HURLEY — Elementary students at the Hurley K-12 School got their hands dirty as they prepared for another harvest at the school garden on Wednesday.
Wisconsin Nutrition Education Program Coordinator Joy Schelble and educator Deb Leonard, both of the Iron County University of Wisconsin-Extension office, helped students plant a variety of crops throughout the day, including a Three Sisters Garden.
“When the native Americans would plant their crops, they planted three different kinds at the same time,” Leonard said. “Little did they realize, they created a great chemical reaction.”
According to Leonard, corn, pull beans and summer squash were planted in the garden at the same time, creating nitrogen-balanced soil and a protective barrier.
“The corn releases nitrogen into the soil, and the beans soak up that nitrogen, balancing everything out,” Leonard said. “Then, the squash repels predators with spiny vines, so deer and other animals won’t eat the crops.”
The garden came at the perfect time for fourth grade students who are learning about native American culture.
The students have also planted, or will plant, zucchini, strawberries, cucumbers, peas, lettuce and garlic, as well as a “pizza” garden filled with herbs, and a straw bale garden.
The goal is to have students sell the crops at the Iron County Farmers Market throughout the summer on Wednesdays and supply food to the Iron County Food Pantry in Montreal.
“The students in the STARS program will handle that, and then in the fall, the crops will be used for the salad bar in the school,” Leonard said.
For more information on the garden, call the UW-Extension office at 715-561-2695 or the Hurley K-12 School at 715-561-4900.