October 20, 2019
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Belfast middle school students to showcase school garden at Open Garden Day

Community Author: Belfast Garden Club
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Belfast Garden Club | Contributed
Belfast Garden Club | Contributed

BELFAST — The Belfast Garden Club will hold its next open garden day 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. Friday, Aug. 23, at Troy, Howard Middle School, 173 Lincolnville Avenue. Teacher and garden coordinator David Wessels and some of his students will be available to give tours rain or shine. A $5 donation will help the Belfast Garden Club support public gardens and other work in the community, including this program.

A 1/3-acre of lush mixed-vegetable, fruit and flower beds and a year-round greenhouse provide the laboratory for an innovative interdisciplinary program that all Troy Howard 7th graders participate in once a week. The program makes traditional STEM concepts learned in math and science classes relevant and engaging. Students design and prepare gardens, select and plant seeds, budget and account for expenses, and run the garden’s farm stand. They harvest more than 1,000 pounds of produce for the school cafeteria and for sale. In winter, besides work in the greenhouse winnowing and sorting heirloom seeds, designing artwork for and filling seed packets, and learning about cross-breeding plants and genetics, students go on walks to learn first-hand about forest ecology and tap maple trees for syrup. David Wessels attributes the success of the 18-year program to the district’s commitment to hire a teacher to run it, as well as community support from both businesses and volunteers.

If you’ve never taken a close look at these beautiful gardens, you’ll be amazed at the diversity of plants, as well as the focus on heirloom and historic varieties, native plants and ecological gardening practices. There will also be seed-saving demo stations and seed garlic for sale.

For more information, visit BelfastGardenClub.org and the Troy Howard Middle School Garden Facebook page.

Tickets are available on site or in advance at Aubuchon Hardware, Left Bank Books, or The Good Table in Belfast. Proceeds from fundraising support the Belfast Garden Club’s work in the community. The Club plants and maintains ten public gardens and provides annual support to an innovative gardening program at the Troy Howard Middle School, scholarships to Unity College, and subsidies for children’s summer camp experiences at the Tanglewood 4-H camp in Lincolnville.