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Kindergarten students at LJES experience growing lessons in the garden

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 Kindergarten students in Rita Taulbee’s class at Lebanon Junction Elementary School started two outdoor gardens during 2013-2014 school year.

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“They have a salad garden which contains tomatoes, lettuce, chard, carrots, onions, and radishes…everything you would find in a salad,” Taulbee explained.

With assistance from the Bullitt County Cooperative Extension Service, students used unique ways to get seeds to germinate before transplanting them.

“Our Kindergarteners have created their own little greenhouses in our classroom along with a compost and a worm hotel,” Taulbee said. “They are growing radish seeds inside balloons and they have a self-contained hot house. We wanted to learn more than just the basics and the kids are so very excited.”

Inspired by the prospects of ingredients for fresh salads, students embarked on a second garden.

“That’s our pizza garden which will contain herbs and things you can find on pizza like tomatoes, thyme, oregano, cilantro, basil, onions and chives,” Taulbee pointed out while extending appreciation for the tomato plants to extension office Horticulture Agent Darold Akridge.

While school was in session, students kept a garden journal.

“We are keeping record of what we planted, and when to help with our math and the days required to germinate,” Taulbee said. “The gardens cover many areas of the curriculum.”

Parent volunteers are scheduled to stop by the garden during the summer months to continue proper care and maintenance such as watering and weeding.

Taulbee said students are excited to return to school as first graders in August and plan for a bountiful harvest.

“They are all very proud of the gardens and look forward to seeing how much has grown when they return,” she said.

Based on financial backing from the school’s PTA, Taulbee said her new kindergarten students may start a perennial flower garden and a butterfly garden.

“My plan is for the students who are now first graders to work with the new kindergarten students on these projects,” she said. “It would be a great, collaborative effort.”

Bullitt County Public Schools has over 13,200 students in grades preschool through 12. There are 25 school facilities, a certified staff of over 900 and a classified staff of over 800 working to make the district the leader in educational excellence.