Harding Charter Preparatory High School embraces vision to refurbish school gardens
The radishes are up and the spinach is growing in the newly refurbished gardens at Harding Charter Preparatory High School.
When Harding Charter Prep relocated in summer 2019 to what was the former Centennial High School, it inherited a broken greenhouse and overgrown garden area.
Leslie Piccolo, garden curator and science teacher, presented a plan to the school’s administration last fall that included creating a community garden that would provide fresh vegetables to the school’s community and beyond.
With that in mind, the administration polled the students to assess interest in offering a horticulture class. The interest was high, and the administration began to seek funds and community partners to assist in this vision, according to a news release.
Rebekah Ebbs, owner of Urban Lawn and Landscape, whose company has partnered with the school the past four years, began to collaborate with Piccolo to fine-tune the vision of what a community vegetable garden, a pollinator garden and other outdoor spaces could look like.
This past summer, Piccolo, along with parents and student volunteers, removed all of the existing grass and, with help from partners, added a weed barrier then filled in with pea gravel.
Now, the garden area has a total of 12 raised beds that have been planted with organic fall vegetables, such as two varieties of kale, collard greens, spinach, three varieties of leaf lettuces, two varieties of radishes, carrots, beets and romaine lettuce. Brussels sprouts and cauliflower were planned, as well.
Piccolo said the project consists of three phases, including the raised-bed area; getting the greenhouse back to working condition; and completion of the pollinator area.