Many green thumbs keep BCMS garden growing through hot summer

Students looking up as the weed through the carrot section of the Bethlehem Middle School Garden
BCMS students spent much of their morning weeding through the carrot garden.

Many hands make for light work. Thankfully, those many hands have green thumbs.

The garden at Bethlehem Central Middle School does not stop growing in the summer. That is why multiple times a week, you’ll find students and community members stopping by to take care of the crops.

“I think it looks pretty beautiful right now,” said Eli Ketzer, a rising eighth grade student at BCMS. “I hope that one sunflower gets back up again. The lettuce I hope turns out good in the fall and I hope the corn does well.”

“The students have been coming out regularly and keeping us on track,” Mark Warford, BCMS assistant principal said.

Many fruits and vegetables of their labor can be seen by walking through the rows. Tomatoes, eggplants, peppers—all poking their heads out from the plants.

Weathering the heat

A pepper and tomato growing off plants in BCMS garden
Produce peeking through the plants in the BCMS Garden

The weather this year has brought some challenges. Warford, who leads the effort behind the garden, has had to rely on some of the garden’s advanced tools more like the groundwater lines to keep the crops nourished.

“We’ve experienced a number of obstacles that farmers face,” Warford said. “It has been a very challenging summer because of the heat and humidity.”

Warford is also a leader of the districtwide BC Green Team.

Summer hobby for students

BCMS Student Eli Ketzer listens to conversation while working in BCMS garden.
Eli Ketzer, rising eighth grade student at BCMS, listens to discussion while working in the garden.

While the garden is full of crops and lessons to learn, students said they like the friendships that grow from the summer hobby.

“I like communicating with friends and being in the sun at the same time,” said Aksajha Banavali, a rising seventh grade student.

“I feel like it’s something productive to do and I’m pretty good at it,” Ketzer said.

The middle school has a garden club that meets regularly during the school year.

The success of the garden will come from more mornings and evenings of good conversation and hard work. Every Tuesday evening, community members tend to the garden as well.

“The community gardeners have really stepped up this year. I’m very appreciative,” Warford said. “I am very hopeful we’re going to have a full fall harvest like we usually do, and we’re going to be able to do our Salads for Kids Day this year.”