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The Gordon School

From ocean bed to garden bed

Third grade brings seaweed into the gardens

With the last of the summer crops harvested, Gordon’s gardeners have been focusing on preparing next year’s garden beds with compost.
 

This past weekend, Cush Gillen and Nick Terry from Gordon’s science team headed out to the rainy cold of Jamestown’s beaches to harvest seaweed.
 

The use of seaweed as fertilizer is a strategy long used by farmers in the area, and the right to collect seaweed from the shore is specifically protected by the Rhode Island constitution.
 

Back on campus today, Mr. Terry talked with the third grade about the concept of regenerative agriculture.
 

The students could see that this conversation was leading to something fun and dirty and smelly.
 

But they couldn’t help themselves.
 

They kept asking questions, and suggesting tangents.
 

Everyone wanted to weigh in with what they knew about fertilizers, lawns, indigenous planting practices, sea mites, water mice, whether seaweed is alive or not (and how to tell), and the importance of moisture when testing for pH.
 

Mr. Terry heard them out.
 

Then, he unleashed them on the garden.
 

Students laid about an inch worth of seaweed across their garden bed.
 

They will let it lie untouched for the next three months.
 

They’ve taken a sample of the soil before this fertilization, and they will test it again in the spring to see what the seaweed did.
 

Then, they will plant corn, beans and squash, and see it through the summer.
 

Then, next fall, they’ll harvest it, and share what they’ve grown with next year’s third grade, before handing the garden, and the process, off to them.
 

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