Welcome! This blog follows the building, cultivating, and harvesting of the Lakewood Elementary schoolyard garden in St. Petersburg, Florida. Since January 2009, the Edible Peace Patch Project has been developing innovative community-oriented food system and nutrition educational programs in south St. Petersburg, Florida. Lakewood Elementary is the 1st school to participate in our Garden Education Program!
There were clouds in the sky teasing us with the promise of rain. The few remaining and volunteer plants struggling for survival and the raw earth waiting in the beds thirsted for that rain. But it never came. Instead we, as determined gardeners, brought watering can after watering can over to quench the unending desire that our plants had for water. We nurtured them with hugs of wetness and the assurance that we would be back tomorrow to show them that love again. The gourds were picked from the wilting vine and will be given to the art teacher at Lakewood tomorrow. All hope is not lost for our beloved gourd either. We found fuzzy new growth with leafy buds and spiraling vine tendrils ready to find the supportive chain-link fence. To further ensure the gourd’s recovering health we placed highly nutritious worm castings at the base of the gourd vine where its scarred root is exposed. We also gave the okra and watermelon a few worm casting pellets so that they would not just continue to grow, but flourish. The corn seedlings in the three sisters patch are doing well. They are growing as fast as the stubborn weeds that refuse to allow a layer of cardboard and mulch deter them from finding the sun. We will be waging a constant battle against the weeds in and around the beds the entire growing season. They are unrelenting and far too well equipped in penetrating our defenses. We have many seedlings now growing in our starters and many more just started today. We will have plenty of eggplant this year to make up for not having any last year. Today we planted pumpkin, cantaloupe, zucchini, cucumber, basil, and watermelon in the starters. We expect by Monday their brave green shoots will be poking through ready to take part in our garden. After loosening and airing the soil in the butterfly garden we planted what will be a colorful assortment of attractive flowers. At least butterflies will find them attractive. We hope. My favorite butterfly and hummingbird attracting flower, the Hollyhock, was planted so I will certainly be attracted to the butterfly garden if nothing else. The remaining mulch was spread. Tomorrow there will be a new pile of mulch to work on. The compost was also turned and watered profusely. Next week the students will join us in the garden for the first time. It will be an exciting and somewhat stressful experience for those of us that have not worked with the children of Lakewood Elementary before. Once the awkwardness of new responsibility has passed though, having the students with us will make the garden not just a peaceful patch of green life but a joyful and adventurous place where new worlds can be discovered everyday. I cannot wait to see the wonder in the eyes of children as they learn by watching our seedlings grow. To close this long-winded and wordy blog post, I would like to express the garden team’s sincere gratitude toward Mr. Frumen for donating to us an assortment of garden gloves. They will be well put to use as the weeks continue.