By Ciara Chiesa
7th Grade, Stanislaus County
Gratton Elementary School - Rexann Jensen, Teacher
Once there was a seventh grade girl named Amy. She decided to start a school garden, but not just any garden; she wanted it to be beautiful and useful.
She said, "I will grow flowers, herbs, lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, broccoli, corn, onions, garlic, peas, and potatoes. I will be able to give pretty flowers to my mom, my teachers, and the principal. Also, the school will have healthy and nutritious food to eat that is fresh from the garden."
Her class had just finished learning about the importance of healthy foods in a person's diet. They had also learned about the different food groups and that a person should eat a lot of vegetables each week.
Amy's idea for a school garden soon caught on and more and more students wanted to help Amy with her project. One of her friends suggested that they should try composting to add nutrients to the soil. They looked up ideas on how to compost from the library.
Some of her classmates picked up leaves at recess and some of her friends collected food scraps during lunch from the students to make compost. After the compost was ready, they added it to the soil. They mixed it in so the soil was soft and ready to plant. Then Amy and her classmates dug holes and planted the seeds.
Almost every day there was something to do in the garden. Amy and her classmates pulled weeds, watered the seeds, and made sure they received plenty of sunlight. Once a month Amy even gave them some fertilizer.
One day while she was watering, Amy's friends Lizzy, Mila and Katie came by to see her and her garden. Amy told her friends that she thought her garden was taking too long to grow. She wondered if she had done something wrong.
Lizzy said to give the plants more water. Mila suggested that Amy should give them more fertilizer. Katie told Amy she read that plants grow better when a person sings to them. Amy decided to ask her teacher for some advice too. Her teacher told her to just be patient. Amy chose to go with her teacher's suggestion.
So over the next three weeks, Amy watched and waited for the plants to grow. One day a little green sprout sprang out of the ground. The next day a few more green seedlings popped through the soil. Amy was so excited about her garden growing that she called all her friends and told them about her new discovery. The whole school was excited about the garden now. Lots of students took turns tending to the garden duties, and the plants continued to grow.
Vegetables started appearing. After a few more weeks, they started maturing until finally the day came when the vegetables were ready to be picked. Soon the garden had enough produce that Amy's class was able to make a really good soup and salad for the whole school to try. Some kids had never tried vegetables like these, but because they had helped in the garden, they wanted to see how they would taste. Everybody seemed to like the soup and salad. Some parents called to get the recipe because their children said it was delicious and nutritious.
From that day, Amy realized that while it is smart to have good soil, plenty of water, and fertilizer, one of the most important things of a garden is patience, patience and even more patience. Some things are worth waiting for and Amy and her classmates agreed a garden is worth the work and the wait.