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A fertile field for learning

Schools, parents neighbors collaborate in garden project

Spring weather in the Spokane area can be unpredictable, but that isn’t stopping the activity buzzing around the East Valley Farms and Schools Partnership.

The garden on the northwest corner of Wellesley and Sullivan has been tilled and four fresh loads of manure have been spread. Now, organizers just have to wait for the weather to cooperate before they begin to plant.

Parent volunteer Lynette Romney said the Inland Northwest Gas and Steam Engine group plowed the land for free and the manure was donated. The garden even found a reduced price to haul it.

“A lot of great things are on the horizon,” Romney said.

The woodshop class at East Valley High School is building a shed. Harmony High School is building a greenhouse with materials it was able to purchase at cost from Ziggy’s. The horticulture class at East Valley is growing seedlings to be transplanted. Hutton Settlement sold the organizers its old irrigation system at a low price.

Romney said this year, they will plant the area of land that was fallow last year. They will be dedicating an acre of the garden to wheat and hope to purchase wheat grinders for the food sciences class.

This summer’s garden will include not only raised beds for community members, but also traditional garden space in the field. There will be two sizes, 30 by 30 feet and 30 by 15 feet.

“That will be their space,” Romney said. “They can grow everything they want except corn.”

Corn will be grown in the garden, but only in a special plot.

Romney said planting should begin sometime around the third week of May. When the produce is ready to harvest, it will go to Second Harvest Food Bank as well as the district to be used in the school lunch programs. In fact, Romney is looking for good winter squash recipes that will meet the nutritional guidelines of the district and are tasty enough for kids to enjoy.

Romney is always looking for volunteers and donors for the garden. Church groups, the Spokane Valley Kiwanis, military members, garden clubbers and more turned out last year, and she hopes more will come this year.