My Granddaddy, picking fruit

I’m a freelance writer and the parent of two daughters who attend George Watts Montessori magnet in Durham, N.C.

I’m also the coordinator and founder of the George Watts Montessori edible garden.

Though I’ve come late to gardening, I like to think I’m genetically predisposed: When I was just a girl, my father’s parents had a small farm/large garden in Taylorsville, N.C., and I have fond memories of snapping beans on the porch, picking strawberries from the field, and standing under the cool shade of the trellised scuppernongs to squeeze them from their tough skins.

Clearly, I’m no gardening expert. Luckily I’ve managed to meet a local community of people interested in gardens, outdoor learning, food systems and nutrition.

But enough about me.

This blog attempts to share not only what I know, but, more importantly, what they know. It covers everything from grant writing to planting schedules to bringing gardens into the science curriculum to navigating the bureaucracy of the public school system.


The edible garden is actually three gardens: a fruit garden and arbor, a courtyard garden full of perennials and annuals, and a series of raised beds on the playground. In total, we have well over 200 plants.

So far, the children have harvested from the garden and then prepared and eaten lettuce, arugula, carrots, radishes, strawberries, raspberries, jostaberries, blackberries, tomatoes, onions, garlic, cabbage, broccoli, peppers, cucumbers, basil, squash, and bronze fennel.

Every classroom participates in weekly care of the garden. Students do everything from watering to weeding to mulching. Our school nutritionist helps do in-garden cooking and tasting events.

We deeply appreciate all the support we’ve received from our school community and other organizations. We particularly appreciate the recent support of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation. And we can always use more volunteers, talent and donations. If you’d like to lend support to the garden, please contact me at alice.b@earthlink.net.

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