Fresh local lettuce….in January?

Willsboro students try indoor gardening

indoor lettuce
Sixth grader Isabella Green waters lettuce and other plants in an indoor garden at Willsboro Central School on Jan. 30, 2020. Melissa Hart photo

Students in fourth, fifth and sixth grades at Willsboro Central School have been experimenting with growing vegetables and herbs indoors, in three grow carts set up with lights in one of the classrooms. According to teacher Tara Valachovic, the supplies were purchased with a STEM grant and so far the students have grown spinach, lettuce, basil, parsley, tomatoes and cucumbers. In addition to being able to sample the fresh foods grown in the middle of winter, some of the herbs and greens have been turned into school lunches by cafeteria staff, giving new meaning to eating local.

The garden has also been used in school curriculum. In one lesson the students used the live plants to help them identify the parts of a flower, and have also “dissected” plants to see what’s inside, making the garden a useful learning tool as well as a shining oasis of green on a cold winter’s day.

Sixth grader Jayden King waters some of the plants in Willsboro Central School’s indoor garden.

About Melissa Hart

Melissa is a journalist with experience as a reporter and editor , combined with work for nonprofits. As the Explorer's digital editor, she serves as editor of Adirondack Almanack.(com) and helps manage the Explorer's website. When not online, she enjoys hiking, camping and other outdoors activities, and spending time with her husband, their twin daughters, and rescue animals -- two dogs and two cats.

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