Collaboration gets the job done!
By Rachel Seemann

Master Gardeners are known for their community service. In return, the community receives a beautification project and Jesup students had the opportunity to learn new skills.

Four local Master Gardeners, Mary Steuben, Ruth Schneider, Ruth Hamilton and Nancy Weber chose beautifying the one room school house grounds, on the northwest corner of Jesup Community School’s campus, as their summer project. In the process, Jesup High School Industrial Tech and Ag students learned about landscaping and planting while providing labor.

Not only was a big garden created around the flag pole, edgers were laid and plants put around the entire perimeter of the school building.

The gardeners were able to procure a grant from Iowa State Extension to cover some of the costs. Jesup School pitched in for the hardscape and the FFA contributed some of their leftover plants from the annual plant sale. The gardeners also donated seed plugs to be used as well as their labor.

And labor intensive it was! The sod had to be cut and hauled away along with a pile of rocks. The edgers had to be laid. Then a rich soil compost was added to provide a good base before the actual plantings occurred.

“The goal of the project is to create a heir-loom type garden loaded with pollinator and native prairie plants similar to what the Prairie Pioneer Schoolhouse originally had,” said Mary Steuben.

The Master Gardeners also installed four bluebird houses around the area. According to Steuben, “It will take a year for the wood to age before bluebirds move in.” Mary Kies helped the Master Gardeners build the bird houses while Tom Kies loaned them his shop.

The final phase of the project will happen this fall when Hawkeye Community College will assist students with laying hardscape under a picnic table built by 2017 Jesup graduate, Kyle Oline.

Stop by this summer and see how the garden grows!
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