It was a planting of seeds as much to gain knowledge as it is to grow vegetables.
St. Anthony’s Catholic School in the 500 block of East North Street is focusing on a new vegetable and flower garden in eight plots behind the school office as part of its effort to stress agricultural education.
St. Anthony’s Church Pastor Fr. Chad Wahl presided over a religious blessing of the planting sites by sprinkling holy water on the earth while praying for a good harvest of winter vegetables and flowers.
Principal Susie Dickert assigned a former third grade teacher at the school, Monica Abrew, to the advisor role for the gardening activity that includes eight 4- by 8-foot foot above ground plots with wooden frames designed with a drip irrigation system.
The effort is being made possible by a $5,000 grant from Raley’s Supermarkets. The seeds for the garden were donated by Matt Cultrer of Mako Farms in Ripon. Cultrer is a master gardener. Advice on gardening and the choice of plants to be used came from Tom Powell of the Manteca Garden Club. Manuel Pires from Pires Landscaping upgraded existing irrigation and upgraded it to fit the current garden layout just west of the school office.
The gardens will see the sprouting of winter vegetables including lettuce varieties, spinach, broccoli, chard, green onions, turnips, beets, radishes carrots and tulip bulbs along with an herb garden.
Abrew had the older children gather around her following the kick-off and blessing ceremonies and showed them the proper way to plant seeds in the garden – making a small ditch with a stick and putting seeds in plastic cups and dropping them separately and carefully into the earth before covering he dirt back up ready for watering.
In addition to the K-8 students, the preschoolers at St. Anthony’s will also have a hand in tending the garden through the winter months.
To contact Glenn Kahl, email firstname.lastname@example.org.