Walking through Sanchez Park, you’ve probably noticed the Bosque School garden. Sitting under the cottonwoods, several raised planter beds near the north end of the park by the pond make up this small but delightful space. If you walked by in the spring, you would have been greeted by the dozens of bright and cheery geraniums donated by the Bergamo family. If you strolled by in the summer, the newly-planted chile, tomato, watermelon, squash, and pumpkin plants were basking in the hot New Mexico sun. If you stopped by in the early fall, you probably noticed the chile plants thrived in that sun—the tomato, watermelon, squash, and pumpkin, not so much. And if you happened to wander past the garden last week, you might have been lucky enough to witness a chubby porcupine chomping away at what was left of the fall harvest.
The Bosque School garden—diligently tended to by 7th-grade dean and science teacher Jim Daly along with help from other teachers and students—has been a part of the Bosque School campus for years and is an integral part of the 7th-grade service learning program which focuses on food security and insecurity. As part of their learning experience, the 7th graders help winterize the garden, pull weeds, and prepare the soil. In their science classes in the early spring, they will start chiles and other vegetables from seeds that will eventually be planted in the planter beds. The Bosque School students will also be involved in the initial planting of the garden in the spring, and Mr. Daly hopes to have students from Horizons of New Mexico do some planting and summer maintenance while they are on campus during the summer of 2022, as they did this past summer.
This year’s harvest, which was mostly chiles, was shared with staffulty and people just walking by. Mr. Daly is hoping next year’s harvest will be even more bountiful, and his goal is to expand the garden and eventually be able to grow enough produce to donate to one of the local food distribution centers that the 7th-grade service learning program has partnered with in the past. In order to do that, he would like to increase the size of the garden by adding a dozen more raised beds and a couple of pollinator gardens. He also has some creative ideas for adding several other components to the garden that would complement the service learning experience, art, science, and other parts of the curriculum. Mr. Daly said, “COVID has placed many of these long-term service learning relationships on hold, and by actively engaging in the garden, field trips to local farms, community food banks, etc. The hope is to make the 7th-grade service learning experience a more integrated part of the 7th-grade curriculum.”
We are so excited to watch the Bosque School garden grow—and so are the porcupines!