A Children's Garden Grows Community

The Beach farmgirl has been out and about on Cape Cod visiting her new farmgirl friend Melissa and The Children’s Garden she helped to create at Barnstable Community Horace Mann Charter Public School where her children go to school. She’s not an official sister ( yet ) but she’s a tried and true farmgirl at heart! With the support of the Principle, students, volunteers, local businesses and a shovel full of can-do spirit she helped design and build 30 raised beds and a blueberry patch to boot! This schoolyard garden is an inspiration to anyone who has ever dreamed about starting a community garden.

( Melissa in her garden with school in the background )

Following the trend of the emerging ” edible front yard concept “  the gardners chose not to ” hide ” their veggies behind the school but to plant them front and center for all to see! In the Spring, each bed was filled with organic soil then planted with seedlings the 380 plus children grew in the classroom.

Every week day during the summer several of the volunteers and students come back to work the garden and sell what’s harvested that week. All proceeds from sales are donated to a local homeless shelter.

Cucumbers were ready for pickin’ during my visit.

Melissa sent me home with two of the largest cuc’s I’d ever seen.

What to do with these huge babies?

Cool as a Cucumber Summer Salad ~ with a Greek twist!

  • 4 large cucumbers
  • 1/2 cup Herbed Fetta Cheese
  • 10-15 sliced grape cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup sliced purple onion
  • 1/2 cup Greek Olives
  • 1/4-1/2 cup Greek Salad Dressing
  • 5-7 fresh Oregeno leaves
  • 3 fresh Basil leaves cut into smaller pieces

Slice cucumbers,tomatoes and the onion into small bite sized pieces and place in salad bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients then toss it all together until mixed well. Add a dash of Sea Salt and fresh ground pepper on top. Chill for an hour before serving.

* If you have these ingredients on hand this is as easy to make for one as it is for 6. It’s great as a side dish or alone for a light healthy meal.

The Children’s Garden has all the makings of a successful community garden. It has something else too! Each raised bed is adorned with it’s own painting of a veggie created by the children.

Here’s a peek at the Garden Gallery!

As a homeschooling mom exposing our young children to as much art and time in nature during the wonder years was a high priority for me and I was so inspired to see creativity being nourished and flourishing in this Community School and Garden.

Each plaque was painted on left over wood from the raised beds. This is an idea that can be brought home and ” hung” in your garden too!

Sweet Summer Corn ~ YUMMY!

Every Gardner, no matter their age needs a place to hang their hat and store their tools! 

Shovels and a rake hang neatly alongside more whimsical art and a chart for garden rules. Staying organized is a key ingredient in keeping this garden growing smoothly!

 How far reaching the roots of The Children’s Garden will be is hard to predict. Who knows? Out of three hundred and eighty plus children, there could be a future organic farmer or farmgirl in the mix!  

The only thing missing from this post are photos of the young grower’s themselves. Please visit The Children’s Garden to see the sprouts in action and learn more about how this Children’s Community Garden has grown, literally from the ground up!

Please be sure to stop by Tilly’s Nest and meet my farmgirl pal Melissa and her “girls “. She writes about her adventures (and misadventures too) of keeping backyard chickens. You’ll find recipes, stories, tips, coop tours and plenty of cacklin’ over there! Melissa’s cool coop ( above ) is made from recycled materials by Green Chicken Coop .

Until our next shoreline visit~

Beach Blessings and HAPPY GROWING where ever you’re planted and planting!

Love, Deb

PS. It’s Farmgirl Friday at Dandelion House! Come on by, link up and show off your farmgirl flair!

  1. Debby says:

    To build your boxes – What kind of wood did you use? I am under the impression it cannot be wood from the local lumber yard.

    Debby, I’m not exactly sure what type of wood they used in the Children’s garden. It might say on their website. I do know that many folks use Cedar and even Red Wood not pressure treated wood to avoid toxin’s getting into the garden soil. I purchased Cedar planks from our local Home Depot and they cut them to length for me there.

    Thanks for reading,


  2. Melissa says:

    Hi Deb, what a beautiful post! Thank you so much for your wonderful visit.

    FYI: The wood for the raised beds is not pressure treated due to terrible preservatives such as arsenic used in the process, that will leach into the produce planted in them. You can use wood from the lumber yard but be sure it is not treated. These were 4"x 4"x 8′ posts cut to 12 inches high for the bed’s corners. The sides of the beds were cut from 2"x12"x12′ pieces of lumber.

    As the garden is on school grounds and entirely organic we are very limited as to the "chemicals" we can use in the garden. I hope these help answer some questions 🙂

    My pleasure Melissa! Thanks for the info on your raised beds! We appreciate it.

  3. joy says:

    *OH NO!!* Something has happened!! Everytime I try to go to your OTHER website, your "Dandelion" one, a different website about ‘moving to Hawaii’ comes up!! Have you moved your website address or something?

    Joy, you can still find me at Dandelion house here: http://www.deborahjeansdandelionhouse.blogspot.com


  4. Janice K. says:

    This is one of the prettiest garden areas I’ve seen. So neat and tidy and decorative! I would like to know what type of wooden mulch material that they used. It doesn’t look like the type of bark mulch that I am familiar with, here in the pacific northwest.
    The paintings that the children do are fabulous! They should auction them off. Maybe I could enlist my neighborhood children to make me some for my garden area. Summer craft1 101..
    Wanted to let you know that I made your rhubarb chutney and it is MARVELOUS. My first chutney and won’t be my last!
    Good job!

  5. Melissa says:

    Thank you for the compliments Janice! We use woodchips from the town which are a blend of pine and oak. The town makes them as they tend to wooded areas in Barnstable that require trimming. The children’s art was done on left over lumber pieces after we made the raised beds. Love the auction idea!

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