YES! students from New York Mills recently toured Lida Farm in Pelican Rapids where they learned about organic farming, wind turbine maintenance and how to mix really great soil. Tour guides Ryan and Maree Pesch, CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) owners and organic farmers, had the kids mix up blood meal, bone meal, and other nutrients into a soil mixture Ryan uses throughout the farm. Students also planted lettuce seed to take with them back to New York Mills school to try their luck at growing produce. The YES! team plans to plant a school garden again this year.
Next stop was Perham Middle School to see their apple orchard and school garden, tended by students in Wayne Werner’s class. Mr. Werner’s class started out growing pumpkins and now they have a wide array of flowers and produce. Tom Meinhover from Grass Roots Garden provided a wealth of information about different varieties of apple trees, giving examples of which ones are the hardiest in Minnesota and tips on pruning and overall care of apple trees. Tom’s advice to the students when starting an apple orchid or a school is garden is to “automate the watering system.” Tom felt this is the only way to ensure a successful growing season. Marilyn Hofland, U of M Extension Educator also joined the tour to provide on-going support for the team as they begin to grow their own local foods.
Thanks to all of our presenters for a fabulous look at growing apples and produce. The students who participated definitely learned a lot and look forward to incorporating what they learned at their school.
This was a fabulous finale to our Winter/Spring Workshops this school year!