O’FALLON – The Carriel Garden will join the list of vendors for the opening day of Vine Street Market at O’Fallon Station in May.
O’Fallon Station’s Vine Street Market will feature farm, culinary and artisan products on the second Saturday in May through the third Saturday in October from 8 a.m. to noon.
Seventh grade science teacher at Carriel, Amanda Mellenthin, said while the Carriel Garden is not a club, “it’s a lot of things.”
“It started small with worm composting and over time we started adding veggies in and and kind of built up the veggie side,” she said.
Mellenthin said the Carriel Garden has evolved in large part due to grant money through the district.
Through funding from the Emerson Gold Star Grant, Carriel gained a greenhouse. In the spring, the garden will receive a new pollinator patch and approximately $1,400 of plants.
Mellenthin spends time in the garden and the greenhouse with her science students and also the Carriel Eco Team.
Mellenthin has taught science at Carriel Jr. High ever since it opened 10 years ago. She said the garden was brought to life about a year after she started working. While Mellenthin was instrumental in the garden’s success, she attributes other teachers and classrooms for helping develop and expand it.
Mellenthin met Horticulturist and Market Coordinator for the City of O’Fallon Sarah Burton through the O’Fallon Garden Club. Burton is instrumental in putting together Vine Street Market.
“The O’Fallon Garden Club has helped us pull weeds when we have our community work days where we invite anybody that wants to help us keep this thing running,” Mellenthin said. “One of the members said to talk to Sarah.”
Mellenthin said Burton and the city helped the Carriel Garden by sharing pots for plants, which began a repertoire between the two.
Burton then asked if Mellenthin wanted to become involved with the Vine Street Market committee.
“I didn’t know too much about O’Fallon Station and the farmers market until she contacted me and said ‘did you want to get involved,’ she said. “I’m actually on their committee to help decide who’s going to be (in Vine Street Market).”
“She knew I was into the gardening scene and wanted to get another perspective,” Mellenthin said. “They try to get different viewpoints to make sure that it’s set up for everyone involved there.”
Mellenthin said selling the Carriel Garden plants was never what she had in mind. In previous years, after planting seeds in the garden with her students, they would give them away to Laverna Evans and Moye Elementary.
“Now — the second spring with the green house, we just decided they looked pretty good last year so I thought we could handle selling them at the market.”
Mellenthin said her seventh grade science students are currently working on a project to prepare for the farmers market.
“For whatever we sell, the kids are making flyers to go with them to say what plant it is and how you grow it,” she said. “They have to do research on it.”
Mellenthin said that her Eco Team students began planting seeds last week to prepare for the market.
While her students will be involved in Vine Street Market, Mellenthin said she hasn’t figured out who will participate as she has around 200 students.
The Carriel Garden program will be at the inaugural open of Vine Street Market on Saturday, May 11.
“We didn’t make plans to do anything beyond the first day,” Mellenthin said.
“I’m thinking it’s going to go pretty well,” she said. “The kids are excited about the opportunity to participate in it.”
Mellenthin said the Carriel Garden allows an opportunity for her students to get outside and be involved with the ecosystem.
The Carriel Garden will be bringing native pollinator starter plants like Swamp Milkweed, Common Milkweed and Purple Coneflower along with basics such as basil and marigolds. Proceeds from their sales will go toward supporting the garden program.
To stay up to date with what’s going on with the Carriel Garden, visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/CarrielGarden/
To find out more information about Vine Street Market at O’Fallon Station, visit https://www.ofallonweekly.com/2019/01/22/downtown-ofallons-newest-destination-vine-street-market-to-open-may-of-2019/