Edible Peace Patch Blogs

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Friday, April 30, 2010

a garden poem

a garden poem:

E nvironmental
D irty hands
I nspirational
B eautiful beings
L aughter
E ngaging

P ineapple!
E nergetic
A gua
C ompost cuties
E pic

P popin' poppies
A wareness
T ummy tickling tomatoes
C hard (from Switzerland)
H ealthy herbs

G rovin' beans
A griculture
R aw and real
D ream
E arthly
N ight time blossoms


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Two weeks!

With only two weeks until the Harvest Festival the garden is looking fantastic! We've halted harvesting for now so that we have plenty of food to share from the kid's garden, so next week we'll start collecting for the festival!

Some general maintenance was done this morning. Watering, weeding, and even collecting seeds from the dill plant which has nearly toppled over with how big it is! Our wildflowers are looking very colorful and alive, and along with the dill plant it seems those two beds are attracting quite a few bees which help our bed be even more productive!

Ms. Frey's 3rd grade class came out and we wanted them to draw some pictures as well, for the festival, so we sent them in to the garden with clipboards and crayons in hand. They drew some great pictures for their family and friends to see! The dill plant in particular was a favorite..

We then helped the class on their science projects with the bean plants, making sure they understood all of their different variables and how everything fits in to the scientific method. There are some significant results showing so far, and it has been exciting watching the kids learn how their bean plants are affected by different factors. They are going to get to display their experiments at the school's science fair in a few weeks.

Every day the garden looks new and different, so I know we're all excited for the next few weeks!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Gifted Gardeners

The sun shone down brightly on our bountiful garden on this glorious Tuesday afternoon. Bright enough in fact to melt our crayons, which the kindergartners and first graders were using to create their own artistic renditions of this year's amazing harvest. We sought refuge in the shade of the oak to discuss how the bean seeds each student planted last Tuesday have been fairing just a week after the kids took them home to try out their skills as young gardeners outside the confines of our garden classroom. After a short taste-test comparing store bought vegetables to the more delectable Lakewood Elementary grown produce, the students donned clipboards and crayons on their way into the garden. IMG_6073Each student was asked to seek out their favorite vegetable, flower, bug or combination of all three, and to draw a picture of it for the upcoming harvest festival. As the students rummaged through the gigantic cucumber vines in search of hidden fruit, or sat patiently in front of the dill flowers as the bees came and went, it was difficult to picture what this garden looked like just a few short weeks ago and how the students behavior towards the astounding abundance of the garden has changed.IMG_6070 As one student took a closer look at the tomatoes she discovered the sagging fruit that has almost tripled in size over the last week and immediately called to her classmates "TOMATOES!!!!" at which a crowd of children quickly gathered to gawk at their own amazing accomplishments. I am jealous of the learning experience these children are undertaking. The harvest festival is just around the corner and on that day, when the students enjoy a meal that looks familiar to them, they will have known their food from the very day it went in the ground.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Artists in the Garden!

Today was a great start to the week! The garden looks greener after the storm over the weekend. Our classes came out to the garden today to admire the natural beauty. In order to capture every individual's account of the garden we drew today with the classes and had them identify their most favorite part of the garden. Some drew the zucchini and others drew the onion flower. As the students drew their own interpretations of the garden it was great to see them comment on each others drawings. Talking about the important plants and the best tasting, these students really appreciated the garden inside and out.
Ending the drawing session we played a round of "Tomato, Tomato, Cucumber" the garden game favorite so far! Today was a great day for creativity and appreciating the edible schoolyard.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Bumble Bees


Everyday is different out at the garden, and today has kept well on this wapa-dashin' path. We had a tasting day with our 2nd grade classes. Radishes, turnip greens, and swiss chard where of the main ingredients in today's healthy, raw, and freshly plucked plate. Our kindergartens where all smiles too as they got the privilege of a day of games, including the favorite "tomato, tomato, cucumber".The kids did not only get to enjoy their average lessons today, many of them got to be movie stars! A fellow Eckerd student is working on a documentary featuring the schoolyard project. Something so simple can hold such importance, creating so much excitement! We also had a past member of the "garden people," as the kids like to call us college students, stop by for a hello! Visitors are always welcome in the garden, and the kids are always excited to show off the growing plants. (we also had some wonderful visitors of the insect world, those are always exciting too)

Allst I can say is that today was a great day, just as they all are. The sun was out and the green life was soaking it all in.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Another beautiful day!

I unfortunately forgot to take more pictures, but believe me, the garden looks fantastic! We showed Ms. Frey's 3rd grade class the growing pineapples and they loved it! We had talked earlier in the semester about the cold weather and the effect it has on the plants, so they thought it was exciting they were growing too!

We then worked with the class on their science projects, which are going really well! The kids are learning how salt vs. fresh water, sun vs. shade, and the amount of water affects the growth of bean plants. They are also learning how to use the scientific method to properly conduct each of their experiments.

Well, I'm excited to see how the garden changes over the rest of the semester! We'll keep you updated!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Happy Plants, Colorful Trellises and Lost Snakes

Today was a warm and extremely humid morning in the Edible Peace Patch Garden. With the weekend’s heavy rains, the plants looked even healthier and happier than normal. Every bed is currently bursting with life. The beans in the three sisters’ garden are eagerly climbing up the corn and sunflower stalks. The wildflowers in the pollinator garden are beautiful and full of color, attracting plenty of bees. The radishes are begging to be pulled and devoured. The dill and the parsley plants continue grow out in all directions and currently tower over all other plants in the garden. With all of this activity going on in the garden, we can expect a very bountiful and enjoyable harvest fest.

A set of trellises were installed at the entrance of the Garden. These trellises were created by last semester’s edible peace patch volunteers from Eckerd College. The hand painted finish on the trellises adds a colorful touch to the Peace Patch entrance. One day soon, these structures will be draped with beautiful native Florida vines.
To prove that there is never a dull moment at the garden, this afternoon’s group discovered a snake in the boys’ bathroom! the snake was a non-poisonous black racer; however, the group was quite surprised and the snake was quickly escorted back outside. I guess you never know what kind of surprises a day at the garden has in store. With all that is going on in the garden on this fine Monday, I think we can look forward to a productive and exciting week ahead.

Friday, April 16, 2010

It'll make you melt!


The garden was in an absolute gorgeous state today. The sun was, and still is, perfect and full of the best kind of energy, the type that a flower melts into.

The poppies have been in absolute heaven! We had kindergarden and second grade classes today. The scence could not have been more wonderfully relaxed. Weeds were pulled, plants where watered, and four butterfly bushes were planted. Occasional "rain clouds" came over us, and we danced in the mist of the hose. It is clear that this weather brings out the best in us all. Something that I see as special for our schoolyard is the way that, through the Peace Patch, this best is seen in a magically hued magnification.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Spicy Jewels

After a hot afternoon at the Edible Schoolyard, a few friends and I decided to go swimming. In the water, I told them about an experience I had at the garden earlier today.

“Who wants a spicy jewel?” I asked, knowing the response I would get.

“Me, me, me, me!” Came from a dozen different voices.

All of our kindergarten’s class took a moment to line up peacefully amongst all of their excitement.

“Can I taste the radish? Can I have the  radish? I want the biggest piece!” Since the radishes arrived a few weeks ago, my classes have come to known them as spicy jewels.


I told my friends this and they could not believe that kindergartners and first graders were fighting over radishes.

Clearly, they could not believe they were proceeded to fight over kale, chard, dill, and parsley either.

Witnessing the kids enthusiasm and enjoyment was not only a personal pleasure, but an eye opening experience. In a country where childhood obesity has tripled in 30 years and fast food floods our diets, children from all different socio-economic levels are craving fresh vegetables that they grew themselves. This afternoon, one first grader put his raw chard in his pocket and told me he was saving it for his grammy. All of the kids show great interest in the garden, satisfaction in the growth of their vegetables, and delight to be outside.

Activity wise, 1pm to 3pm was very busy. We asked our classes to use their five senses to discuss various plants throughout the garden. Admiring vibrant squash blossoms, the kindergarten class could not believe the success of their squash and zucchini plants. While the first graders could not stop describing the smell of the potent tomato plant. With a few minutes left, we improvised and played a short, but exciting game of "flower, flower, bee," an Edible Schoolyard version of duck, duck, goose. Flower, flower, bee turned into chard, chard, kale, radish, radish, carrot, corn, corn, bean...ect...the list goes on. It was an all around eventful and reflective afternoon at Lakewood. 


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Good Morning!

Beginning the day among plants and soil always provides for a much more relaxed afternoon, I can only hope that someday it will be a daily occurrence. I am constantly amazed by the rapid growth that occurs over a weeks time.

The wildflowers are in full bloom and the delicate poppies are slowly opening their pods.The dill still ambitiously growing and bursting into yellow spotting umbrellas. The lettuce has bolted and flowered into delicate yellow flowers, that Alex claims already smell of the lettuce leaves..but we have yet to get a second opinion.As I was watering, I was pleasantly surprised to the the three sisters(corn,beans and squash) thriving and looking incredibly healthy. A corn survival would be much appreciated so cross your fingers and do a rain dance.
And the PINEAPPLE! Looking so alien as it emerges out of the "recycled" spiny top. I cannot wait to see it progress(and hopefully taste it)

We did not have a class this morning but we did have some very small visitors traveling through the garden, en-route from P.E., to say hello and ask what we were growing. It is always so rewarding to see such interest from even the youngest children and their immediate smiles as the pass through the garden.

Ps. Apologize for the format, technology has not been on my side today.

Tuesday, April 13th

Everything is growing! The second graders measured their bean plants on Tuesday and a couple of the bushes went beyond their rulers! It's so exciting to see exponential growth occur within the garden, since throughout the previous weeks the only changes in measurements of the bean plants were by half an inch, if we were lucky. The second graders can also now make the observation that the bean plants have flowers, and soon will have beans to see and more importantly eat!
Right before spring break, when I looked at the garden I was truly concerned for the harvest festival. Thankfully,
everything is on its way at last! With this growth, we've found SO many volunteer plants! A sweet potato was found near the carrots two weeks ago, and the sweet potatoes keep popping up in the broccoli bed! Tomato volunteers are
everywhere! It looks as if some were intermingled in the starter trays, and others just decided to seed themselves.

We've been pulling a radish or two every class to allow the students to taste them so they're almost gone, but we planted them in the beds where peppers and eggplants were to be planted (but they never grew in the starters). Everything else seems to be in bloom, so it'll be ready soon!

Unfortunately, with this exponential growth, we've found bad bugs in the garden. Last Thursday we found a white grub in the sweet potato bed, which upon further investigation will eat at the sweet potatoes, not harming them, but making them ugly. Kaylie and I also found a caterpillar, on the butterfly bush that will become a monarch!

Speaking of butterfly bushes, we started planted them! The second grade class was really excited to get to dig in the soil (until they started putting it all over themselves) and I'm sure they will all keep a close eye on the bushes, of course claiming they planted the one
that's grown the most.

With the exponential growth, we'll just have to see what we get for harvest festival! I hope it's almost everything!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Hopeful Hints of a Healthy and Happy Harvest...

What a perfect way to start the week: The Edible Peace Patch is flourishing! The lettuce is green, tall and abundant, standing proudly in its bed. The dill in the herb garden is towering over all of the other herbs, but the cilantro and other herbs in the spiral are catching up fast. The bush beans and squash have flowered, providing a few more colorful blossoms throughout the garden, in addition to the beautiful flowers thriving pollinator garden. The collards and kale are large and plentiful. The radishes are ready for harvest! Flowers are popping up in the trenches and all of the remaining dead sunflowers have been chopped down. The stalks of the deceased flowers have been used to stake the tomatoes and pole beans, which are in need of some support as they shoot up rapidly in their garden growth.

As a consequence of the glorious Spring weather, the longer days and increased hours of sun exposure, not only are the fruits, veggies and flowers growing fast in the garden—so are the weeds! Patches of green witch grass are begging to be pulled up in and all around the beds. The amaranth, though not a weed, has been popping up in several of the beds, as well as in the pathways, and is slowly being removed by hand and transplanted along the fence line.

The weather, not to “jinx” us, is starting to work in our favor! Everything was excitedly hydrated this morning, as the morning shift provided a serious saturation. The compost got churned today and it is looking amazing! We’ve built a lot of good, internal heat in the middle, excellently balanced layers of leaves, food scraps, etc. and both piles are full of worms, isopods and other life. Unfortunately, some non- garden-friendly-grubs have been discovered this week, but with a close eye, the students and gardeners can walk through and pick them out of the garden, performing some hand-maintenance that will surely do the trick.

The butterfly bushes arrived in time to be planted with the classes. Today’s first graders used their 5 senses to make observations on how much the garden has transformed since their last visit. One of the afternoon classes planted some fresh, healthy pineapple tops into some trays of water to soak and take root before they are re-planted into the ground to replace the dead pineapples. (Two of the older, rejuvenated pineapples are blossoming!)

If all of the love and loyalty provided by the students, children, and sunshine continues in its present course, we’ll all share a bounty of delicious organic goodies and aesthetic pleasures at the Harvest Festival in a few weeks! In the meantime, we’ll continue to see, hear, taste, smell, and touch the garden’s progress!

Friday, April 9, 2010

It's Friday!

Today was a high energy day in the garden! The Kindergarten class walked through the garden today on a walk through observation, finding new and bigger plants and vegetables that have grown over the past few weeks and specifically over spring break. The garden looks much better, so green and so much life is flourishing. There are watermelons sprouting finally and pineapples too! The three sisters have started to look much healthier and the beds with vegetables are overflowing with greens!
The Kindergarten class helped us identify the changes in the garden and all the growth. As well as talking about how the garden has grown they helped us plant new sunflowers in the trench after it was hoed and weeded in hopes to revitalize the sunflowers around the garden. The second grade class went a bit more indepth with the observations of the garden and as we walked around with them they completed a worksheet on documenting the weather conditions, the air, soil and water temperatures and to measure the beans previously planted a few weeks ago. The bean plants are giant compared to what they looked like two weeks ago!
Today was a great day in the garden with lots of questions and great participation by the classes!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Life everywhere

The crops are coming up fast, and everything looks beautiful. The warmth and the rainfall have given everything the right environment to really shoot up and begin maturing. Part of the challenge (and excitement) of organic gardening is that these conditions allow for life and growth not just for the things we want, but also the things we don't want. The weeds are doing exceptionally well - they wouldn't be weeds if they weren't. By 'doing well' I mean they are coming up everywhere and in greater numbers. We're going to really stay on top of weeding in order to keep them under control.

Life is showing up in other areas we'd rather them not. While digging around in the sweet potato bed today we found 3 grubs, and I'm sure there are more. Kaylie, who is Florida native, was surprised because she'd never actually seen one before. On the topic of sweet potatoes, we have been finding volunteer sweet potatoes all over the place. Surprising - I didn't think sweet potatoes would volunteer themselves so easily since the spuds we find are pretty decently sized, not exactly light enough to float around in the wind.

The first round of radishes are mature and we have been slowly harvesting them with the classes. Unfortunately we noticed there are some mites on the roots of them. We'll have to harvest them quick and plant a new round soon.

Another sign of good news - today we saw a Monarch butterfly floating around the flower patch and the milkweed bush. He/she seemed to be desperately searching for a milkweed bud to land on but there were none to be found. We have received the butterfly bush sprouts so we'll be putting those into the ground next week. Until then the butterflies will just have to enjoy the other flowers that have been blooming rapidly.

Things are starting to look very good in the garden, and it seems like it's given everyone a new optimism. For a little while during the abnormally cold period we were a little worried about this season's harvest, but now we are all confident that the harvest festival in 5 weeks will be full of delicious edibles grown in the garden. The first radishes and the first beans have already surfaced!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

It's so green!

Today was my first time in the garden in two weeks because of our spring break, and I have to say that it brought a smile to my face walking outside and seeing how much everything has grown! Any doubts I had for the garden, because of all our cold weather, were instantly forgotten. It looks amazing, and it's only going to get better!

As for working with the kids, our 5th grade class didn't come out today, but we started something fun with Ms. Frey's 3rd grade EBD class who we see each week. It's that time of the year for the students to start their own science projects, and since Ms. Frey's class is lucky enough to be a part of the garden each week they decided to do something with plants! Each of the students, either alone or in groups, are going to use bean plants to test a variable of their choice. For example, one student is going to test how the type of water a plant gets (fresh or salt) affects its growth. Samantha, Emma, and I will be working with the class on their science projects for the rest of the year, while incorporating topics we have learned in the garden in our discussions.

That's about it for today, below are a few new pictures!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Spring Break

What a sight! Eckerd and Lakewood students are on their spring break this week and so only a few of us have been tending the garden. Everyone has been doing a great job, though, and all of our starters are now in. Maxim and Noah and I marveled at the plants taking shape everywhere. Broccoli and beans and watermelon and tomatoes and radishes and carrots and squash and corn and on and on. The garden is no longer full of sprouts and potential, it is growing with food plants that have taken on shape and form.
We noticed flowers everywhere, beginning to show signs of spring and the fruiting that will come. The kids and I planted twelve yellow squash seeds in the Three Sisters garden to finish out the triad, where corn and beans are growing well. We also watered, soaking watermelon and all of the beds and the trench and even the flower garden starting pop in amongst the gourd plants along the fence. Water and water and more water. This is the season of exponential growth. Lots of days longer than twelve hours long, warm weather, and water from the crew that loves this place.
We were worried a week ago that the crape myrtle had not made it through the cold weather. But it sprouted this week, too, brilliant maroon leaves popping everywhere.