AJ Dillahay, Caleb Niswonger and Shelby Shinn were garden volunteers Wednesday and helped plant Zinnias and water the various crops at the school garden at Melrose Elementary School.

“I’m not used to planting,” Caleb said, explaining that he usually just helps water the plants and flowers.

Tammy Rasmussen, principal at the school, gave the students a quick lesson on Zinnias and planting. She explained they are flowers and to get the starts from the container you should hold them upside down and squeeze the sides so they’ll fall out and can be planted in the larger flower bed.

Rasmussen said the school tried to mimic their garden after plants that are an important part of the Melrose valley — blueberries from Norris Farms, pumpkins from Kruse Farms and lettuce from Integral Farms.

“I really like planting and seeing how beautiful things are,” Shelby said. She specifically liked to see ripe, red strawberries and dark purple flowers.

All students have access to the garden and the student council comes to water the garden twice a day.

The Baltos family, who own Integral Farms, donated several different kinds of seeds to the first graders in Angie Allen’s class.

Each student will get to plant their seed, watch them grow and then take the starts home to replant.

“We want to harness their curiosity,” Rasmussen said.

Allen said one of the things students learned in her class that big things can grow from small seeds.

In Kristin Wickert’s first grade class, students were learning about bees.

Orion Averett learned bees are pollinators. Braden Lander added, “We learned that honeybees make more honey than bumblebees. And, honeybees are harder to spot because they’re tiny. Bumblebees are big and fluffy.”

Students made a water color painting of a bee in a hive before heading to lunch.

Johnathan Townsend’s bee took over most of his paper. “I think it might be the queen bee,” he said.

Sanne Godfrey can be reached at sgodfrey@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4203. Follow her on Twitter

@sannegodfrey.

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