New Garden Program for West Union

Posted by Kristina Heagh-Avritt on 2/4/2019 3:00:00 PM

Lakshmi Tata and I (Amy Wachsmuth) are parent volunteers launching a new school garden program here at West Union Elementary. Lakshmi owns a small farm, and I am a long-time
home gardener recently turned Permaculture Designer. We are both passionate about bringing a garden program to our school that will touch every student.

spring onions Gardens bring a wonderful sensory experience to teaching as kids smell, touch, and eventually taste what they’re growing. Learning through movement and their senses, while nurturing things that will nourish them, is a powerful experience. One that spirals through science, math, and ignites the imagination.

We also hope to be a resource to teachers. We will coordinate
garden work with their schedules as much or a s little as they need, in effort to support the curriculum and provide enriching

Already this school year, we have planted garlic and spring onion with Mrs. Peterson’s Kindergarten, potted plants that were propagated from my home garden with Miss. Brandt’s 6th graders and Mrs. Heagh-Avritt’s 2nd graders.

Also, Cheryl from West Union Gardens, welcomed us to her family farm where we collected grape cuttings. Those will be ready for propagating with students, in the coming weeks.

What’s Next:
We are in the phase of finalizing our designs for the layout and creating a phased implementation plan. Each grade will have a 4’ x 8’ x 2’ raised garden bed to plant and care for. There will an herb spiral, demonstration beds, a secret garden, and much more. Once the designs are finalized and approved, I’ll share them for you to see.

Money, Money, Money!
The WUCC has generously given us a budget of $300 for annual garden expenses. We are also applying for grants through Tualatin Soil and Water Conservation District , Hillsboro Schools Foundation, 2019 KidsGardening Youth Garden Grant, and Gro More Grassroots Grant .

If you know of others please let us know. Also watch for a vegetable start fundraiser sale in spring.

Sponsors :
There is something about kids and gardening that gets the community excited. Already we have received a generous donation of a yard of compost from Recology Organics and gorgeous recycled fabric planting pots from Root Pouches. They were so generous with their donation that we were able to share them with other Hillsboro School Gardens and there was plenty for everyone. Also West Union Gardens gave us 30 cuttings from various table grape varieties.

Breaking Ground:
Now the fun part! Once funding is secured, we will break ground in late winter to be ready for spring planting. If you would like to volunteer your time and muscle power, please let us know.

If you would like to be on the School Garden Volunteer Team, please contact Amy ( or Lakshmi ( We need people who are
awesome organizers, creative designers, people to help in classrooms, as well as those that like to get their hands dirty.

Recess Helpers