Decorah High School Environmental Science teacher Tim Hayes says the high school's garden project has been working well.
Hayes and fellow teacher Brad Johansen started the program in 2007 with the first garden planted in the area between the dike and the Upper Iowa River behind the high school. Three years ago the garden was expanded to an area in front of the high school. This location has given the project greater visibility, more fertile soil and fewer weed and wildlife issues.
Students in several grades are contributing to the gardening effort from planning, starting seed, transplanting starts, weed control and harvest. Last year the school garden provided 100 pounds of lettuce, 670 pounds of tomatoes, 300 pounds of squash and twenty pounds of beautiful plump garlic bulbs for the school lunch program.
The project is intended to give students a real life problem. They then become responsible for devising a solution. The weed issues are managed with recycled newsprint and leaf mulch from the city yard waste site, plants are given a growth boost with polyurethane film tunnels and students have developed harvest procedures to keep produce clean from garden to kitchen.
Hayes told members of the Decorah LIons Club that grants and assistance provided by area growers has amounted to about $6,500.