Instructional School Orchard

SchoolyardThis Dorsett Golden was planted along with about 60 other apple trees at a local elementary school about 5 years ago.   They had their problems with vandals pulling off apples and breaking branches off the trees, but the trees have outgrown all attempts to hurt them and now are bearing bumper crops.  Indeed, we could use a few vandals pulling apples off, as thinning these trees is quite a job now.

Before this the teacher in the portable classroom next to the orchard would have a paper tree on the tackboard and would pin blossoms to it in the spring, leaves and apples in the summer, make the leaves brown and falling in autumn, and bare in the winter; all just to demonstrate the seasons (that’s what city living does to kids).  Now they just take the class out and watch the bees pollinating and other lessons that can be learned by having an apple orchard on campus.

The school also has a community garden, but will be first to tell you that the orchard is almost zero work compared to a vegetable garden.  People are shocked first of all to see apples growing here, and then the size and productivity of the trees.  I think this has been a wonderful use of the formerly weedy and forelorn space between a couple portables, and one of the cheapest learning spaces a school could install, much cheaper than even a picnic table.

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