We have started a garden this term with a very easy to handle short-term crop – ochro (that’s what we call it here, I know it’s called ‘okra’ internationally). A lot of good things have come out of this experience for my students:
They have shown that they can be responsible and reliable. They water their plants and harvest the ochro every two to three days. I saw teamwork – I chose the groupings because I did not want friends to work with each other, leaving out any of the lone rangers. Each plant had three caretakers. I remember a few weeks ago when I had to show them how to do thinning out, one girl had tears in her eyes because we were about to ‘kill’ one of her plants. I had to explain that it was for the greater good, etc. I ended up leaving one of the extra plants as being two plants in a hole to prove to them that it is thin out to one plant per hole and now that we are harvesting, they can now see why thinning out works. All of the plants were blooming and are now producing ochroes except for the two plants that were not thinned out (and these plants are a lot smaller than the other plants too).
By the way, have you ever eaten raw ockra? As long as it is young and still tender, it tastes really good (with a pinch of salt), just ask my students!