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Friday, January 29, 2010

helping hands make a world of change

Just as expected, the garden experienced some serious changes after two Eckerd College winter term classes volunteered their time and energy at the Edible Peace Patch. Although these classes were only at the garden for a few hours, a tremendous amount of work was accomplished. It is always amazing to see what a small group can do when they work collectively to complete several tasks.

For many of these students, it was their first time to work in a garden. They were quickly broken in, however, as they were asked to spread a heaping pile of horse manure throughout all of the beds in the garden. The garden beds were supplemented with a healthy mixture of the horse manure and the rich soil from the compost pile. This should create some extremely nutrient rich soil for this spring’s crops.
At the southern end of the garden, just beyond the three sisters and the pineapples, the latest addition to the garden was created. Last semester’s watermelon plant grew so large that a large four sided trellis had to be constructed in order to keep the plant from taking over the entire garden. Thus, six square plots were dug and supplemented with manure to make way for a new watermelon patch. Now the watermelon plants will be able sprawl out as far as they please.

Several things were also planted this week to get ready for the spring. The pollinator bed received a fresh planting of several varieties of wild flowers. Marigolds were planted along the perimeter of the garden between the mammoth sunflowers. Corn was planted in the three sisters’ garden, and the watermelon patch received its first seeds. Several tomatoes have been placed in starting trays to get ready for next semester. Another sweet potato crop was planted, while other plants, such as the beans and the watermelon, are already appearing as volunteers in several of the vacant beds.

Next week, the new of crew of Eckerd College students that will be volunteering for the semester will be holding its first meeting of the year to prepare for the season ahead. These students are eager to start working in the garden and spend some time with the students of Lakewood Elementary. Some of these students are returning to the schoolyard from previous semesters, while others will be volunteering for the first time. With a new group of volunteers and a fresh layer of fertilizer in the beds, we can expect a very fruitful semester ahead.

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