Starting to build up in 5th grade pea contest

Jefferson trellis class fotoMs. Dillane’s class pulls ahead in the fifth grade pea-growing contest, being the first class to build a trellis and create more growing space for their little green vegetables. Ms. Dillane’s students wanted something authentic to Thomas Jefferson’s garden. The pea contest to grow the longest vine, produce the first pea, and yield the most peas is a nod to Mr. Jefferson, who held a friendly pea-growing contest every year with his neighbors. (See this post for background info.)

By looking at A Rich Spot of Earth, a book about Monticello’s gardens written by Monticello gardens and grounds director Peter Hatch, Ms. Dillane’s students learned that Mr. Jefferson used organic materials like peach tree cuttings to support his peas. Belvedere doesn’t have any peach trees, so we used what we had: dried mammoth sunflower stems (about one-inch in diameter) and cuttings from crape myrtles.

building Jefferson trellisSome students weeded the Team Dillane portion of the bed while others fashioned the trellis. Now the dozen or so pea plants have room to stretch.



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