Middle School Garden Club

Students who participate in Saint Mary’s weekly Middle School Garden Club use the school’s edible courtyard garden as a space to connect to nature and learn about growing. The group meets at noon on Wednesdays during the Middle School lunch period, and occasionally after school or on weekends. Students plant greens, herbs, potatoes, flowers, tomatoes and other crops. They also help weed, harvest, and maintain the garden space. The garden is sponsored by Whole Kids Foundation which enables us to create a vegetable garden where our young people can learn. Parent volunteers incorporate crafts, activities and thought projects aimed at encouraging students to enjoy gardening and each other, think about where our food comes from, and consider how we can be better stewards of our natural world.

Events That Have Happened in the Garden

  • April 2015 the Girl Scout Troop 310 made the first donation to help “seed” the St. Mary’s Garden project.
  • In December 2017 faculty were gifted a cookbook from the garden’s favorite recipes.
  • In February 2019 Shalom Farms speaker Steve came to St. Mary’s and talked about what they do.
  • On April 4, 2019, The Most Reverend Barry C. Knestout, Bishop of the Diocese of Richmond, blessed the garden.
  • In September 2020, Chef Gene helped transform butternut squash from our school garden into meals for local citizens in need through the Salvation Army’s Mobile Food Kitchen initiative.
  • In February 2021, Garden Club members presented Captain Melody Moran of the Salvation Army with $1,000 for their efforts in feeding the hungry in Richmond. The funds were raised by the Garden Club’s Carton2Garden project.

Salad Parties

Salad parties happen every now and then when the plants garden club grew are ready to be picked. The students eat the plants for lunch along with other things that the students bring in. Teachers and parents are allowed to come into the garden and join in on the salad party. They can also pick some of the plants to take home. An email will be sent when salad parties happen.

St. Phocus the Martyred Gardner

St. Phocus lived at Sinope, in Paphlagonia, on the black sea and was put to death during the persecutions launched by Emperor Diocletian. St. Phocus gave welcome to Roman soldiers sent to find him and execute him and, as they did not know who he was, he agreed to take them to the Phocus he sought. He fixed them food and allowed them to spend the night in his house. He then dug his own grave and prepared his soul. The next morning he went to tell the roman soldiers his identity. When he told them his identity the roman soldiers hesitated to kill him. St. Phocus lived by cultivating a garden. HIs house was open to all strangers and travellers who had no where to stay.

To learn more about St. Phocus at Catholic Online.

Garden Tips

  • Keep strawberry container, chicken containers, and anything like that.
  • Put some dirt in it and plant your seeds.
  • The container will act like a greenhouse.
  • After a while when the roots, become too big, transfer it into your garden.
  • Use old coffee grind for fertilizer, plus it smells good.

If you want to learn more about gardens visit Fit4Kids and Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden.