Many years ago when Hyla moved to its current home on the property of the Bucklin Family homestead, we inherited a tradition of tending the land to grow food. Spanish teacher, Mike Fosmark, will tell you that the garden at Hyla “has been tended for over 100 years starting with the Bucklin family and then carried on by us.” This sense of history is important to Mike, who has taught 3 garden electives this year: one for garden design, one for digging and prep work, and one for planting. “I want to teach them about the soil and where food comes from,” Mike explains, “but also want them to know that you can just scratch the surface of this planet and make something possible, something that doesn’t just instantly pop up, but that grows over time.”
The digging and planting groups implemented the design plan from the first elective, and Mike was impressed by how respectful students were of the work their classmates did in the previous elective. “They felt it was important to stick with the designers ideas and really wanted to be loyal to that,” Mike explains, “but we talked about how we have to adjust based on actual conditions of the soil and weather – and that’s ok.”
The fruits of their labor are now pushing up through the dirt – potatoes, kale, onions, and garlic, among other foods. Students will be able to harvest some of what they planted this spring, and the rest will be ready in summer. They haven’t yet decided how to use the spring harvest, but in the past the Hyla garden has provided food for Fresh Friday, and Helpline House. A summer maintenance and harvest plan is in the works as students learn what summer care might look like: who will do it, and what is the most efficient irrigation method given the resources we have.
Beyond the obvious benefits of getting in the dirt and seeing things grow, Mike shares with students his appreciation for the slow growing process itself. “There is a value in thinking and dreaming about something, then planning and digging it, without seeing any instant result,” he explains. “There is something good in that waiting.”
Thank you to Mike and all the students who worked in the garden this year!