Is there anything sweeter than sampling fruits and vegetables you’ve grown in your own garden?!

Home gardening has grown during the pandemic, and it’s also very popular in Volusia County Schools. Gardens maintained by students, teachers and staff at many of our schools provide fun, hands-on lessons in science, math and nutrition outside in the fresh air.

From how to start seedlings and the cycle of growing seasons to soils and fertilizers, gardens are rich for learning about science and the environment. Students use math to measure and weigh produce and chart growth.

School Way Café prepares tasty salads and sides with the harvest at some schools, while other schools sell their produce or send it home with students for families to enjoy. The children are so proud of their crops!

Go Green is the theme of this month’s issue, and it’s uplifting to see a strong emphasis on protecting our natural resources in our classrooms and at our campuses. Spruce Creek High has electric car charging receptacles and eco-water bottle refill stations. Edgewater Public School’s solar panels provide electricity for the school barn, where students grow crops through a hydroponics system. And Cypress Creek Elementary has tons of red wigglers that provide nutrient-rich “worm tea” for the box gardens.

All across Volusia schools there are gardens – pollinator (for butterflies), native plant, fruits and veggies, flowers. Sugar Mill Elementary has Therapeutic Edible Gardens, and Westside (Elementary’s) Night Alive after-school program has a gardening program. Students at Pathways Elementary attend Gardening/STEM as a special area. Atlantic High’s Aquaculture, Environmental and Marine Science Academy has several gardens and a greenhouse. There’s a hay bale gardening section at Heritage Middle, where they garden all year and students take home any vegetables they want!

Please visit the demo native-plant garden at Lyonia Preserve in Deltona that was created by students. It’s free and open to the public.

Many of these are funded by Mini Grants from FUTURES Foundation for VCS and supported by Garden Clubs, businesses, Master Gardeners, the UF/IFAS extension agency and other community partners.

We truly appreciate everyone for helping our gardens – and our children – grow!

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