Planting Corn and Harvesting Peanuts

This week was a BUSY week.  Once the elementary students cleared a bed of peanuts, the kindergarteners planted a fresh row of corn.  Can you say perfect crop rotation?  It’s one of the key tenets of organic gardening.  And our school garden is totally organic.  Why?

Because we’re smart.  And healthy.  (Staying on Mother Nature’s good side doesn’t hurt, either. :)) As usual, we begin our lesson in the garden with a tour.  Sure we want to assess our garden’s progress but mostly we want to see how big our sprouts have grown! 

Nothing more exciting than a group of kids identifying the exact pumpkin they planted, or the precise bean, sunflower or tomato…  Well, you get my drift.  Community garden is a concept we’re still working to master.  Not to worry.  Our second favorite thing to do is share.  Especially oohs and aahs.  Just look at these beautiful sunflowers we planted!  Aren’t they gorgeous?

Our beans are making great progress, too.  Within no time these little guys will be climbing up, up and away!

And speaking of little guys, look who we found while harvesting peanuts.  Isn’t he precious?

 Unfortunately his peanut jungle is no longer.  Once these kids began to dig it became sunshine and chaos and cleared in no time.  But we had no choice.  The peanuts were ready.  C’mon kids–did you hear?  The peanuts are ready!

Well yeehaw and grab your pitchfork (or kitchen fork–tends to be safer) and get those peanuts up and out of the ground!  They’re everywhere!  Simply pry them from the ground using your fork to loosen peanuts from the soil and then pull gently.

Look ma, fresh peanuts!  Isn’t it cool how they grow? These were totally underground!

Uh oh, this one didn’t grow.  Do you think I can put it back?

Probably not, but it is neat to see how the peanut sprouts underground, isn’t it?  Kinda like seeing Mother Nature in action!  Besides, we have plans for this bed of dirt.  We’re growing corn and this will make the perfect spot.  Why?  Beans/peanuts leave lots of nitrogen in the soil and corn LOVES nitrogen.  Helps to make its leaves green!

But first we need to “cure” our peanuts which means allow them to dry.  So grab your plant and head over to the benches where we’ll set them out for a few days of oven-baked sunshine!

Our little ones did the work of pulling the peanuts from the roots.  And they did a fantastic job.  Didn’t miss a one!  Which is a good thing, because we have big plans for these peanuts.  We’re going to sample and taste.  Hmmmm-good!

And don’t forget to feed the compost pile with the leftover plants!  It’s hungry and like boys and girls, it needs to EAT if its going to grow big and strong and make good healthy dirt. 

Now that our bed of peanuts has been cleared, the last weed pulled, it’s time to plant the corn.  With a quick lesson these kids were ready for action.  Remember, no more than one kernel per hole, kids!

And away they went.  Like I said, it was a busy week.  We harvested, weeded, composted, crop rotated and planted–and just about in that order!  But best of all we learned something and had fun doing so.