(l-r:) Wayne County Agriculture students Brayden Upchurch, Harlie Hodge, and Brody Dick had fun meeting visitors in the garden.
(l-r:) Wayne County High School students Kassidy Simpson and Stephine Massengale
(l-r:) Agriculture students Bree Denny and Katie Jones presented information at a station.
(l-r) Aubree Kennett and Mahalia Kidwell talked about the Red Knight Peppers and Sweet Banana Peppers that were grown in the garden.
(l-r:) David Croy and Timothy Crabtree talked about the fall Bravo Cabbage grown in the garden
(l-r) Retired Insurance Agent Dan Vickery chatted with FFA student Kason Stockton, who has put in a lot of time in the garden.
Samuel Humble and 15-month-old Charli Humble got a closer look at the cabbage plants.
Charli Humble enjoyed the garden
(l-r:) Madilyn Foster and Heavenly Angel shared garden information with the crowd.
(l-r:) Jenna Morrow and Matthew McGinnis talk about the watermelon that were grown in the garden.
After touring the giant garden on a hay wagon and learning about each row of produce, visitors enjoyed the garden fresh produce at the dinner.
FFA/agriculture students most recently have been finishing up the cold weather harvest and cleaning up the garden. But, at its peak this fall, the Farm Dinner Night was held where students did a good job informing visitors about this year’s crop of vegetables. The garden was in perfect condition thanks to the Wayne County Extension Office and all the students’ efforts to maintain it. Much of the harvest fed students’ school lunches this fall.
FFA/Agriculture students spoke about each of the vegetables grown in the school garden this year. While the Wayne County Extension Agriculture experts plan the garden and furnish the supplies for the model project, students are encouraged to help plant and harvest the crops so they have a better understanding of how to produce the beautiful vegetables.
The fall Bravo Cabbage really stood out this year because of its size. It is a hardy variety of cabbage with good disease tolerance. The school food service staff use it to make cole slaw primarily at the high school kitchen.
Green Magic Broccoli and Grape Tomatoes have been grown every year that the school garden has existed. They are widely accepted at all ages both cooked and raw in the school kitchens. In fact, the grape tomatoes have fit the school food service needs better than anything else that has been grown in the garden. Two slicing tomatoes – Red Deuce and Carolina Gold – are popular, as well as Heirlooms.
Another popular item in the garden were the Blanco Pumpkins; as well as the Field Trip Pumpkins which were great for student activities and can be used for pumpkin pies. The younger elementary students each received their very own pumpkin from the garden.
One of the biggest crops are the Fascination Seedless watermelons that take 83 days to reach maturity and must be protected from aphids. They are somewhat labor intensive.
Red Knight Peppers and Sweet Banana Peppers, along with Raceway Cucumbers and two types of cauliflower help the cooks with items on salad bars. Classic Eggplant grown in the garden is high yielding and the food service department has used it for special emphasis meals.
When the Aphrodite Cantaloupe hits the perfect growing conditions and is harvested at the right time, it is considered a delicacy that most of the students enjoy.
Of course, both the agriculture and family consumer science students get the opportunity to clean and freeze the corn. Aspire Sweet Corn and Pursuit Sweet Corn are successfully grown in the garden.
One of the last vegetables in the garden harvested is cold tolerant Dagan Brussels Sprouts which were recently picked by the students.
While the garden sleeps this winter, planning and purchasing seeds will be an ongoing task so there is always work to be done.