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New teacher plans for garden improvements

Doug KetoMill Road's new garden teacher, Doug Keto (pronounced kay-toe), is planning for a full year of activity in the garden, including using grant money to revitalize the garden and make improvements.

"I am thrilled to be the new garden teacher," said Keto, better known as Mr. Toe by this year's garden-goers. The first quarter has been a busy one for Keto and his students. 

"We've already planted our garlic (430ish cloves), weeded and mulched our beds, explored the soil, searched for potatoes, collected and saved seeds, played the Great Garden Gameshow, sped through our Compost Obstacle Relay Race, and started our very own Hügelkultur bed!," he said, adding, "I hope students have already taken something home from my lessons besides muddy clothes."

In the coming weeks and months, Keto hopes to design aquifers, make bread, pickle veggies and tap and sap our trees for syrup.

By that time, spring will have spring and, when the ground thaws, grant money will help add an accessibility ramp to the gazebo, install all-ability raised beds, purchase adaptive tools and add whimsical decorations.  

Before long, 3rd - 5th graders will be given the opportunity to join the Green Team, a group of highly specialized, highly trained individuals tasked with diverting food waste from school cafeterias to the district's very own high-tech compost. We'll also need the help of family members to deliver unopened milk cartons and unbitten apples to Red Hook Responds so they can be redistributed to the greater community (more details to follow).

Ultimately, the garden is a space for students to apply the skills and knowledge they gain in class through hands-on exploration and discovery, hopefully bringing those experiences back to the classroom and home.

Keto sends special thanks to the Garden Committee, Alyssa Valachovic, and Declan Dwyer-McNulty for all of their hard work and support this year. "The Garden wouldn't be the same without them!," he said.

If you have questions, comments or concerns about the garden, email Keto using the district directory.