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Hillside Elementary garden 'springs' to life | Environment

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Hillside Elementary garden 'springs' to life
Hillside Elementary garden 'springs' to life

ROSWELL, Ga. -- Vegetables have begun to sprout in the gardens of Roswell's Hillside Elementary School.

Last fall, Ashley Ward's first grade class at Hillside planted a salad garden that included cabbage and broccoli. They used organic methods to care for their vegetables all winter.

However, after the snow and ice storms in December and January, it appeared that the broccoli didn't survive.

The concerned students sought advice from planting experts at Pike Nurseries, who encouraged them to give the broccoli some time to rebound. This patience and persistence paid off -- last week, when the students visited the garden, they were overjoyed to discover that their broccoli was still standing.

Mrs. Ward helped the students identify the plants that appeared to still be alive, but were actually rotten on the inside. They quickly learned that their broccoli plants were not dead, but thriving and ready to be harvested.

A few plants didn't make it through the winter; the students composted them so they could be used to harvest the healthy ones.

In addition to the broccoli, the Hillside garden is full of lettuce, potatoes, cabbage, carrots, onions, radishes, collards, Brussels sprouts and peanuts. There are also a few flowering bulbs, including tulips and jonquils.

The garden is being used to teach children about the environment, organic gardening and healthy eating. It is part of the "Planting Seeds, Growing Minds" project that the school developed in 2009.

The garden and its greenhouse were funded through grants from Lowe's and the Toshiba Corporation. Parents, students, Girl and Boy Scouts, and Hillside's All-Pro Dads volunteered their time to construct, plant and maintain the gardens.