Thomas Jefferson Middle School Garden

Description

This organic garden at Thomas Jefferson Middle School in Arlington, Virginia was created as a Girl Scout Silver Award project by Cadette Troop 557. The garden was built over the course of a few years, with the bulk of it constructed in 2012-2013. A portion of the produce supports the Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC) as part of the "Plot Against Hunger" program. Students and community members volunteer in the garden on many weekends throughout the year. Each October, the school hosts a harvest festival where the chorus sings and an evening movie is shown in the garden. Features of the garden include a Native American "Three Sisters" planting of squash, corn, and beans, plantings that serve as a way station for migrating monarch butterflies, and an insect hotel in the pollinator portion of the garden.

There is a life skills class that uses the garden a lot in the fall and spring. Science classes use the garden for experiments, and the social studies classes use it when studying Virginia history (because it is a native garden and they plant the “Three Sisters” every year). English classes use it on nice days to go out and read because there is an outdoor classroom area.

We also have community members who have stopped by, many of them immigrants, who gave us advice on how and where to plant—especially when they saw a plant that needed to be moved.

Many students have grown to love eating and preparing vegetables (green beans, okra and yellow squash, in particular) after working in and caring for the garden. One of the perks of volunteering in the Jefferson Garden is getting to take some of the produce home. The salad harvested from the garden is offered to students in the spring during special, planned lunches. These are big events at the school and students often come back for seconds—eleven helpings of garden salad served to one student stands as the record!

Photos Show

Thomas Jefferson Middle School school garden

Thomas Jefferson Middle School school garden

The Insect Hotel

The Insect Hotel

The garden harvest at Thomas Jefferson Middle School

The garden harvest at Thomas Jefferson Middle School

A colorful rain barrel

A colorful rain barrel

Movie night at Thomas Jefferson Middle School

Movie night at Thomas Jefferson Middle School

Cherry tomatoes

Cherry tomatoes

Picked fresh from the school garden. [View Additional File Details]

A black swallowtail caterpillar has a snack

A black swallowtail caterpillar has a snack

The school garden provides habitat for insects and butterflies. [View Additional File Details]

Garden beds planted with vegetables

Garden beds planted with vegetables

Thomas Jefferson students help grow and harvest the vegetables. [View Additional File Details]

An outdoor classroom space

An outdoor classroom space

Trees provide shade for an outdoor classroom and meeting space with tree stumps for seats. [View Additional File Details]

Thomas Jefferson Middle School school garden

Thomas Jefferson Middle School school garden

Garden beds next to the school building. [View Additional File Details]

Harvested vegetables

Harvested vegetables

Carrots, radishes, and more in a wheelbarrow at the Thomas Jefferson Middle School garden. [View Additional File Details]

Garden Website

www.facebook.com/TJGarden/

Cite this Page

Kathleen McSweeney, “Thomas Jefferson Middle School Garden,” Community of Gardens, accessed October 17, 2017, https:/​/​communityofgardens.​si.​edu/​items/​show/​12255.​
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