Edible Peace Patch Blogs

Check out our other blogs here: http://peacepatch.org/blogs.htm

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Break from the gusty weather

Today was not nearly as windy as it had been the previous few days. Today we did not have any students come out becuase they were all enjoying their spring break. Since we do not have any students coming out, we decided that not everyone had to come out for their shifts. The early shift this morning tried to fix some of the broken trellises, but the tools available would not suffice, so were going to get the necessary tools and repair them tomorrow. The first shift also watered all the beds becuase it was pretty hot out, and the sun was really shinning brightly. I'm sure the plants really enjoyed their shower. The second shift ended up watering everything that the first crew did not get to. Other things to report- The three sisters now have at least some support, but larger sticks are going to be needed soon. The peppers are coming up nicely, along with the okra. I had a bite of spinach, it looked and tasted really nice, there was also a lady bug protecting the spinach from pests.

Tomorrow we plan on fixing the trellises so the climbing plants can do their thing.
Until tomorrow!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Attack of the winds!

The powerful gusts of the weekend did a number on our trellises and our greenhouse. Nearly all of the red trellises blew over and some of them broke, and somehow the greenhouse relocated itself across the garden onto the picnic tables! Also, some of the beautiful clay signs made by the kids lost a few letters, but we can fix them with a little gorilla glue.
The good news (actually WONDERFUL news) is that pretty much all of our plants remain unscathed! How ironic that our "tough" man-made materials were unable to withstand the force of Nature yet the immobile, vulnerable plants endured.
The school was eerily quiet without the children, who are enjoying their spring this week. It is a totally different experience without them. The Edible Peace Patch is very peaceful but it's definitely missing the laughter of the kids that care for it. There are only two shifts a day for the whole week with two Eckerd students each: morning and afternoon. Today revolved mostly around damage assessment. The trellises will need to be repaired once we get a staple gun/nails/twine (it is uncertain which of these will work best). The morning shift picked up trash, gathered up the broken pieces, got compost from the cafeteria and attempted to move the greenhouse but it is too heavy for just two...how did the wind take it?!
The afternoon shift moved the broken trellises to the fence where they won't be stepped on or tripped over, made an effort to secure the standing trellises, weeded some grass, and marked the plants missing trellises with flags. Kathy and Alex removed a radish that was poking its way out of the soil, and are happy to report it was delicious! Everything is coming along nicely, we will definitely have a plethora of vegetables for our Harvest Fest which is approaching soon!

Friday, March 27, 2009

"A light wind swept over the corn, and all nature laughed in the sunshine."

It's been breezy, but it's perfect for how hot the sun has been getting. Maybe the wind will push in some rain. Some beds are a little more fruitful than others, but they're getting there. Students have been able to eat some Sugar Snap Peas and Spinach. Turnips are ready to come up and have another harvest. Some of the sunflowers are as big as our second graders and blooming! The Three Sisters are getting so big they're starting to crowd out each other, so we've have to do some transplanting. We've added another addition to our herb garden: cilantro. There was a tomato ripe enough to eat, so we ate it! It was mmmmm good.

Today, we received a milkweed plant from Ms. Garcia's Pre-K class. It has a caterpillar transitioning into a Monarch Butterfly! As you can see the cocoon is beautifully decorated with a golden color. Hopefully he won't get blown away and we'll have a beautiful butterfly by the end of next week!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Today was our second day back at the garden since Spring Break. It's so exciting to see all the new growth that has occurred in the last week. Everything has shot up and we're finally starting to see the appearance of vegetables. We spent the morning with Ms. Ash and Ms. Knight's 5th and 3rd grade classes. We watered everything and spent a lot of time looking at the changes to the garden and weeding grass from underneath the mulch. It's tough work and gets tedious after some time, but the kids seem to really enjoy it. We also did activities learning about the parts of the plants and applied it to the plants growing in our garden. It was really nice to have the kids come back out after the break because they seem to have a renewed interest and enthusiasm for our Peace Patch. We also had a visitor from the school district's TV station. It's really cool that there's so much public interest in our project and we hope that it will expand people's interest in gardening. The afternoon was spent watering the beds again (it's finally getting hot enough that the plants really need more water) and weeding some more. All in all, it was a really productive day and its really nice to be back.

Today was the first day back after our week long spring break. The kids were excited to be back out in the garden. Between Eckerd's Spring Break and FCAT Testing it has been a while since many of the elementary schoolers have been out into the garden. It is really amazing to see how much the plants have grown and developed over the past weeks. The kids cant believe how much things have changed. Many plants are showing new signs of flowers and buds. The garden is buzzing with life. Plants are shooting up the trellises. The lady beetle eggs that we found before break seem to have hatched and new eggs have been laid on the sunflowers. The new flowers and vegetable sprouts have added a lot of color to the edible peace patch. It is great to finally see our goal turn into a reality. Today we started the daunting task of weeding the walk ways of the garden. We systematically went though uncovering mulch and pulling up the weeds that we found underneath. This task will take time and a lot of hard work. The mulch has helped to retain moisture in the soil, which has aided the growth of the weeds.

Todays second grade class was happier than ever to be out in the garden. They all seemed interested in what new things were growing in the garden since their last visit. It is a lot easier to teach the children about the garden now that they can actually visually see the plants. The second graders discussed parts of a plant in small groups. Then they drew their own plants from the garden, and they labeled the different parts of the plants in their drawings.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The End of Spring Break

Andrea came out to the Peace Patch this morning and we got to work on the massive job of fighting the grass. We took a risk when we threw down the mulch on top of living grass. I had hoped the traffic and the lack of sunlight would keep the grass from pushing through. That has not been the case, however. In fact, I would say that we helped the grass that is growing under the mulch by keeping it wetter than the rest of the grass in the field, much of which has died back to its roots. Now we have to deal with it. This involves puling back some mulch and hacking away at the roots and grass sprouting underneath. Then putting the mulch back and moving onto a new section. Fun for the week ahead!
There are other things growing up through our mulch as well. This thin wispy mushroom keeps popping up every night. We believe the spores came in on the mulch. They grow in small clusters near the edges of the mulch, close to plants and close to the edge of the garden. This one was all alone this morning, but they have been growing frequently this week. The sun kills them, they are vampire mushrooms, noctural anyway. There is also a bunch of cape weed bursting through around some of the three sisters. These are thriving right at the edges of the watering zone for the beans, corn, and squash. There were also insect eggs or larvae on a couple of our plants and on one of the pyramid trellises. With spring coming, we need to keep our eyes out for potential pests.
Pictured above you can see what we planted in the holes where many of our marigolds perished during the January and February frost. They are starting too look quite healthy and I expect we'll see them flowering before the Harvest Fest. We watered the whole garden, since it promised to be sunny all day and I won't go by on Saturday. Monday (hopefully) some one will be out to help in the morning. Then Tuesday, back to the regular schedule as everyone comes back from the Spring Break trips.

As always, more photos from today can be found here.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The flowering begins [click on photos for larger size]

Today we were greeted by our first sunflower, a small bright yellow decorative flower smiling up at us from the side of the garden. We noticed it and then noticed that others had bloomed in our butterfly garden. Tall purple and white bi-lateral flowers. We should know the name of them, but we don't. However, my mother does. They are called cleome. (Thanks, Mom!) That's why I posted the image...
The peas have been flowering for a few days and apparently are being visited by some form of pollinator because we ate three more peas today. I will confess honestly that they were not quite as sweet as I had anticipated, especially since we have 'sweet' soil, but they were tasty and it was satisfying to eat something we had grown.Lauren and Kaylie were at the garden this morning. Kaylie hadn't been out for almost a week and wandered the beds with a deep interest. "It's amazing how much thing change in just this short time," she said. She and Lauren planted the remaining six vines at four trellises around the perimeter. Out at the south end we have two trellises with passion flowers started at their base. Along the east side, the two middle trellises have yellow jessamine and corkscrew passion flower. (Thanks again Twigs & Leaves!) The transplants from yesterday looked fine, both the vines and the morning glories. Even the two sunflowers that Dylan and Erica transplanted have survived. The garden is growing strong and looking greener every day.We watered the three sisters, the squash along the fence, the sunflowers, marigolds, and all of the beds. The sun is hot today and we hope the plants thrive. There is still a lot of grass squeezing its way up through the thick layer of mulch. We will need to get at that over then next week or it will become unwieldy. A good soaking rain wouldn't hurt either, but I don't see one in the near forecast.

The garden is a wonderful way to start your day. We keep more pictures over at our Flickr site. I also watched Kelly's trailer again yesterday for old times sake. It still moves me.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Peppers & Vines

It was a hot day in the Peace Patch. Some clouds gathered early, but they were scattered and soon evaporated completely. Andrea and Lauren were out this morning. They transplanted some of the morning glories coming up by the fence over to the base of the two pyramid trellises at the entrance to the garden. We talked about pulling some grass, and Lauren pulled back some of the mulch and set to work.

We placed the other trellises at each of the four corners of the garden and then two more along the northeast perimeter. I drove up to Twigs & Leaves a local native plant store to see if we could get our hands on some native vines that would thrive in full sun. Michael donated two decent sized cross vines and then gave us a huge discount on six other native vines that we will be planting tomorrow. (Thanks Twigs & Leaves!) It will be impressive when those begin to climb the trellises.

The green peppers that were donated to us by Catherine Griggs have started to produce some decent sized fruit (as you can see). Our peas are doing the same at this point and I believe that there are at least three radishes ready to harvest. I noticed in a picture Maxim had taken that the sunflowers were getting nearly as tall as a second grader. You can find that picture here. Nor should we neglect to notice the second coming of the marigolds along the edge of the garden as seen in picture one above. They have all recovered. The seedlings planted a few weeks ago are growing well in the other spots; we'll have marigolds all around soon.

We brought out the bird feeders that the kindergarten class had made and hung them on the trellises as well. We are getting a lot of mileage out the donation. Some of the boxes seemed drier than others, so Noah, Jonah, Maxim and Aidan helped me water some and pull more grass in the afternoon when school was done at the end of the day. We have a thick layer of mulch out there, but the grass keeps squeaking its way through nonetheless. We will need to keep at it the rest of the spring, I'm afraid.

I think everyone is excited to get back to the garden next week. Kids were asking me when they would be coming out again all day today.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Trellises Galore!

Today we took delivery of our trellises, donated by a generous local business. They gave us twelve in all, plus a couple of broken ones that we salvaged for parts. We also picked up the lumber for the second compost bin. The lumber was ripped to its pieces at la casa de Estevez-Curtis and then assembled by Dylan on site. The result is a duplicate to the first, ready to go when the kids return next Tuesday. While the lumber was being cut, Dylan and Erica sprinkled a little bit more sulfur onto the soils. Then they found a black cricket with an orange stripe on one of the sunflowers. They checked with County Extension, which told them to kill it and any others we found. I moved the pile of compost from the location where we put the new compost to the other side of the old compost. At the same time, Erica disassembled trellises to put on the ends of the beds with the snap peas. We might note a very important event occurred this morning when we picked the very first piece of food from our garden. A small snap pea. Dylan and Erica reported that it was delicious. We put two trellises on the end of three beds. I planted the rest of the peas in the empty spots where peas did not grow yet. I also planted turnips in the bed where none have yet surfaced after a month. We put three pyramid trellises in the beds where the climbing cucumbers are growing. We need to decide what to do with the rest of the trellises. I like the idea of placing them at the perimeter of the garden and planting some native vines to cover them. Or, perhaps, to move some of the morning glories popping up along the fence line.

Today it was overcast all day long. It threatened rain several times and even dropped a few torturous drops, but the skies never opened as we needed them to. Nevertheless, we referained from watering today. The beds had damp spots and I wanted everything to have a chance to dry out. We spent about two and a half hours out there this morning.

I am still struck by the beauty of the simplicity of the Edible Peace Patch. We have had to do a lot of work, but the landscape is saying peas now, and tomato, pepper, and will soon be saying corn, beans, and squash, where it once only said grass. We are just over halfway through our experiment this semester. The results are starting to show.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Soil Adjustments and Lots of Water

The garden is approaching a critical mass. You can feel it as you stand out there. Some of the plants have already crossed the threshold. They have gone from spindly sprouts of barely standing vegetable fiber into massive leaves and even in some cases opening flowers. The sunflowers are almost scary in the growth this past week. The same can be said for potatoes and beans. Snap peas are desperate for a trellis to climb. Today we installed one to make sure they didn't overwhelm the broccoli behind them. We also brought the sulfur granules to acidify our soil. Erica got the results from County Extension and they said our soil was 'sweet,' which would have been flattering if sweet was what we were after, but we need a much more acid soil, they say, to grow these crops. Today we mixed sulfur granules with water and then poured that water across all of our beds. I think we might consider tossing a few granules in the beds themselves tomorrow.

We looked to see where else we had spaces in the beds. Dylan and Erica transplanted the rest of our tomatoes and a bunch of the lettuce that was still in the greenhouse. They watered everything this morning. I returned at 2:45 and watered everything again. The soil was drying and the sun still had several hours of hot left in it. The sunflowers that Dylan and Erica transplanted at my suggestion do not seem to have survived. They are asters, not very sturdy because they grow so fast. Tomorrow I will pick up supplies to build a second compost bin and a pile of trellises that have been donated. There is still grass to kill underneath the mulch and there will be an increasing number of weeds, especially if the humidity stays around, but we have moved into a stage where a lot of watering and a lot of watching will be necessary. We probably need umbrellas for the picnic tables so that Eckerd College students do not burn out there. In all, a happy Monday in the garden. It is quiet without the kids coming around...

Friday, March 13, 2009

A Lovely, Quiet Friday

Today was the perfect day for wrapping up a wonderful week. The morning shift, Dylan and Erica undertook the important job of writing up an invitation letter for the Eckerd community and obtaining addresses for all of the people we want to thank at our Harvest Fest! They didn't get to spend any time in the garden unfortunately but they did a lot of work for that tedious and much needed job.
Lowry and Alex finished up the loose ends of the administrative stuff and then went out to give the garden a good watering before the weekend. The sun is getting stronger and stronger these days so our plants are thirstier than ever! Everything seems to be thriving, it is truly incredible how much growth can take place in just one week! The sweet potatoes have finally decided to say hi, the beans are huge and the Three Sisters are looking beautiful. The okra are making great companions for our towering tomatoes. The new thyme plant in the herb garden looks happy and there are flowers and buds on our nasturtiums!
Just as the second shift was leaving and the third was taking over, the kids came out with...MORE SIGNS! Yay! Now all of our beloved plants can have their own handmade clay signs. They'll add some color to the mostly green and brown Edible Peace Patch. The third shift had Mrs. Bates 5th grade class water, made pinecone bird feeders with the pre-k, put worm fertilzer in the beds, and thinned some plants (separated plants that had two plants per one hole). What a productive day!
For some, the end of this week means they won't be seeing the garden until the week after next due to spring break. For others, it means they get some one on one time with the plants! Have a great break Eckerd students, be safe!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Another swell day at the peace patch!

What a great day at the garden! It was a beautiful day this morning, not too hot, not too cold, and super sunny. It was pretty quiet during the early shift, because of the students testing. Andrea organized the closet and put all their tools in their places. It looks really good! We'll see how long it stays that way! Ha-- just kidding! During the second shift, we found some egg larvae on the underside of a sunflower leaf. We didn't know what they were and we wanted to find out if these may have been the culprits who have been munching on our leaves.

We had some free time so we took a sample of the eggs over to Twigs and Leaves Nursery on MLK. When we got there, Mary helped us look through a great book that had pictures of eggs, plants, bugs, etc. It turned out to be lady bug eggs! Which is great because we were thinking about buying some lady bugs to keep the pests away, but they decided to come here on their own! So we were excited about that good news.
We headed back to the garden and put the eggs back on the underside of the sunflower leaf so they could grow to be big and strong lady bugs.

In the after noon, we had Ms. Johnson's class and Ms. Dorsey's class. We watered, mulched and weeded. Then afterwards we played a little duck duck goose and freeze tag. The kids loved it! We realized that they don't always want to be in the garden, and that's okay, because sometimes there isn't really anything to do. Also some more good news before I sign off, the sweet potatoes are coming up! So maybe we will get to make sweet potato pie for the Harvest fest! We'll have to wait and see.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wednesday March 11, 2009.....A Hot One!!

Today at the garden it was a hot one, but as I walked out and saw the garden I was again suprised to see how much everything had grown. Our little spuds are getting sooo big, they look amazing and the sweets are starting to peek through. We went around all the beds and checked the soil to make sure it was damp, and it was so we didnt water. Everything is looking pretty good, after we put the soil from the worm bin on the cukes they really started to perk up. So, today we took some of the soil out of the compost, and boy was it hot! we siffed through it, checked for worms and took out the larger pieces from the compost. Then we mixed this with the soil from the worm bin and spread it across some of the beds. One thing that we noticed was that there seems to be some larvae on the plant leaves. One of the groups today brought a sample of it back, we need to find out what it is. We showed peggy and she thought maybe catepillars? moths?
Mrs.Morrils class came out today but they had a sub so Peggy helped us out. We showed the kids some seeds and let them draw what they saw and then predict what they thought it would be when they grew, then we went into the garden and saw what they actually looked like and they drew it. I had a young boy in my group that was just not a happy camper. He tried to draw and kept messing up and then got frustrated, and started crying. I felt so helpless as nothing that i said or did seemed to help but later Peggy explained to me that it is very common for young kids to behave like that and get easily frustrated, but i still felt terrible.
After the class left we packed up and headed out until another day at the Peace Patch!

More Press

Last friday, WMNF, our local community radio station, did a very nice piece on our garden project. You can listen to it here.

Yesterday, as most of the Lakewood students were taking a standardized test, we took the opportunity to get some more mulch to combat the ever resilient grass around the garden. Most things were looking moist enough from the night before and didn't need watering. Everything, especially transplants like broccoli, is beginning to show the more rapid growth we've been looking for. With the addition of the donations we've received recently and some serious growth of some of our from-seed plants like the sunflowers, the scene is looking green and encouraging!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Monday, March 9, 2009

You can never have a case of the Mondays in the Edible Peace Patch!

I am continually amazed by the positive transforming properties of the Edible Peace Patch and the kids that come out to learn and work in it. This morning I was in the most sour and sluggish of moods and loathed the thought of even getting out of bed. This all changed as soon I as walked out into the schoolyard and caught sight of the thriving plants. With my spirits suddenly lifted I helped Jessica, Teresa, and Dylan prepare to receive Ms. Davis' class. We watered the entire garden with the fifth graders, making sure to be thorough because the days are getting longer and hotter. With ten minutes remaining in their garden time, Ms. Davis' students helped pull the pesky weeds that are bound and determined to come up through the mulch.

After the kids left, the Eckerd students began setting up the lesson materials for Ms. Deming’s class. Unfortunately her class couldn’t come out but Peggy arranged for Ms. Robul’s fourth grade students to spend some time with us. This particular class had yet to make a formal visit to the garden and it was great to see my group’s excitement when I showed them each new bed. Each child completed a worksheet that emphasized making observations and hypotheses. T
he girls in my group drew elaborate picutures of the butterfly garden, labeling all the parts of the plants and the surrounding environment. This class seemed to really enjoy their first time in the garden and I was sad to see them go. During Monday’s second shift there is a long period of time when no kids come out. Today, this hour was spent weeding around the marigolds and sunflowers that border the garden as well as the gourds and pumpkins that are planted along the fence.

Ms. Hartman’s class came out around 12:30, they had already completed the observation/hypothesis worksheet the week before so we read a story instead. We sat in a circle under the shade of the oak tree and read “A Seed is Sleepy”, a book that describes different types of seeds and seed dispersal. The kids were pretty engrossed in the story which had great illustrations. When we came to the page about dandelion seeds they were excited to find the that the very flowers at their feet had the same type of feathery puff ball seeds as the dandelions in the book. When the book and discussion were finished we had some time left over so we…(take a wild guess) weeded!! A task that these particular children enjoyed, my group even had a weeding competition. Ms. Hartman’s class left, as did Dylan and I, and we handed things over to Lauren, Alex, and Kathy. Today was a wonderful start to another week of the incredible Edible Peace Patch project!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Sunday in the Garden

I watered the Peace Patch with Noah this morning, whose kindergarten class has yet to visit the garden.  He lugged the watering can from bed to bed.  "This is a lot of work." he complained.  

Things are looking good.  

The spinach looks like spinach and the broccoli is growing with vigor.  The peas are ready to shoot up their climbing trellises and the beans that looked yellow last week look much healthier now.  Some of our sunflowers are gargantuan at this point.  I'm not sure what makes the difference between the small ones, the big ones and the giants ones.  Could it be soil quality?  Water regime?  Seed variety?  We have similar difference among watermelons.  Beans, on the other hand, seem to grow uniform.  I wonder if the second graders and fifth graders would have explanations for the differences?

The grass is getting ahead of us under the mulch.  We've been mostly successful at keeping grass seed out of our beds, but we may need more mulch if we are going to continue to stay ahead of it.  

It won't be long before there are many more flowers out there.  The wildflower garden is teaming, as you can see.  The cosmos seem to be encouraging everything else along.  We have a giant sunflower in the middle of the wildflower bed.  We have finger carrots galore and radishes and turnips and kohlrabi in other beds.  Even eggplants have surfaced.  We could use a good rain, as our water table falls lower and lower it evaporates our soils faster from below.  

Noah was happy to have a morning in the garden, but he did grow tired of carrying around the watering can.  In the end, we watered every bed, the greenhouse, the sunflowers and the plants along the fence.  We also watered the three sisters, but our hose didn't stretch that far, so they were only watered by watering can alone.  The sun has been hot since then.

Friday, March 6, 2009

The End of Another Awesome Week in the Garden!

It's been a little over a month since we started planting seeds and the garden looks like its teeming with life!  The sugar snap peas are humongous, the sunflowers are thriving, and our potatoes absolutely love our soil!  Speaking of soil, today we sent some soil samples to the county for testing.  We might be having a little trouble with nutrients in the soil, which is to be expected as none of us have really worked with soil before, but as soon as the results are back we'll be fixing whatever needs to be done!  It's nothing a little compost, worm poop, and manure can't solve!  There are only a couple plants that seem to be having a problem with the soil, because everything else has there is doing great.  Secondary leaves on almost all of them!

Today we had two classes come out, both in the morning, Mrs. Davis and Mrs. Bruce, a fifth and third grade class, respectively.  The days are becoming extremely hot again, so we've been watering a lot lately.  That said, we had the kids help water and weed the garden.  We also moved some turnips that needed tending too.  We watered again come the end of the day, as most of it had already evaporated and the little seedlings need that top water.  Mrs. Garcia's pre-k class wasn't able to come out, so instead we transplanted the okra into their bed.  We also saw that a few plants (tomatoes, cucumbers, and bush beans) seem to not be happy with the soil, so we gathered some better looking soil from the worm bin that we added compost to in the beginning of the week, and put it around the plants.  We think we should do this at the end of the week to freshen up our plants!  That said, we had a great week in the garden and I'm sure we'll see a great leap in growth by monday!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Hello all you lovely cyber-gardeners!
Today was such an amazing gardening thursday... the weather could not have been better all day. If the message isn't loudly and clearly shouted by the new leaves continuously sprouting from the Crape Myrtle trees, then the warming weather is a dead giveaway that it's March and spring is coming!

We had Ms. Bates' fifth grade class. They are always so well behaved. There was not much that had to be done, so we had them pull the grass that, in its ruthless way, won't stop coming up through the mulch. It was relaxing and a good opportunity to talk with the kids on a more casual level. I think the kids enjoyed it as well. During a gap time, when no classes were to be had, we planted Morning Glories along the fence line. They should make for a gorgeous accent. Keep your green fingers crossed that they bask in the sun, relish the fresh water, and come up healthy and beautiful! A surprise fourth grade class came out with Peggy. It was their first time to the garden, and you could tell too! We split them up into three groups and gave tours of the garden. They were crazy enthusiastic and their questions never stopped. Later a second grade class came out and followed the curriculum. They each chose a square within the beds and drew their observations (with pencil and crayons). They then drew their hypotheses to what the plants will look like in the weeks to come. The kids won't be at the garden next week, because of required testing, and we won't have any classes the week after, because of our spring break, so the kids won't be seeing much of the garden for two full weeks. I think we will all miss their company. The energy of the second graders was refreshing, and we had them water the green house with the extra time. One final class came out in the afternoon. Only eight kids were able to participate so they each were able to have nice and personal attention.

We had a meeting this evening as well. It went very nicely. The HARVEST FESTIVAL is going to be April 23 from 6:30-8:00 pm. Its going to be an accumulation of amazing earth magic! That is it for this Thursday though, and, as usual, it was nothing but sunny out in the Peace Patch....

"mwuah!" from the flowers :)

Chilly Wednesday

Yesterday (Wednesday), in the morning shift we were scheduled to have two classes come out. With the first, a fifth grade class, we divided into groups, and took turns watering and weeding the grass that keeps popping up amongst the mulch. A few rolly polly bugs were discovered, and the kids excitedly watched as they rolled up, scared, into a ball.

After saying goodbye to this class, we went to prepare for the next, which was to be a third grade class. Several of us went to get materials to do drawing observations and hypotheses (the activity for second graders), but after waiting for a while, we realized they weren't going to come out. Instead, we completed watering and reflected on the day.
In the afternoon, Mrs. Robinson's 1st grade class gave the garden a visit, and, besides the perpetually necessary tasks of weeding and watering, they got to check out some worms from our vermicompost! And of course they had fun with that, with the slight exception of maybe a squirmish girl or two who shreeked when seeing them wiggle. There was also a delivery made of cafeteria food scraps to our other compost pile, and adding these scraps was made into an activity. Each group got to add a broccoli stem or corn husk or banana peel, further soaking in the idea that these materials will decompose, and, as one student once saw it, "melt" into the soil they would become.

In addition, tomatoe cages were put around our beautiful donated tomato plants, as support for their growth. The entire garden, since the gain of plants full grown and in bloom, seems to have had a mini explosion of color and life. The Cosmos flowers add so much color and vitality to the look of the garden, as well as encouragement for the bees to do their magical business.