It was a warm October morning when the dynamic Australian Simon Holloway burst through our classroom doors to gift our school garden with a Vegepod. He happened to be in Atlantic City, NJ for a Green Industry event, and a mutual connection of ours, Kate, was determined the two of us would meet. Kate and I had been corresponding for a while on Instagram in our joint passion of gardening with children, but somehow realized Simon was not far from the school where I started a garden and connected the two of us.
Simon’s energy transferred immediately to the kids (OMG my students LOVED him!)
They took him into their garden and gave him a tour of the edibles they were growing. They even found some tomato hornworms with eggs from parasitic wasps they wanted him to see. He made them honorary Aussies by teaching them some words & greetings, then started preparing the Vegepod for setup as the kids were prepping for dismissal.
Simon quickly set it up, explaining as he went so I could see the ease of set up then explained different ways we could use it. We laughed, we joked, we hugged our new Aussie Friend goodbye, then we began planning ways to use our brand new Vegepod!
Bullock Children’s Garden has been amazing for our kids, they are so excited about everything dealing with gardening. They love growing foods! As the weather changed, we needed to get our Vegepod ready for winter gardening. Luckily, three of my students (who are pretty incredible gardeners) volunteered to prepare it themselves. They lifted the soil bags (not letting me help) and filled the basins. Here they are getting the sections loaded with super soil from our friends at Peach Tree Mulch, in Glassboro, New Jersey.
It took these amazing young gardeners less than an hour to fill all four sections. They inspired me! I was so blown away by these absolute garden rock stars!
Over the course of the school year, my little Bullock Garden Junior Gardeners took great pride in caring for their Vegepod veggies. Leafy greens have been difficult to grow in our garden due to the infestation of cabbage beetles. The larvae absolutely demolish every leaf and numbers are so large it’s difficult to obliterate them with organic pest control. But no...we do not use chemicals in Bullock Garden. We just moved our leafy greens to the Vegepod! (We also added some worms and worm castings from our worm farm).
Having our Vegepod allows us to grow 12 months out of our year. We are hit hard by seasonal extremes of heat and ice, but with the Vegepod, we are able to provide a biome that does not crumble under extremes.
This year we will begin a special club for our youngest “Podders.” During our Bullock Garden STEAM Camp, I will lead a group using the wonderful Little Sprouters program developed by Vegepod & Southern Cross University.
Follow us across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to keep up with the Bullock Garden Gardeners and Little Sprouts at @BullockGarden. To learn more about our nonprofit organization and mission to help other schools across the globe build gardens, please check our website at www.bullockgardenproject.org. We look forward to growing with you!
Guest blog contributed by a legend - Sonya Harris!
Lead Coordinator of the Bullock Children’s Garden in Glassboro, New Jersey &
Founder/CEO of The Bullock Garden Project, Inc.
Photo by Sonya Harris
L-R: Donna Romalino, Bullock Garden Project, Inc. Director of Committees, Simon Holloway, Sonya Harris, Founder of Bullock Garden & The Bullock Garden Project, Inc.