Sustainable New Jersey
The Milltown Public Schools have joined a certification program called Sustainable New Jersey. In this program the Parkview and Joyce Kilmer Schools work to become more environmentally friendly. This program includes, but is not limited to: reducing waste, creating healthier habits and a healthy school environment while educating our future leaders in the matters of sustainability.
Our goals for the 2018-2019 school year were to promote the use of the garden to grow our own food for the cafeteria, recycling, composting, and energy efficiency. After researching these sustainable topics the Parkview and Joyce Kilmer Green Clubs created posters and signs on how to accomplish these goals. In addition to the garden project, both Parkview and Joyce Kilmer’s Green Clubs worked weekly from March to June in the gardens and grew fruits and vegetables for the school cafeteria for the 2019-2020 school year.
During the 2018-2019 school year, 8th grader Julian Counterman advocated the adoption of the use of paper products in the cafeteria in lieu of styrofoam. The motion was passed by the Milltown Board of Education and will be in effect in the upcoming school year. This movement will improve the quality of the food the students consume as well as a cleaner environment for the earth due to the degradable properties of the paper.
The goal for the 2019-2020 school year in both Joyce Kilmer and Parkview is to create a healthier school environment with a focus on air quality in and out of the buildings. In addition we are focusing on promoting student and staff wellness through nutrition and exercise.
We are looking to create a safer and more sustainable environment every year!
Green Club Keeps on Growing
The Green Club does what they do best each year, and one of their many talents is successfully planting fruits and vegetables in their school gardens to bring home and share with the school cafeterias. Parkview School’s Green Club, led by Ms. Shemesh, along with the help of Lillian Carone and Liz Questa, completed lessons on how to safely use tools, how to read seed packages to learn how to properly plant seeds, composting, recycling, and reusing materials. Joyce Kilmer’s Green Club, along with Mr. Eckert and Mrs. Barnes had started weeding the garden late 2019 and early 2020 to prepare their plots for the plants of their choice, as seen in the group picture. This year, the Green Club had to get a little creative in continuing our gardening goals; the Green Club made lemons into lemonade!
Gardening has been continuing strong for the Parkview and Joyce Kilmer students despite our remote learning. It is wonderful seeing the beautiful gardens that the students have worked on. Some popular plants that the students have grown are tomatoes, peppers, spinach, red cabbage, broccoli, celery, and escarole. The students have been enjoying easily accessible nutritious foods in the comforts of their own home.
If you are interested in starting your own home garden, it is not too late. Creating a welcoming environment in the backyard or a sunlit room creates a sense of satisfaction and is a great educational hobby that relieves stress.
For the fruits listed below, all you need is soil, a plant appropriate location that fulfills its sun requirements, water, and possibly a plant cage or pole for support. Here are some tips for growing some New Jersey’s local favorite fruits:
Tomatoes - these plants enjoy a lot of sunlight with a bit of water. It may be best to have a cage surround this topheavy plant.
Cucumbers - these plants love a lot of sun, water, and warm weather. They fare best in the late spring and early summer. These plants enjoy climbing so if you have a cage, that would be perfect for them.
Green beans - if you are growing pole beans, be sure to have a tellis, netting, or other supplies that will give it support as it grows a whopping eight to ten feet tall. According to Savvy Gardening, sow seeds 1 inch deep and 3 inches apart for trellised pole beans, eventually thinning to 6 inches. If you are looking for a modest plant, try the bush bean. Sow the seeds of bush beans 1 inch deep and 2 inches apart in rows 18 to 24 inches apart.
Zucchini - these plants like to be planted about 3 to 4 inches apart in a location that receives full sun and has rich soil, according to Miracle-Gro. Water this plant constantly and it will give you plenty of fruit. For a teepee, use poles at least 7 feet tall and plant six to eight seeds around the base of each pole.
The Parkview and Joyce Kilmer Green Clubs hope these tips help you get started on your own garden and work together on our goals of sustainability. We wish you well and hope you can join in on the fun! Be sure to post your pictures of your gardens to the Homeroom page.
Stay tuned on Parent Square for our summer Green Club in the gardens. We will be following New Jersey protocol during these times.
Jabbour, Niki. “Growing Green Beans: In Garden Beds and Containers.” Savvy Gardening, 27 Sept. 2019, savvygardening.com/growing-green-beans/.
“How to Plant & Grow Zucchini.” Miracle, Miracle-Gro 72 68, 15 May 2020, www.miraclegro.com/en-us/library/edible-gardening/how-plant-grow-zucchini.
Mendham Garden Centers. “Anyone Can Garden with These 5 Easy-to-Grow Vegetables.” Mendham Garden Center, 16 Apr. 2018, www.mendhamgardencenter.com/blog/easy-to-grow-vegetables-garden-supply-new-jersey/.
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