With seven garden beds, a circular seating area, two picnic tables, a garden shed, composters, irrigation and white boards, our Outdoor Classroom and Garden (located next to the District Office, behind the covered play area) is a bountiful outdoor education area used by the whole school for studies in a variety of core subjects. Students come to plant, explore, learn and touch in myriad lessons taking place throughout the garden cycles.

To read more about the school’s garden program, check out the the district website page: Outdoor Classroom & Garden

RGS Garden School – Community Update- May, 2021

Posted by & filed under Garden Education, Grade School News.

Hi community!  We have had a lot of questions about the garden program for the last few months, so I wanted to reach out to everyone about the garden’s status and plans for the future.  At this point and for this year, because of many different factors including budget, COVID restrictions, and other much larger and more pressing priorities, the in-person garden program has been on a temporary hold.  While on hold, I have been working in the background in collaboration with acting principal Jen MacDonald on plans, curriculum, grant writing, and other administrative efforts, getting ready for the time when attention can be focused back on our garden classes and programs. We have some work to do to get there, but when it’s possible, I will update the community immediately and look for the support we need to restore a healthy and vibrant program.

Thank you so much for your continued interest, and have a healthy, happy and safe end of the school year.

Michelle Greissinger
RGS Garden Coordinator 

RGS Garden School – Time to plant & prune – March, 2021

Posted by & filed under Garden Education, Grade School News.

This week, after working to recover the neighborhood after nature’s messy pruning job leftover from the ice storm, it’s time to human-prune fruit trees and woody shrubs.  Even If you’ve never pruned before, it’s easily learned from videos— Oregon State University’s Extension Service has produced great education materials about a number of gardening methods—you just need sharp pruners and a willingness to learn. My kiddo has been helping me prune our orchard since he could walk, and it’s a fun spring tradition.  

Even the littles can get involved by picking up branch whips.  Larger sticks and small branches can quickly be made into a teepee, and smaller whips can be woven into a rudimentary basket or plate.  It’s also time to plant fruit before the trees and shrub buds grow too big— I am rushing to put my budding new blueberry plants in this week after looking at them this morning.  If you don’t have any fruit in your yard you should consider getting some— there are awesome growers all around the Willamette Valley.  

Feel free to email me with any questions, and happy beginning of fruit season!

With joy,

Michelle Greissinger – RGS Garden Program Coordinator and Educator

RGS Garden Update – Winter, 2021

Posted by & filed under Garden Education, Grade School News.

OOOOOOOO it’s so cold out! We enjoyed the snow, if only for a brief moment and I hope you did too! With a break in the outdoor play, we are starting a few vegetables this week that can be planted out while it’s still cold (ish). Cold weather crops like lettuce, mizunas, mustards, and scallions can be started now in a south facing window or preferably with a grow light and a little extra heat from a growing mat, with the intention of growing them inside until the soil temperature is dependably above 35 degrees.

Kale, turnips, arugula, all kinds of other greens and broccoli are crops that do fine uncovered outside after a mild frost (30 to 32 degrees) and with protection during extremely cold weather (below 30). Give it a shot! As long as the plants have more than 9 hours a day of sunlight, they will start growing slowly.

Michelle Greissinger

RGS Garden Update – November, 2020

Posted by & filed under Garden Education, Grade School News.

It’s been quiet for the Riverdale Garden.  After the smoke and fires forced an early dormancy on the food crops, all that was left to do was to clear them out and put the beds to sleep for the winter.  

Just like in the rest of our lives during COVID, I look forward to a Spring of new growth and possibilities.  While I’m not tending the garden directly during the Fall and Winter, I am working hard behind the scenes with planning crops for next year, ordering seeds, taking inventory, raising money to support the program and figuring out what the future might look like in 2021.  Thanks for your continued support and wish you all healthy and well.  

Michelle Greissinger

RGS Garden Update – Fall 2020

Posted by & filed under Garden Education, Grade School News.

Since I last saw you all the garden has also had lots of changes due to COVID19.   

No students in the garden meant the back beds were left to go wild, while the front beds grew beautiful tomatoes, squashes, corn, and cucumbers.    Stop by and grab a tomato, but please let the squash and melons continue to grow. 

As we transition into the new school year there are quite a few things needed in the garden too:

Tools— almost all of our tools were taken while school was closed.  We need shovels, rakes, loppers, to name a few. 

Adult volunteers— I would love to find a parent or community member who is an experienced flower gardener who wants to take on reclaiming and maintaining the rock border wall around the learning garden. 

Plants, seeds, cash donations— we need seeds and plants for the fall, winter, and spring. (Food, herbs and flowers).   Gift cards at nurseries are great—we stay local as much as possible, so a donation of a gift card from your favorite local nursery would be a special student, business and garden support during these strange times!

Email gardenrgs@gmail.com if you have any items to donate or to get in touch about being a special adult volunteer.   Also feel free to have students send garden stories or questions of their own to our own master gardener.

Happy Gardening!
Michelle Greissinger

Tools needed in the garden!

Posted by & filed under Garden Education, Grade School News.

While the garden has grown over the summer the tool supply has sadly shrunk! We have so many students in the garden doing hard work this year, and not enough tools for them, and are hoping some parents or community members have some lying around to donate to us. Particular needs are:

  • rakes (metal or reed-type)
  • shovels (2-3)
  • hoes (2-3)
  • hand clippers (5-7)
  • loppers (3-5)

Email Michelle Greissinger to connect to do a donation.

Please feel free to donate whatever additional tools you think might be helpful!