Written by Stepping Stone teacher, Tabea Steinbeisser-Fitz

When the Stepping Stone children planted their vegetable garden last spring, we had no idea we would create a whole new menu in October. Thursday’s beloved snack is made with our homegrown baked potatoes, kale chips, and peppers topped with fresh parsley! 

In the back row of our 3 garden beds, we planted mums in all kinds of colors. The children were busy planting potato seedlings, young kale, pepper plants, parsley, and marigolds for silk dyeing in early spring. The children loved when we got the watering cans out. Not only did the plants get a good soaking, but the children did too. We weeded and were delighted when we found worms and bugs.

After a long summer, we returned to find tall and mature plants, ready to be harvested. And harvest we did! From digging up a big crop of golden potatoes to weekly picking of kale and orange peppers, we eagerly tended to our garden. We loved picking mums and marigolds and made beautiful bouquets for our office staff and front desk. The marigolds made a deep yellow dye for our “Golden Capes of Courage” at Michaelmas. All this work filled us all with purpose, joy and gratitude for Mother Earth. 

We held a Thanksgiving feast in November with everything we could find in our garden. The children brought herbs, flowers, seeds, and vegetables from their gardens at home. We gathered around the nicely arranged, full harvest table and touched and smelled the different herbs and flowers. We said a special gratitude prayer to Mother Earth for feeding us so well.

There is nothing more tasty and rewarding than making a meal from our own garden. It begins with harvesting and continues with scrubbing potatoes and washing kale leaves. This is work the children very much love (anything with water is great fun!). The smell of the baked potatoes and kale chips even drew some visitors to our classroom. To our amazement, our homegrown vegetables lasted until almost Christmas! 

Thanks to a skilled parent who built and installed a beautiful new garden box and the class parents who donated spring bulbs, we engaged in a new garden project: creating a spring garden. The children helped to plant each bulb and cover it with dirt with great care. We were busy shoveling mushroom soil into the new garden box for weeks. It was a joyful task for all. We look forward to spring  and we’re excited to learn what kinds of flowers will grow, and how they will make our playground a more welcoming, colorful, sweet smelling, and beautiful place.

It fills my heart with deep joy and gratitude to be able to live off of our own garden, participate in and witness the seasons year-round, and be nourished by the gifts of the earth. Likewise, it calls each of us to take care of what is given to us, to become participants and stewards of our gardens, and to appreciate the hard work of farmers and gardeners all around the world. It is a blessing to share this work with the Stepping Stone children.