As a conclusion to the Applied Ecology and Sustainable Systems unit on agriculture and soils, science students took a trip to the Conserve School garden to do some learning by doing. The students worked together to plant 200 tulip, hyacinth, and grape hyacinth bulbs each class period. These three species were selected by Conserve School’s Science Teacher Andy Milbauer and Stewardship Coordinator Jean Haack because they are an excellent food source for bees in the spring. When the snow finally disappears from campus, these flowers will not only provide habitat for our resident bees, but be a pleasant sight for those of us eagerly welcoming warmer weather.
To prepare the garden beds for planting, students dug up and turned over existing soil and vegetation. They then shoveled holes about half as deep as their hands, placed the bulbs pointed side up in the soil, and re-covered the holes they had made. More soil layers were added over the garden bed and students stomped, danced, and jumped on top to compact them. This compaction will deter squirrels from digging up the bulbs and prevent the bulbs from rotting in air pockets. Although the CS5 students will not be here to see the results of their planting, they worked diligently to get the job done. In just one class period, they were able to expand Conserve School’s garden, add to the diversity of species on campus, and plant flowers for future semesters to enjoy.
- Graduate Fellow Maria Kopecky