Full STEAM Ahead: Building A Community Garden


In a quiet space formerly known as the White House Lumber yard, Well-STEAM gardening students are building a community garden at the direction of Natalie Zarante and Darla White. This year marks the second year of the gardening class being offered in Well-STEAM’s curriculum.

Zarante, who also pioneered the Pampa Farmer’s Market, has big plans for the garden’s future. 

“Our goal here is to turn this space into a community garden, and the kids are just helping to build it,” she explained.

“Eventually, this entire (space) will be covered and gravel and we’ll have probably 30 beds. We want to create a learning circle in the middle with an outdoor kitchen. Back in the corner, I have the idea of putting up hoop houses and another lean-to, and maybe like a natural playground.”

“We’d like to get the community involved.”

Well-STEAM students meet at the garden three times a week to tend it. They rotate responsibilities including watering, weeding, planting and creating their own compost. 

“Right now, we’ve got garlic beds. We’re going to pull those pretty soon,” Zarante shared. “Then we’ve got lettuce, peas, onions, tomatoes, carrots, radishes, beets, cucumbers and watermelon. Those are all in the basement right now though, we’re growing them as transplants. We’re going to bring them out and transplant them (after harvesting the garlic), because the garlic is not gonna be here all summer.”

“We’ve also got some asparagus and strawberries growing, and some green beans, blueberries, blackberries and potatoes.”

Rotating plants throughout the growing season maximizes the harvests of the beds currently in the garden, which number roughly around half of a dozen. The class’s focus on sustainability also includes utilization of rain water collected and self-created compost.

“We’re creating our own compost, so we’re saving food scraps and mixing it with hay and all of our plants from last year,” Zarante said.

While the gardening class is full this school year, sign-ups for next year’s gardening class will begin around September by Zarante’s estimation. 

“Kids don’t have to be a full-time student at the Well to join- they can just take the gardening class if they want,” she clarified.

For more information about Well-STEAM’s curriculum or their community garden, check out their Facebook page.