Touchstone Community School Garden Overview
Our garden that is located at the Touchstone Community School (TCS) in Grafton, MA stretches throughout the school campus. The campus is over 8-acres, with a variety of vegetation successional levels to include fields and meadows, a vernal pond, forests and many edge environments.
Upon arriving at TCS, there is a garden about 15 ft by 15ft next to the parking lot. This garden receives the most sun throughout the day, where tomatoes and pumpkins were grown during the 2010 season. Currently, we have planted a heritage wheat called Red Llamas. We look forward to seeing the wheat shoot up this coming spring and hope to harvest over 25 pounds of grain this coming fall!
There are numerous little gardens nestled around the perimeter of the main TCS building, with several ornamental shade gardens with hastas and a student created frog pond and habitat. A group of young students planted sunflowers along a long and narrow bed next to the playground.
The main garden is situated right in the middle of the upperfield playground, between the main building and the TCS Older Student Program (7th/8th grade) building. We have a greenhouse, where we are currently growing head lettuce, cut-and-come-again greens, as well as carrots. Here we store tools, as well as grain and supplies for the chickens (blog entry coming soon . On the west side of the greenhouse there are a variety of herbs to include chives, sage, and mint. There are two beds south of the greenhouse, one had strawberries the past few years (now it is under sheet mulch, planting schedule to be determined), while the other bed currently has garlic, asparagus, and the 4 ft by 12 ft chicken tractor with 2 chickens. On the north side of the greenhouse we have 3 compost bins. Students collect the compost from the classrooms/kitchen every afternoon, helping to improve the soil with wonderful compost and reducing the waste that leaves the building.
As you walk south-west down the hill from the main playground, there are a half dozen 2 ft by 2 ft raised beds that are currently under sheet mulch. Each of the mini gardens offered classes the opportunity to plant, tend, and harvest throughout the spring and fall. We also planted a 3 sisters garden last year and enjoyed the bounty of beans, squash, and corn. This garden site also has a nice shed for storage, and 3 more compost bins.
Come check out our campus and the gardens!