By Lindsay Velazco
Lower School Science Teacher
This school year has brought many changes, some have been years in the making. When I became Lower School science teacher, the 5-6s food study did not include homegrown food. Little by little the use of the rooftop garden grew. It wasn’t long before we found the parent-made wooden planters had been loved too long.
In addition, we had hopes to supply the kitchen with school-grown herbs and some vegetables. In coordination with numerous faculty and staff as well as parents and farm staff, I am proud to announce our rooftop garden has been completely made over. From six small planters, we have grown to 11 large, lightweight planters, an apple tree and a rain barrel. Currently, the garden has apples, sugar snap peas, corn, strawberries, apples, marigolds, summer squash, tomatoes, basil, soybeans, red kidney beans, potatoes, chives, parsley and milkweed for Fall caterpillars.
MCS parent, Jamie Evans graciously volunteered his time and resources to plan our rooftop garden makeover. He came with Delia Rollow, farm-based education intern (2010-11), to build the gorgeous table students use as a workspace. He has been a supporter of the garden project for more than two years. With heartfelt gratitude, we would like to thank Jamie for his work. Our garden makeover wouldn’t have happened without Jamie’s devotion to this project.
Delia also built a rain barrel to collect water for the garden. She salvaged the barrel and installed the hardware needed to make it useful for our garden. She also spent a Saturday with Jamie and I building the workspace table. We would like to thank her for her time and efforts. Anna Sobel’s 5-6s class (2010-2011) sold valentines they made to raise money for an apple tree. They were able to pay for a dwarf yellow delicious apple tree that has already begun its first apple crop. Thank you 6-7s, soon to be 7-8s!
Señorita Naomi and señorita Maria Tere have tolerated numerous interruptions to their class due to our garden work. Whether I tramp through their class with 20-pound bags of dirt, or with five 5-6s students in tow, or whether I’m shoveling dirt from bin to bin with a rapt audience of Upper School Spanish students, Maria Tere and Naomi have suffered through my distractions for years. I appreciate their patience and cooperation, as well as the patience of the entire fifth floor.
George and Leonard have been an invaluable resource in hot summers as well as building structural questions. They have dragged our old enormous wooden planters away for disposal, and watered the garden over vacations and hot summer days. George also built storage/seating out of salvaged wood and milk crates for us! I appreciate their continued help taking care of our garden.
I would also like to thank Paul and Leonard, for their planting advice. They have graciously offered solutions to problems that have arisen, from organic aphid mitigation to ensuring the planters, full of wet soil, are lightweight enough to reposition.
Muchisimas gracias a Ana y Celia por cocinar la comida que los estudiantes traen del jardin!
While I leave MCS this year with a heavy heart, I am comforted to know that this garden will continue to be a long-lasting contribution to benefit the students of MCS for many years to come. Claire is well equipped to handle such a large garden as well as the numerous minutiae of maintaining it. I am happy to know that the people that make up the MCS community have built this garden, it is a treasured space. Without every person’s help, our garden wouldn’t be. Thank you all!
Photos by Lindsay Velazco