The still-chilly temperatures just before spring are ideal pea-planting time, and Corvallis High School horticulture students took advantage of Thursday’s mild, sunny weather to plant several rows of sweet snap peas in a garden near the school’s track.
“It fits with what we’ve been doing in class because we’ve been learning about elements such as nitrogen,” said freshman Calvin Harris. “Couldn’t have picked a better day to be doing this.”
The planting at a plot of soil dubbed Spartan Garden is the first such project led by the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University’s Healthy Youth Program. The institute conducts research and provides public education and intervention programs on the role of diet, lifestyle and micronutrients.
Its Healthy Youth Program was developed in 2009 in response to increasing childhood obesity rates in the United States. The program aims to provide educational and intervention programs to youth and their families to improve their diet and promote healthy lifestyle habits.
“We aren’t just showing students how to build and maintain a garden, but how to eat healthy,” said Candace Russo, the garden manager for the Healthy Youth Program.
The Spartan Garden project is being funded by various grants. Russo said the program hopes to expand and start projects at other schools.
And not just horticulture students are contributing to Spartan Garden. For example, art students are creating a sign for the garden, industrial arts students have created a shed and home economics students will use produce in recipes.
Russo said the horticulture students planted peas that are inoculated with nitrogen-fixing bacteria, and some that were not, so they can monitor their growth and yields over time to compare the two treatments.
Eventually, the students will get to try some of the fruits of their labor. However, they appeared to have mixed feelings about trying the peas, despite Russo describing them as “sweet, like candy.”
“I like them sometimes,” said freshman Jose Silva. “We’ll have to see how these taste.”
Silva should get a chance to try them in May, when they should be ripe and ready for picking.
Raju Woodward can be contacted at 758-9526 or firstname.lastname@example.org.