September has been the month of collard greens at Coile Middle School. At the beginning of the month, I set off with a few students from Ms. Hulsey’s Agricultural Science class to help me transplant the baby collard greens donated by UGArden and UGA’s Horticulture Farm. A few weeks later, these students exclaimed over how big their plants were getting; we were eagerly waiting for leaves big enough to harvest. While waiting, we learned how to check for cabbage looper caterpillars and Harlequin beetles.
Mid-month, I still had extra transplants, so as a SAE project (Supervised Agricultural Experience), 7th and 8th graders learned how to repot collards into larger pots to take home. Great care was taken in writing plant labels, repotting the plants, fertilizing and watering the collards. We had a fun time talking about how to care for their new plants and what repurposed containers could be used for bigger pots at home.
Last week, I was able to harvest Coile’s first collard harvest of the 2019-2020 school year! 8 lbs of collards found homes with teachers, custodians, and the school counselor. Wandering through the halls with a crate of collards greens, I found, was a quick way to make friends. It was exciting to talk to Ms. Patterson, a teacher, today as she showed me her cooked greens and shared how this was her first experience cooking them! Next week, after school students will start using collard greens and produce bags will start going home with students as our fall harvest season continues.