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Thu, Dec. 12

Students expand garden at Del Rio
Donations allow expansion from three crops to many

Students work in the expanded garden at Del Rio Elementary School.
Courtesy photo

Students work in the expanded garden at Del Rio Elementary School.

Poor soil, lack of a water source, no money for plants or construction materials, and no one with gardening expertise — all reasons why Del Rio Elementary School did not use until recently the open space next to the Native American hogan and territorial schoolhouse.

During the school’s annual Arizona History Days, the two structures were constructed near the fourth-grade classrooms with a large area remaining vacant.

The goal was to plant a garden based on the Native American “Three Sisters” technique of companion-planting corn, beans and squash.

Paying for supplies, constructing the plots, and figuring out how to water plants was an issue — until this year.

Three beautiful raised-bed gardens are now a reality. In addition to corn, beans and squash, the students planted tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, herbs, strawberries, and many pots of flowers. The garden receives water through a new sprinkler system, and an attractive ranch-style fence keeps out critters.

“The students are excited to be a part of planting, but they also are looking forward to coming back in August as fifth-graders to see how their garden has done over the summer, and to do some harvesting,” said fourth-grade teachers Brenda Hubbard and Kathy Parnell.

The students and teachers thank the extraordinarily generous folks at Bonnie Plant in Chino Valley for supplying the organic soil and hundreds of plants, flowers, and herbs.

“Thanks also go out to the Del Rio Parent/Teacher Organization for helping with wood and sprinkler supplies, CM Firewood Company for fencing posts and staves, and the Parnell and Hubbard families for their many hours of labor,” the teachers said.

The school invites the public to visit the new gardens.

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