Friday, April 7, 2017

Spring Garden Update

The Absegami sustainability team and science students have been hard at work over the last few weeks getting the gardens ready for spring and summer. Since last post, we readied all garden beds and completed the first planting of the following:

  • Beets
  • Yellow Onions
  • Red Onions
  • Chard
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Potatoes
  • Green Onions
  • Turnips
  • Carrots
  • Radishes 
  • Herbs

In addition, up in the Green House, we have all of our seedlings coming up nicely for our summer crops, which include; tomatoes, peppers, herbs, melons, squash, cucumber, and many others. As if there wasn't enough work to do in both gardens, we decided to add a chicken coop to the mix and have recently begun raising 6 chickens. The coop will fit nicely in our sustainable garden and we can't wait to get the chickens in there later this spring.  

In the meantime, the chickens are nice and cozy up in our science wing and getting to know all of our students.  It's gonna be a great summer at Absegami!!!

Monday, February 27, 2017

When it's 70 degrees in February....Prepping the Garden for spring planting.

As I am sure many of you did, we took full advantage of our beautiful February spring like weather last week. This year we are expanding our garden into a new courtyard so we had plenty of work to do including cleaning out old raised beds and filling with new top soil, tilling our beds from last year, extending our pollination garden, and installing a cold frame so we can begin the planting process now. We had the help of over 40 amazing students and teachers and a lot was accomplished in a short period of time. Inside, our Green House is already filling with seedlings that should be ready for transplant throughout the spring. I will post pictures throughout the season, but take a look at all we did last week below.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Fall is here in the Absegami Sustainable Garden

To take a line from Game of Thrones....."Winter Fall is Coming" Finally!

The Absegami garden is abuzz with a fall harvest and planting. The pics below show some of our pickings from this week as well as our first set of the pumpkins we planted in April. Students in Biology, Environmental Science, and Sustainability have been out doing scavenger hunts, collecting samples, and identifying organisms present in the garden, and harvesting for our culinary department. We planted beets, spinach, and lettuce all of which are already producing usable plants. See the pics below and look out for more information!!

 A few sunflower samples....
                                    Casper and Orange                                                                     Pumpkins

In addition, we are proud to announce that, last week, our Culinary students were able to make homemade Pesto with Basil from the garden and sell it to staff. We were able to make over 10 jars of Pesto. More information on products to come....

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Absegami Sustainable Food Garden Update August 2016

Good morning everyone, it has been a very busy summer in Absegami's Food Garden. To date, we have picked over 140 pounds of fresh vegetables and herbs. Staff have been sending in recipes and pictures of their dishes made with the produce and we have truly created a co-op mentality. On Tuesday August 15th, about 20 teachers, students, staff, and former students worked to harvest approximately 70 pounds of tomatoes, potatoes, chard, peppers, leeks, green onions, carrots, and beets (see pics below). This has put us over the 200 pound mark in terms of total production. In addition, we weeded the pumpkin patch, cleaned out beds, and planted for the fall season. Thank you to all who participated!! Your work is much appreciated.

As we move into a new school year our goal continues to be the same: provide locally grown, organic produce to students, staff, and community members. By engaging students in the entire process we have shaped their eating habits to come to appreciate freshly grown produce. Beginning in September, our culinary department will work on recipes and dishes that incorporate the many forms of produce we have available. In the coming months, look for more information on "Gami Gourmet" featuring dishes utilizing food from the garden.  We are very excited to evolve this project into year two and have already begun planning for the spring plant. If there is anything you would like to see in the garden, feel free to contact us.

We aren't just growing food at Absegami. Our butterfly garden has been abuzz with activity all summer. The plants are truly doing their job as pollinators of many varieties have been visiting the garden on a daily basis. It is incredible to see nature at work in our backyard.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

More construction photos....

Here are some more pictures during construction and our first harvest. So far we have been able to harvest over 25 pounds of produce. We have picked radishes, spinach, lettuce, basil, parsley, mint, cilantro, and swiss chard.

Pre Planting-early February 2016

Planting of Pumpkins for Fall

Harvesting lettuce that was turned into a salad by culinary students.

Planting tomatoes and peppers. The newspaper helps keep the weeds down. 

Rooftop View May 2016

May 2016

Lettuce Bed

Spinach Bed 

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Creating a Sustainable School Garden: The more Green Thumbs the better.

Well it has been over a year in the planning and preparation, but we finally succeeded in creating a sustainable garden at Absegami High School. To say the garden is a success is an understatement; after careful design, planting, organizing, etc we have been able to harvest over 15 pounds of produce already this spring and are preparing to plant our summer crops as of the writing of this blog. This garden stemmed from the ideas and dedication of numerous staff members, especially Kerry Flukey, Chris Bell, and Don Matousch. Without their efforts, the space would still be a desolate courtyard not to be enjoyed by any students or staff members. But, instead, we have over 20 crops, a native plant garden, and seating areas for all members of the school community to use. The garden was fully funded through grants awarded from Atlanticare Healthy Schools and the Sustainable Jersey for schools programs. This project will continue to evolve based on student and teacher input and our hope is we will be cooking freshly grown produce in our culinary classes next year to be served to staff and students. I will continually update the blog as we move forward, so look for more news!! Our next big event is the LPGA visit on June 2nd. In addition to Kerry, Don, and Chris; a special thanks to Bre Baker, Katy Cardwell, Amanda Baldyga, Katie Taylor, and the many students who helped get this project off the ground!

   At the start of the project in February 2016:

Now--May 2016: