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Vegetables Growing At Mill Pond Garden

Mill Pond Elementary School's principal gives Patch an update on community garden

The crops are beginning to show signs of growth at the community garden planted earlier this year at the in Lacey.

Principal Sue Gallagher said some squash and eggplants can be seen while other plants have begun to flower.

"None of the crops are ready yet, but we have peas and some snap peas growing," Gallagher said.

Gallagher said when the vegetables are ready to be picked they will be collected and given to the Lacey Foodbank, which distributes food to those in need on Thursdays.

Squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce and some eggplants will be ready later in the summer.

Special education teacher Anthony Mangeruga recently spent a Saturday installing a simple sprinkler system in the garden.

"It's not like what you would get from a landscaper; he buried hoses and set it on a timer. The plants are watered at 4:30 in the morning so it stays watered without someone having to get out there," she said.

The garden, Gallagher said, is planted on three raised wooden boxes, each about 16 feet by 6 feet.

The boxes were constructed by students under the direction of carpenter and teacher Skip Peters at Deer Head Lake High School.

Also added since it was installed in February are donated tires turned into planters.

"Several sixth-grade classes will be painting the tires and arranging them in the garden to be used for additional space. The hope is that flowers will also be planted for added beauty," Gallagher said.

Th garden was funded through two grants, one from the Ocean First Foundation and one from the Lacey Rotary.

The funds were used to purchase crops, fertilizer and fencing, the principal said.

"There is some surplus, we want to replenish some of the funds for next year," she added.

One of the grants is almost depleted, Gallagher said. "I'm looking to start a community garden club to continue the work in the garden in the coming years."

The garden is located in one of two courtyards at the school.

In the other courtyard there is excitement of another kind where a mother duck has made her annual trip to lay her eggs and raise her ducklings.

"This one duck returns every year; she lays her eggs in the courtyard. The ducklings are getting big," Gallagher said.

Teacher Debra Sloan provided duck food. The group began feeding the ducks their own food and they have left the produce alone, Gallagher said.

"She's great with all the animals, she fills the bird feeders," Gallagher said of Sloan.

Gallagher said overall the garden is a great success already.

"The students are getting a bit more excited, they see the peas going up the fence. The teachers who teach science take students out there and they are very excited, now they see something happening," Gallagher said.

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