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Students Build a Hoop House for Sensory Garden

From middle-level teacher Mr. Will Hudson:

Over the past few weeks, I have been working with several Middle Level volunteers to construct a hoop house above the raised garden bed located at the corner of the school by Oak Park and Pleasant. We planted garden greens and pansies donated by Good Earth Greenhouse and alumni parent Jenn Richards, as well as a variety of herb seeds. Our hope is that this garden will continue to grow and flourish well into the winter months!

I always enjoy building and making interesting things with interesting young people, and I'm grateful for these kids working on this project with me. Coming up, many of the same students have signed up to begin work on a DNR Schoolyard Habitat Action Grant to create a wildlife habitat area using native Illinois plants somewhere on the school grounds. Our grant application is due by the end of November, so stay tuned!

The students featured below were willing to share why they chose to work on this project, what they contributed, and their overall thoughts and impressions.


From Dakota: A few weeks ago Mr. Hudson came into both Mr K's and Ms Yamamoto's classes and told the students that he planned to build a hoop house over the garden bed in front of the school. He explained that along with building a hoop house we would have to add soil with high nutrients to the garden because it was not in the best condition for plants. We would also have to add seeds and pre-grown plants to the garden bed. The garden bed is going to be mainly used by the kindergarten and 1/2 grade classes as a sort of sensory garden. After he gathered all the kids who wanted to help with the garden bed, he split the project into three steps: 1: Adding fertilizer and fresh soil to the garden bed, 2: building the hoop house, and 3: planting the seeds and other pre-grown plants.

We got divided into different parts of the project. And while there were only three steps you could help with more than one part of the project. I helped mainly on the planting and the building parts. For the building part we had to build and attach a frame to the top of the garden bed. Then we used PVC pipes to make a structure.

Finally we covered it in a sheet of plastic to keep the hot air inside so that it would also be useful for winter months of the year. For the planting we planted pre grown plants like flowers and lettuce. We also only planted edible flowers and after we finished the project we took a photo in front of the garden bed. Overall it was a very fun experience and it felt good to help build something for the school.


From Maddie: The hoop house was a very interesting project that I really enjoyed doing. I contributed by planting flowers and lettuce, and placing mushroom compost and fertilizer. I have always had a fascination with plants, greens, and herbs, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity to help out around school while doing something I genuinely love doing. This was really fun and I hope we can do more projects like this!


From Aydin: Over this month Sixth and Seventh graders have worked with Mr. Hudson on creating a sensory garden for Kindergarteners. This project included three parts, weeding, planting, and building the green house top. I worked on two parts of this project: the weeding, which the whole group finished in one day, and then the second part was making the hoop house. The first thing I did was I helped cut the wood to size, then the next thing I helped with was making the plastic covering. The thing about this plastic covering was it was one of the hardest parts of this project due to the fact that the plastic came from recycled mattress packaging. We taped the plastic together and then clipped it to the pvc pipe frame. In general I think this was a very fun project that was very satisfying to see finished after the many weeks of work.


From Sol: Working on Mr.Hudson's garden was very fun, I love plants. We planted flowers, lettuce, and varieties of herb seeds. Under an umbrella of plastic covering and pvc pipes creating warmth for the growing plants. I think its a marvelous idea to have a sensory garden for the kindergarteners, especially since all the plants in there are edible.


From Admiral: I contributed to creating the hoop house by placing compost and seeds into the garden. I had a lot of fun putting the compost in the garden because it smelled bad and everyone was laughing and dying. I also had fun blessing the pansies and lettuce with the gift of water. I chose to participate because I like flowers and it'll be fun to see the different herbs when they're fully grown, especially during winter.


From Harrison: Over the span of two weeks, me and some of my classmates did a fun project. We did each level, I guess you could say, a few days a week. I was drawn to the project because I love building things, and it was a good way to help the school. I had so much fun and learned a lot too.



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