This was a great summer for the MHS Greenhouse Club. The focus this year was companion planting, which consists of growing specific plants that share space well or even help each other’s growth. For example, lettuce, summer squash and zucchini share a bed nicely as the lettuce is ready to harvest just as the squash needs the space. They also added flowers known to draw bees and butterflies, including a variety of colored sunflowers that are over 8 feet tall and purple cosmos.
This was the 3rd growing season for the club, and it has been a productive one so far. They recently harvested 3 pounds of garlic planted by Mrs. Forney’s 4th grade class last fall. “The club is also having a great time cutting and drying chocolate mint and flash freezing zucchini, summer squash, and yellow beans.” said MHS Garden Coach Beth Prelgovisk. She added that preserving the harvest and tending to a school garden in Maine can be quite a challenge due to timing. Thankfully Zoe Penttila, Lillie Fortier, and Jillian Pino, MHS students from the Greenhouse Club, donated their time alongside Mrs.Prelgovisk to tend the raised beds during summer vacation.
The goals of the Greenhouse are to provide an experiential learning experience for MHS students and the Greenhouse Club, grow produce for the cafeteria, and donate to local food banks. Last September, the club donated tomatoes, peppers, garlic, and carrots to the High School cafeteria; this year, ten large bags of lettuce were delivered to the Oakland Food Pantry. Many vegetables harvested this year have been flash frozen to use at a later date.
This year the group also entered produce into the Skowhegan State Fair. Their basil won 1st prize and an herb collection comprised of chocolate mint, basil, dill, and chive received 3rd prize. The seeds for all the prize winning herbs were donated by Blake Family Hardware in Oakland.
The program continues to grow and flourish. This summer the group added a 4X8 hoop bed to grow vine squash and cantaloupe. They were also recently awarded an Oakgrove Grant to purchase two indoor grow towers which will be housed in science classrooms and moved around throughout the year. A variety of leafy vegetables will be experimented such as lettuce, spinach, arugula along with beans, celery, and cucumbers.