Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Scavenger Hunt in the Garden
The sky was cloudy, yet there was still fun to be had in the garden. The children were happy to be outside in the warm sun, offset by a cool breeze and clouds. The scavenger hunt that my fellow gardeners had created was both a fun and educational experience for the students. This activity included a list of plants that are growing in the garden, and the students explored the plant beds for clues about shape, size, or location to point them in the right direction in order to find each species of plant. As a group, we went down the list of plants and followed the clues to each one. A clue about a purple and green leafed plant let us to a large growth of kale. A clue reading “taller than you are” immediately prompted all the kids to point up towards the sunflowers, towing above their heads. They took turns feeling the head of an old, dry sunflower, feeling the rough texture of the hollows that once held the seeds. After successfully finding all the plants on our list, we sat down at the table and reviewed the names of all the plants we had found.
One item on our scavenger hunt list wasn’t exactly a plant, but it is still a very important part of our garden. “Stinky dirt” let the classes to the compost heap. Compost is a collection of soil and other organic matter, such as left over fruits and vegetables, or any other kind of decomposing plant matter. Weeds pulled from the garden are thrown in the compost, and fellow gardeners also contribute compost brought in from their own kitchens. When all these components come together and sit for a period of time, invertebrates, such as earthworms, beetles, grubs, cicada larvae, and ants, break down the raw organic materials into a highly concentrated and nutrient rich soil. We use this compost as fertilizer in the garden, and by doing so, we grow new life out of decay, and, for our small part, help continue the circle of life in our Edible Peace Patch Garden.