unforeseen circumstances, the Recreation Division will be taking this summer off volunteering in the garden.  Therefore, we are going to need some help!  Also, because of our summer volunteer crew as it currently exists, we have decided to, for now, postpone selling at the Farmer's Market.  However, during our volunteer hours we will have fresh picked produce available for suggested donations.  This website will keep you up to date as to what is in season.  Feel free to drop by on one of those days and bring home some fresh produce.  No volunteering necessary to take home produce.

Summer Volunteer Schedule

No skills are necessary.  We will train you!  The garden will only be workable on our scheduled dates.

Watering will occur on Monday and Thursday mornings throughout the summer.

Volunteer days will be on the following dates and are subject to change.  Please check this website for updates before you come.  Volunteering will be cancelled due to rain.

The hours for all days will be the same 8am-10am. 

June 28
July 5, 12, 26
August 2, 16, 23, 30

July 1, 8, 22, 29
August 12, 19, 26

July 16
August 6

We hope that you and your family can join us!  We are going to need all the help we can get in order to be successful.  Thank you and we hope to see you there!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Planting Day

Tool and seeds wait for volunteers

 It was a beautiful June Monday morning. The day had arrived.  In every classroom, students had started from seed various vegetable plants.  Now, three weeks old with no further danger of frost, the seedlings were transplanted  by the students into the garden.

Swiss chard

The garden had already been planted with seedlings generously donated by the Cape Cod Organic Farm and blueberry bushes and strawberries donated by Country Garden.  Sixteen classrooms journeyed into our edible classroom that day.


Volunteers young and old assisted over 350 students transfer their classroom seedlings.  We were also joined by Farmer Emily from the Cape Cod Organic Farm.   As expected, some classrooms had greater successes with their seedlings and some classrooms had complete failures.  These were great opportunities for lessons.  We troubleshooted together with the students.  We talked about the hard work and dedication of farmers.  We talked about patience.  We also revisited the life cycle of a seed.  Despite some classroom growing problem, every student planted a seedling thanks to cucumber and bean seedlings donated by the Cape Cod Organic Farm.

Tiny hands plant a bean

 Techniques to planting seedlings were learned by every student that day and by some novice volunteers.  It was great fun to see so many tiny hands do such powerful work!

Tomato bed

After planting, the students were given tours of the garden.  They were all so excited, asking questions and eager to learn.  The day was very rewarding.

Touching the thyme

The best part of the tour was when the students discovered the fresh thyme beds, or as they called them the "pizza plants". 

Listening to directions

Mixed greens

Today, the school is having their field day.  Yesterday, we harvested one bed of our mixed greens lettuce for a tossed salad and hamburger toppings.  I think the cafeteria ladies were impressed!  Monday we will harvest the Swiss Chard for that day's lunch.  The garden has been successful in many ways.  I cannot wait to share more experiences with you about our growing season!

Photo Credits:  M.Caughey

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Feathered Heroines to the Resue

Three Silkie Bantams enjoy a breakfast of bugs
Termites were found in one of the new planting beds at the school.  As we are practicing organic gardening techniques, it was only natural to think of the chickens to help eradicate these unwanted pests.  My friend who owns the farm in Cotuit arrived around 9:30am with a large wire dog crate and three Silkie Bantam chickens. 

We stirred up the soil and then placed the cage inside the raised bed with the chickens inside.  We kept the chickens caged for their safety and to help them focus on the immediate task at hand.  Within seconds of being in the enclosure they got to work.  As they dined on their delicious breakfast of termites, students came outside to see the chickens busy at work.

While the chickens did their part, we planted strawberries, beets and potatos.  Ever so often, we lifted the cage and retilled the soil to unearth a fresh batch of termites.  Soon enough, the chickens were full.  Their crops became pendulous and we knew that they had done their job. 
You can find more pictures in today's copy of the Cape Cod Times on page A3.
Photo Credit:  Tilly's Nest