Edible Peace Patch Blogs

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sunshine and Rain

We are getting a big dose of exactly what we needed in the garden over our three day weekend. With a steady, soaking rain and a warm and sunny afternoon, the Peace Patch is starting to sprout our little seedling friends all over the place. We've got little green cucumbers starting and our sunflowers are beginning to wiggle their way through the soil as well! It feels extremely rewarding to know that our hard work is going to turn out such a plentiful garden.

This past week we have continued with our many jobs and have mulched almost the entire garden over which means we just need to go over the old mulch to freshen it up a bit and we are done! Today in the garden we planted every last seed we have. The beds will soon be overflowing with broccoli, herbs, tomatoes, sweet peas, and carrots as well as several types of wildflowers. The part I am most excited about it our soon to be native plant stretch along the side of the garden. Thanks to our friend Michael at Twigs and Leaves, we will have about 65 feet of Florida native plants making a nice fence line to the left side of the garden. It will include all sorts of hardy Florida plants that all have edible components such as the Simpson Stopper whose fleshy fruit tastes like guava and the Jamaican Caper with its bright red pea pod. The goal in picking these plants was not only to make sure they were Florida natives, but that they appealed to several of the senses. Not only are the plants edible, but they are fragrant and brightly colored, most with flowers and berry-like fruits. Plants like these not only attract birds, pollinators, and other good critters for the garden, but also are exciting for the Lakewood Students! The plants come in Friday so by next week we will have a pretty diverse stretch of additions to the garden.

Outside of the garden there is still much to be done as well. At the moment we are all working on collecting photos to create a display board to draw more volunteers in. We are hoping to have a full schedule of classes for the entire semester so we are keeping our fingers crossed that more people wonder our way!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Patchin' Up the Peace Patch

So over the past week we have continued to revive our garden to its fullest potential in hopes of expanding it in the near future. We have mulched, planted, and supplemented our sandy soil. One factor I am really excited about it the line of sunflower seeds we planted along the sides of the garden. Our goal is to surround the garden with 12ft gorgeous sunflowers! Also, we took a little field trip to the Saturday Morning Market in downtown St. Petersburg for some free pineapple tops from one of the stands. Pineapples can regenerate from one part of the fruit so we buried two rows along the backside of the garden in hopes of yielding some delicious fruit. We've also constructed a trellis for our climbing cucumbers that looks something like modern art. For all of our climbing plants, we will be building these wooden trellises. It really adds something to the garden.

This week we are focusing on prepping the soil for planting more veggies such as collards, beets, turnips, broccoli, sweet potatoes, etc. We have also began little starters for okra, bell peppers, spicy peppers, and eggplant. Thanks to Saddle Up Riding Club, today the group got a truck load of free horse manure to turn into the soil. The other focus of this week is making it beautiful and functional with more mulch! We retrieved several loads of mulch from the local recycling center and plan on covering the entire expanse of the garden to block out unnecessary weeds and sedge, as well as show off how pretty our garden is.

This past week we have also welcomed a 3rd intern to the group, Ethan, who will be working along side Sydney and I everyday in the garden. The three of us are really looking forward to this upcoming semester for many reasons. For one, the garden will be at its peak. We have big plans such as more beds, different vegetables, a possible seating area in the garden itself, and much more! We are also going to be giving more power and responsibility to the students. This upcoming semester, the Peace Patch will be lead by four Independent Study students from Eckerd under the guidance of Prof. Kip Curtis. The important thing to remember is that this project is not possible without the dedication of our volunteers! We need close to 24 volunteers, weather returning or new to the project, to be willing to devote just a few hours a week to making this project the success we all know it can be!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Welcome Back!

As the new year rolls in, it's time for Sydney and I to get back out there in the Peace Patch. Under the guide of Prof. Curtis, Sydney and I will be doing a 30 hour per week internship for the rest of the month. This will include getting the garden up and running after that early freeze, getting organized, planning ahead, and much more!

Today, walking in the garden was a little daunting, but that didn't stop us from getting right down to business. First stop: The Shed. As they say, "A cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind" and who can work with that? So we emptied it all out, recycled the trash that we could, found tons of exciting pots, books, lesson plans, etc. that we never knew we had, organized the shelves, and took inventory of the whole lot. After this tedious task, our major concern was to sort out the seeds to see what we needed to buy. We saved what we could and got ride of what was expired.

Out in the garden we pulled the dead plants and fed them to the compost monster, slavged seeds from the old vegatables, turned the beds, laid down carboard, transplanted plants such as Dill which seems to sprout up everywhere, removed crowded plants, and gave the garden a pretty swell makeover.

There is still tons to do, but Sydney and I are formulating a game plan to make this garden all we know it can be!