Students Get Involved in Hatteras Island Community Garden

Third graders plant three sisters garden

Third graders from Cape Hatteras Elementary School plant Three Sisters Garden

As morning rain clouds broke on May 15th, fifty energetic third grade students from Cape Hatteras Elementary School piled off the bus to participate in activities at Coastal Harvester’s Hatteras Island Community Garden in Buxton. The children planted a Three Sisters Garden and a Bean Teepee as well as starting a vegetable mural on the outside of the garden fence. Volunteers from Coastal Harvester, Inc. and NC Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners organized and conducted the activities.

Students learned about the Three Sisters growing method, practiced by Native Americans, through roll playing and discussion before they dug seed holes with sticks, a traditionally used garden tool. Corn, beans and squash seeds were planted together in individual mounds. Tall corn plants will serve to support climbing bean vines while lower squash leaves will shade the soil from heat and discourage weeds. Beans add beneficial nitrogen to the soil. Bean seeds were also planted around the base of a teepee constructed of bamboo and twine. Once covered in greenery, the teepee will offer a shaded playground for children as well as a harvest of beans.

“The kids want to return to see how their plants grow. They are invited to drop by anytime but for those who can’t, they can follow the progress through photographs we will e-mail to the classrooms each week,” said Dhanyo Merillat-Bowers, Dare County Master Gardener who spearheaded the project. As the kids headed back onto the bus, each student was given a packet of seeds in hopes that an interest in gardening was sparked.

To see more pictures of students and teachers Cathy Copes, April Oden and Ashlee Garcia visit the Coastal Harvesters Facebook page.

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