Plum students create elementary school garden |

Plum students create elementary school garden

Dillon Carr
Students, faculty and staff gathered at the school on Wednesday, June 26 to transplant tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers into the Learning Garden beds outside the building. Anxious to harvest the pepper plants are Olivia Franco, 10, Sophia Franco, 7, Lindsey Adams, 15, and Katie Adams, 8.
Bailey Borowski, 13, Maddie Knisely, 15, and Taylor Knisely, 11, make sure the new plants have freshly packed soil and water.
McKenna Bonsall, 3, and Lillian Schorr, 8, help out by digging holes for the tomatoes plants.

Around 15 Plum students got their hands dirty on a hot, summery day as they transplanted vegetables into a new elementary school garden.

Center Elementary secured a grant from Grow Pittsburgh to construct 12 raised beds, a crushed limestone surface, seats and a shade structure as part of its latest effort to expose students to growing food.

On June 26, students gathered at the front of the elementary school’s building to fill the planters with dirt and transplant several vegetables that had been growing indoors.

“We’ve got hot peppers, tomatoes, watermelon, cucumbers and green peppers,” said Kara Pilarski, a Plum elementary school librarian who spearheaded the project.

She said Grow Pittsburgh constructed the project earlier in June and the school will host a kick-off event once school starts up again in the fall.

Pilarski said the produce will likely be donated to local food banks.

“Fresh produce is always a hot commodity – it seems like (food banks) are always in need for them,” she said.

Center Elementary principal Jason Knicely, dressed in laced boots, shorts and a booney hat, helped out that day.

“This is an exciting opportunity for our students and staff to engage in a different type of learning,” he said.

A curriculum will be created alongside Grow Pittsburgh garden educators to expand upon the school’s existing Center Grows program, which teaches fourth graders about farming and economics by growing crops indoors.

Pilarski said Grow Pittsburgh will send a garden educator to teach classes in the fall and spring so that Plum teachers can replicate and expand upon the teaching component.

Emma Griffin, 9, helped fill the planters with dirt. She said she’s excited to see her favorite vegetable, the tomato, grow “really, really big.”

“I like them in salads,” she said.

Dillon Carr is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Dillon at 412-871-2325, [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Local | Plum
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