Tuesday, January 12, 2010
tall flowers, low temperatures
As one approaches Lakewood Elementary, their attention is immediately drawn to the garden’s beautiful sunflowers. The small plants that were barely knee high at the beginning of December are now towering overhead. Some of these yellow headed beauties have reached ten feet or taller. With these massive flowers surrounding the entire perimeter of the garden, the peace patch seems incredibly surreal.
The tomato plants have grown tremendously as well, and are now filled with countless beautiful tomatoes on the verge of ripening. The weight of the tomatoes was actually bringing some of the plants down, and new support structures had to be added. Hopefully in the near future we will see these veggies turn from green to red, otherwise we might have to try our luck at preparing the southern delicacy of fried green tomatoes.
The sweet potato plant finally reached the end of its life cycle, after almost a year of unending growth. Thus, the delicious potatoes were ready to be harvested. The quantity of sweet potatoes was truly astonishing. Just as you thought that they were all out of the ground, another half dozen would soon be excavated. These delicious tubers varied in size, with some of the larger one’s able to rival squash and zucchini!
The unbelievably cold weather that we received this week certainly took its toll on many of the plants in the peace patch. Unfortunately, many of the plants, such as the okra, Peppers and nasturtiums are simply not fit for the repeat days of below freezing temperatures. Other plants, however, such as the broccoli, snap peas, radishes and kale, seem to be unharmed by the Tundra-like conditions experienced in the south over the past few days. The Aloe Vera is another surprising survivor of the harsh weather. It is still questionable whether the tomatoes will be able to recover. As more and more plants reach the end of their growing cycle and as more beds become vacant, it is important to look forward to the spring, and remember that every ending is the making of a new beginning.
The Lakewood students are certainly ready for spring planting to begin. Everyday students have been walking past the garden, inquiring about what plants are going to be planted next and when they will be able to return to the garden and see the students of Eckerd College. Soon enough, the children will return to the garden and their laughter will be echoing off the massive walls of sun flowers.