Club Spotlight: Garden Gnomes

Caden Petty, Staff Writer

Caden Petty

Did you know the school has a garden? Probably not. Anytime I have heard the school’s garden (which is located outside the back of FM9) mentioned, at least half the students near blurt “wait, we have a garden?” Funny enough, we actually have an entire club dedicated to caring for the garden and gardening in general.

The club is called Garden Gnomes. They are fairly new, emerging just last year during the pandemic. The pool of members is still quite small but growing rapidly from last year. The club meetings normally include weeding the garden and caring for the plants. Currently the garden is growing carrots, lettuce, beets, potatoes and peas. They will soon be planting a batch of seeds for their first harvest this school year around November or December.

The Garden Gnomes’ plan this semester is to focus on the main garden, including all the vegetables. Then next semester, their focus is going to be more on the Butterfly Garden which includes numerous flowers, herbs, and nectar plants. They also have some side projects to keep them busy. Mrs. Killough, the sponsor, has been working on carts and stands with hydroponics systems for indoor gardening. Their goal is to work on these throughout the whole year, learning how hydroponics works and growing lettuce and other leafy vegetables indoors. 

The current members that attended the meeting really enjoy the club.

“I really enjoy coming and working on the garden with Mrs. Killough. Over the summer we harvested a ton of carrots, the most I’ve seen in my life. I have also learned a ton about plants, gardening and the hydroponics systems,” said junior Rachel Hernandez.  “For kids who like gardening without a home garden this is an amazing opportunity.” The Garden Gnomes are donating nearly all of the food produced in the school’s garden. The club plans to contact multiple food banks in the area to donate, as well as creating a school food store for kids to buy food with “kindness points” to take home to their families. The club wants to focus on donating to the school’s store to help fellow students inside our own district that are less fortunate. 

Stands around the FM9 campus are growing lettuce. Those are hydroponic growing stands that Mrs. Killough and the Garden Gnomes are operating and learning about at the moment. Hydroponics is essentially gardening inside, but only works with leafy plants that grow above the ground. 

“It’s fascinating that we as a society have learned how to grow plants without even using the earth or soil at all,” Senior Victoria Balderas said. 

The club is still  fairly small,but it seems to be growing immensely.  Four out of the 15 students in the club are returning members. With many more members this year, and more to come, the Garden Gnomes are going to bring our school’s resident garden to a new level.