Boyd Allen

It begins with seeds in February and culminates in a plant sale in May. The Brookings-Harbor High School garden ostensibly teaches science, but according to garden foreman and BHHS senior Donavan Estes, it also teaches management skills.

“Most of what I take from it is management,” he said. “But I enjoy getting my hands dirty and working with plants.”

Garden coordinator Lynette McPherson, Estes and about 40 students have planted, tended, transplanted and nurtured these plants for four months.

The garden gives students a way to learn outside of the classroom and gets them out in the sun, McPherson said. Some students learn better in a hands-on environment, she added.

In the outside garden, near the high school cafeteria, the students grow produce that is picked and cleaned and served in the cafeteria, she said. Excess produce is donated to the community kitchen and food banks.

Recently, the students used produce from the garden and other foods to produce and serve salads to the teachers for teacher appreciation week

She said the sale will take place in the garden on the same day as the high school open-house and student achievement night — May 31 from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. — and plants for sale will be placed near the raised beds where they were grown.

“It will give people a picture of the process,” McPherson said.

Kale, lettuce, tomato and other vegetable plants as well as herbs will be sold.

Across the street at Kalmiopsis Elementary School, she and her students manage a greenhouse. She said the greenhouse was donated by Rogue Credit Union.

AllCare Health pays her salary, she added, and that allows the schools to offer these learning opportunities.

“Investing in food securities and education is one of the many areas that AllCare sees as an important investment into the health of the county,” AllCare’s Curry County Manager Cameron McVay said.

Kids who grow their own food have a better chance of eating fresh food and making healthy choices, McPherson added.

Prior to supervising gardens in Brookings, McPherson was the garden coordinator in Crescent City and oversaw gardens at 12 schools.

Throughout the year, she teaches students from all three of the district’s schools, which adds up to about 700 visits a year.

McPherson indicated lettuce was the school’s best crop, but she added, tomatoes are tough to grow here.

“If you are near the ocean, they won’t grow well because of the salt in the air,” she said. “And we don’t get enough heat.”

Much of the lettuce and kale are grown hydroponically. The students cut the leaves for food and the plant grows to be harvested again.

All the tomatoes are grown from heirloom seeds and all the plants are open pollinated, so the plants support bees, hummingbirds and butterflies.

Customers will also find leeks, shallots and onions.

A farmer’s market booth and tasting will follow from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tours of the garden will be offered.

The money raised by selling the plants pays for next season’s necessities like tools, soils and containers.

Plants can be preordered at the high school office all week or at the Brookings-Harbor farmers market on Wednesdays.

Plants range in price from $1 to $3 and the complete list of plants can be obtained at the school or farmers market

For more information about the sale, please call 541- 661-2321.

Reach Boyd C. Allen at .