Spotlight: Gáborné Besnyői
Gáborné, a former biology teacher, organized a school-wide planting effort at Pittner Dénes Primary School and Elementary Art School in Hungary. They’ve almost reached harvest and will soon have fresh radishes and strawberries to enjoy!
Big Green: How did you celebrate Plant a Seed Day?
I collaborated with the school director, Tilda, and local partners to figure out how we could implement our own “learning garden” in our school. The director handled the financial cover for the planting from a foundation. I bought the seeds, seedlings, planting bags, and ordered the soil. The day before planting my family and Tilda filled the bags with soil.
On the day of planting, the teachers brought children to the garden by class, where Tilda let them know the tasks and related information. The children planted the seeds with the help of the teachers and me. Every child has a bag to take care of–and of course they will eat the vegetables they grow. In the middle of the bag, a drip system was made from a punched plastic bottle (thinking of warmer days and reducing water use).
The school's caretaker, József, spread the remaining soil in the middle of the garden. We are hoping to plant peas, squash, corn, melons, and pumpkins in these beds before the summer.
The school had a garden for a long time in the past but it fell out of use. Plant a Seed Day was a great time to start again!
Big Green: How are your plants doing?!
Gáborné: I believe we can harvest the first vegetables in a few weeks. The radishes look great! Can't wait till the harvest day!
Big Green: What's your history with gardening?
Gáborné: I'm a former biology teacher, and the school director is a horticulturist.
Big Green: Tips for gardening with kids?
Gáborné: Let them dig in the soil with their bare hands! Earthworm hunting is the best game ever! At first, they’re afraid to touch soil or earthworms–but if you hold one and show them they don't bite, they will be not afraid and might be more enthusiastic. It's great to see them meet with nature again!
Big Green: What's your favorite part of gardening?
Gáborné: I like when I know what I'm eating. I don't use pesticides, nor chemical fertilizer, so I know I eat minimal chemicals and it's safe for my kids. I find weeding a meditative and a "present" activity, which I really need sometimes.
Big Green: Anything else you would like to add?
Gáborné: I think this knowledge we teach to children is important now–but will be much more important in the future! It is fine to teach them all things related to vegetables, but exciting to teach them they can do it, too. This knowledge gives them self-confidence and courage.