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Welcome to the SIS School Garden! Come Grow with Us!

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*August 17, 2018

Our gardens are in transition for fall.  We have an abundance of tomatoes and okra anchored by happy sunflowers and marigolds. The cucumber are succumbing to the high temperatures and humidity and lack of significant rainfall.  We will try to reseed to continue the growing season.  Two beds of pumpkins and zinnia have been planted.  I can't wait to see how these do for us as we have not planted these before.  The pumpkins will be used in the STEM lab for a lesson on measuring. The zinnias hopefully will adorn classrooms around the school.  The cotton plants are developing multiple squares and ripening bolls.  I cannot wait for our beautiful magenta cotton plants to open into seafoam green cotton!  We have had several varieties of caterpillars munching on the fennel and dill in the herb garden.  I hope this leads to a boost in butterfly populations.   Several classes have visited the gardens as part of their science classes.  This is a wonderful place to explore science and enhance our new FOSS curriculum.


*July 7, 2018

Our gardens look beautiful!  The herbs are thriving, the vegetables are producing, the cotton have the beginning of squares, and the butterfly & sensory gardens are blooming.  Students will be able to see cucumbers, tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, peppers, and okra growing in August.  The strawberries are running with new flowers weekly.  Sunflowers, pumpkins, and zinnia will be started from seed very soon. The most exciting development is the abundance of honeybees to our garden.  We have had difficulty attracting pollinators to our garden.  I love that they have finally found a home here.  We will be building "bee hotels" in science club in the early fall.


*May 3, 2018

Mr. Lindsay's classes are seeing pea pods develop along with taller plants of kale and spinach.  Carrot tops are sprouting too!  The roses, chives, dianthus, and other flowers and herbs are blooming.  The lamb's ears are bolting purple flowers and the wheat have kernels on the ends.  The Science Club has planted 4 different types of cotton: Pima, Upland, Florida Green, and Mississippi Brown. A summer bed with okra, sweet peppers, cucumbers, eggplant, tomatoes, basil, sunflowers, and marigold will soon be seeded.  The herb garden has been completely cleaned and replanted.  We have added milkweed to the butterfly garden along with more aromatic plants to attract butterflies and bees to the area.


*March 19, 2018

There are lots of things growing in the garden!  Mr. Lindsey has planted a variety of spring greens and vegetables.  The peas and kale have sprouted and are growing in the warm weather.  The cotton beds have been cleaned and composted. The strawberry plants have been pruned and fed.  The lamb's ears in the sensory garden are beautiful and so soft already.  Many more perennials are sprouting and hopefully will have blooms soon. The winter wheat is about 5 inches tall and growing by the day.  Plans for the future include adding shade plants, different types of herbs,  Milkweed plants for the butterfly larva, and summer vegetables.


*November 27, 2017

The Science Club is seeing lots of sprouts of radishes, lettuces, wheat, and red clover.  Almost all of our herbs are still thriving.  The cotton plants have turned brown and will be shredded to form mulch for the beds.  Using a generous donation from Fiskars, our perennials are all trimmed for the season.  Watering is much easier with adjustable sprayers and watering cans.  Mr. Lindsey's classes have planted kale and turnips. 

*October 26, 2017

We have cleaned most of the pots and planted lettuces, broccoli, radishes, and turnips. Our second harvest of cotton was even larger than the first!  Students weeded the beds and were glad to see so many flowers and squares still on the plants.  Ag in the Classroom will come to gin and process our cotton next week.  The three sister's garden and the bean bed have been replanted with winter wheat and red clover.  Students started indoor greenhouses that will be put under grow lights for winter herbs. Students also used UV beads to see that the sun's rays affect us even in the shade.  They had fun with their Crickobots buzzing and moving in the sun due to their solar panels.  It is so great to see them connect the sun's energy as an agent of photosynthesis to the energy produced by the panels.


*September 25, 2017

The Science Club harvested much of the cotton last Thursday. The Upland yielded the most "fruit". Next was the Arkansas Green Lint, then the Pima, and lastly, the Mississippi Brown.  Students were excited to see so many pollinators around the plants.  Several blooms were visible as well as a lot of squares.  We had questions as to why some of the Mississippi Brown was not actually brown.  Several theories emerged.  We will investigate further!  Little red tomatoes and peppers are ripening; the herbs are thriving; butterflies, beetles, and grasshoppers are finding food; frogs are living among and under rocks; sights, sounds, smells, and touches give forth many different traits of plants in our sensory garden; and the strawberries are almost all dried up. We are looking forward to planting lettuces, turnips, radishes, and carrots soon as well as cover crops of wheat and red clover. We picked bean pods and looked at the seeds inside. Students tried to predict if size and shape determined the number of seeds inside.  They also saw numerous seed pods and learned about seed dispersal through wind as they threw wisps of seeds into the air.  I think we might have a large number of flowers growing outside their designated areas!


*September 11, 2017

Our garden is in transition for the fall.  Cotton plants are almost ready to harvest.  Science Club students will pick cotton on Thursday and lay it out to dry. Our eggplants have produced about 6 fruits and are still blooming. Baby tomatoes are almost ripe. Purple peas continue to produce, and the carrots are almost ready to pull.  The butterfly and sensory gardens are in full bloom and are attracting a variety of pollinators. The sunflowers and corn took a hit from Hurricane Harvey.  They need to be staked and hopefully will continue growing.



*July 22, 2017

Our cotton plants are huge!  They are producing an abundance of squares and colorful flowers. Several bolls have already been produced.  The basil that was planted has helped with pollination and keeping away chewing insects.  It also smells heavenly when we water!  The four cotton types are producing several different colors of flowers.  I can't wait for the students to see all that is happening when they return in a couple of weeks.  The YMCA has planted two beds with green beans, peppers, and tomatoes.  They are growing well. Mrs. Henderson's corn and sunflowers are growing taller everyday, and there is an abundance of purple peas. The butterfly, herb, and sensory gardens are trying to make it through the hot days.  Those will be working projects in the days to come.


*May 17, 2017

Our garden is in full growing mode!  The butterfly gardens are bursting with the colors of red, purple, orange, yellow, and white. The sensory garden is thriving with lots of different textured plants and herbs. Bees, butterflies, birds, and frogs are making themselves right at home in these gardens.  Mrs. Henderson's gardens are full of vegetable sprouts.  Mrs. Jenkins' gardens are popping with bean sprouts and tiny green tomatoes. Mrs. Burns' winter wheat is golden brown and ready to harvest. The roses are budding, the water lilies are blooming, and the coleus are growing taller and fuller everyday. The Science Club is still harvesting strawberries with all the plants still producing flowers.  They also have marigolds, squash, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, and pumpkin plants sprouting.  They are very excited about their cotton.  All cotton beds have seedlings about 3 inches tall.  Several have produced their first true leaves.  A few seeds did not sprout.  Students reasoned that those might have been planted too deep, gotten too much/too little water, been dug up by squirrels or birds, or were lost due to a late cold snap. The rain barrel will be set up in the next week to aid in summer watering.


*April 27, 2017

Science Club members researched, planned, and planted 4 new beds of cotton.  In the fall, new members will harvest and gin Pima, Upland, Green Lint Arkansas, and Mississippi Brown cotton.  They weeded all the existing beds, explored the smells of different herbs, replaced plants lost during the winter in the sensory and butterfly gardens, pulled up the red clover, and picked about a pound of strawberries.  Mrs. Henderson's classes have cleaned and planted a variety of seeds in two beds and are anxiously waiting for them to sprout.  Mrs. Burns' classes are continuing to observe and measure the winter wheat.  It is almost ready to turn a golden brown.  They have weeded and pruned the herb garden and are seeing sunflowers sprout and grow from last year's seeds.  The fifth grade Spotlight group has plans to redesign their gardens and several students have planted seeds in our large pots.  In May, we will plant summer growing vegetables as well as flowers and herbs to act as natural pest deterrents.


*March 27, 2017

We are seeing many signs of new life in the garden.  The red clover is tall and a beautiful burgundy color in the three sisters garden helping to replenish nitrogen in the soil.  Hopefully these will also attract bees to our garden soon.  The winter wheat in Mrs. Burns' garden is about 7 inches tall and the herbs are mostly thriving.  Many of the perennials are sprouting and blooming in the butterfly and sensory gardens.  The strawberries are blooming and producing fruit.  Mr. Lindsey's classes will be planting Kale and Beets in 4 of our square foot gardens. Mrs. Allen and the Science CLub will be building, filling, and planting 4 new raised beds  containing cotton very soon. They will also be weeding, pruning, adding humus and fertilizer to the existing soil, and tidying up around the garden perimeter. They will also be planting seeds for over the summer crops and replanting the sensory, butterfly, and 3 Sister's gardens.



*January 10,2017

Almost everything in our garden has succumbed to the cold.  A few exceptions are the winter wheat, red clover, rosemary and lavender, and some onions.

We are so excited by our donation of 100 seed packets from Peaceful Valley!  This company continues to be generous to school gardens across the country by donating organic seeds for children to use.  We look forward to planting these seeds in the coming months.



*Update 10/31/16

Our radishes, spinach, wheat, broccoli, lettuce, turnips, and mustard greens have sprouted and are growing quite well.  We should be able to harvest the radishes soon!  Mrs. Burns' third grade class pulled out the sunflowers and separated the seeds from the seed heads.  They also have planted winter wheat.  Red Clover seeds are sprouting in the three-sister's garden to add nitrogen back into the soil for next year's planting of corn.  The cotton is still blooming! Yes, blooming!  We are excited to see both brown and white cotton bursting from the dried hulls.  Pollinators continue to fly and crawl around in our butterfly gardens and the herbs are just right to harvest for the fall.  Mrs. Jenkins has several tomatoes turning red in her raised bed and Mr. Lindsey has jalepenos ready to pick.  Mrs. Henderson's classes have cleaned out and replenished the soil in their beds and have planned out and planted several different kinds of seeds that will start sprouting soon.  Our strawberries are still flowering and producing tiny fruit.  Mrs. Allen received a grant to plant 4 different types of cotton in the spring to harvest, gin, and spin into thread in the fall.  We can't wait to continue to grow our outdoor spaces for learning!




*Update 9/23/16

Science Club members have added humus and fertilizer to the containers.  They planted a variety of lettuces, radishes, mustard greens, arugula, spinach, turnips, and wheat.  Check back for pictures of their progress.


* Update 9/7/16

Many classes have had the opportunity to visit the garden.  Strawberry runners are everywhere.  This is a great time for students to learn about vegetative propagation.  Vegetative propagation is where a new plant grows from a plant part other than a seed.  Our Mississippi Brown cotton is bursting from the hulls.  Students are amazed at how "lumpy and bumpy" it is!  Most expected the cotton to feel like the cotton balls from the store.  Mississippi Brown cotton was the original thread for khakis.  Summer vegetables are still growing a few cucumbers, tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers.  The butterfly and sensory gardens are growing beautiful flowers and herbs that attract numerous pollinators such as butterflies, moths, dragonflies, bees, and ladybugs.  I have seen several frogs and toads as well. Some of our sunflowers are over 6 feet tall and still growing. Seed heads are starting to form. The corn has dried up in the three sister's garden and the bed will be replanted with red clover for the winter to "fix" nitrogen into the soil.  We have added benches and will begin planting fall crops in containers soon.



Mission: The mission of the SIS School Garden is to provide and maintain an outdoor environment where our students and staff can build meaningful connections with the natural world.

 The garden provides places for observation, exploration, and dynamic hands-on learning. These living classrooms encourage curiosity and imagination, promote investigation and discovery, and foster a practice of organic growing methods and the conservation of natural resources.


 History: In the fall of 2014 three teachers, Leslie Allen, Paula Jenkins, and Jacob Lindsey, visited the school garden at Pleasant Hill Elementary and were inspired to begin a similar project here at Southaven Intermediate. With a Foundation for Excellence grant and generous support from donors and the PTO, students began using containers to grow strawberries in the fall of 2014 and vegetables in the spring of 2015. In the fall of 2015, along with continuing to grow vegetables in the container garden, preparations were made to expand the garden by building raised beds.  Mrs. Jenkins and Mr. Lindsey also started raising chickens.  In the spring of 2016 with community support, grant awards, and donations, we were able to build 14 raised beds.  With the addition of the new garden beds, 5 more teachers joined the project to plant a variety of vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers. The garden now consists of a butterfly garden, sensory garden, 3 sister's garden, herb garden, salsa garden, pollinator garden, and several vegetable gardens.  Our rain barrel and compost bin add to our philosophy of organic gardening. We will continue to use the original containers to grow seasonal vegetables, and the chickens provide fresh eggs daily.

Sponsors:  The following have provided goods, services, or monetary donations that have led to the success of our garden:


Rare Seeds Company

DeSoto County Foundation for Excellence in Education Grants (3)

Dominex Community Garden Award

4-Rivers Garden Grant

Mr. Todd Willis, Pleasant Hill Elementary

Mr. Carl Goolsby and Mr. Ron Martin

Mr. Frank Allen

Southaven Boy Scouts

Southaven Intermediate PTO

Bonnie Plants

Home Depot

Quality Landscape and Nursery

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

Peaceful Valley Seed Company

Waste Connections

Ag in the Classroom

DeSoto County Farm Bureau