There are so many things you learn when you know absolutely NOTHING about a subject. Case in point, I don’t garden. I have been incredibly thankful for Shawn Shahin’s guidance at school with the garden; otherwise there would have been only two good outcomes (and by good I mean viable). First, everything would have died a slow, painful vegetative death of dehydration, overhydration, neglect or the three together. The other choice would have been I would have NEVER gone, weeds would have taken over and they would be eating the small children who come near the garden. Neither is a very good prospect.
On Wednesday when Shawn and the 6th graders harvested the lettuce, I thought nothing of the plants having their roots or of having the lettuce sit out overnight. It NEVER occurred to me that what happened would have happened (remember, I’m an ignorant plant murderer). First, apparently all sorts of insect-critters came calling. She said the lettuce was COVERED with aphids, there were ants (because they like to lick aphids — see Bugs Life) and one caterpillar. Then the lettuce wilted. Sure, I keep my lettuce in the fridge, but it wilted overnight? See, I’m telling you.
Because I had spent the better part of 45 minutes Wednesday either buying the other components to the students’ having salad or prepping them, I talked Shawn into going to the store and buying lettuce so they could have the same experience. She gamely went for it (have I mentioned she’s pregnant?). I do think that seeing the “damage” done to the lettuce was a good learning experience for the students. They still prepped, served, and ate salad. That’s a good thing, right?
I’m semi-amused at this because I’ve signed on for Cooking/Mad Science next year. Part of the curriculum will be working in the garden (gotta grow what you eat, right?). I’m a little scared because I won’t have Shawn holding my hand anymore. At this rate, we’re going to have a lot of very interesting, unexpected “teachable” moments. Those poor kids… 8)