Hunt School Discovery Gardens Project

Hunt, Texas — The Hunt Garden Club initiated a community project known as the Discovery Gardens with a small 11’ by 16’ experimental garden investigating the lasagna method versus traditional gardening originated in the fall of 1999 on the campus of the Hunt Elementary School.
Garden club members have volunteered their time one morning each week a with formal lesson presented by members and community experts.

Major steps have been taken in order to improve and enhance the Discovery Gardens program. A larger garden area allows each student to have his or her own plot. A tool shed was added along with compost bins. The community offered an immediate supply of organic components. A study of the major crops of the Geographical Regions of Texas was added to the curriculum plan. Crops to be planted included wheat, cotton, peanuts and spinach. Row covers helped students to protect a flourishing crop of cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and other winter vegetables. A greenhouse was constructed in the spring of 2002 in order to expand the short growing season by planting seeds for spring crops before the last frost.

The gardens are wholly organic and students have learned alternatives to the use of insecticides and artificial fertilizers. The science curriculum has helped the students to learn to recognize and protect or destroy beneficial and harmful insects. Worm propagation has helped to aerate the soil. The lasagna method was selected as the continuous method here, considering its appropriateness for gardens in the hill country soil. Fourth and fifth grade students are currently the focus of instruction.

The Garden Club is grateful for the support of the Hunt Independent School District and staff, gracious community advocates, various grants providers for educational programs, and students who are willing and motivated to learn and achieve success.

The Discovery Gardens have four major objectives:
1) To create an interest in gardening with young people.
2) To support the school curriculum through real life experiences.
3) To offer the opportunity for students to apply practical skills and to share their work with the Hill Country community.
4) To give students the opportunity to beautify their own environments.

Spring 2012

The spring 2012 Discovery Garden was planted by the 4th and 5th graders at the Hunt School on April 3rd. Summer type plants were grown from seeds in the greenhouse and planted in the garden along with additional donated seeds. Plants included in the spring planting were squash, tomatoes, peppers, beans, basil, cucumbers, eggplant and flowers. Students used their own homegrown compost. An early summer crop is expected as rain and water have been plentiful this spring. The rainwater collection system has been very successful. Produce not harvested before school is out will be offered to the community during summer months.

The fully installed rainwater harvesting system has been a successful source of water for the gardens. It uses gravity flow along with a solar pump for energy needs.