Welcome! This blog follows the building, cultivating, and harvesting of the Lakewood Elementary schoolyard garden in St. Petersburg, Florida. Since January 2009, the Edible Peace Patch Project has been developing innovative community-oriented food system and nutrition educational programs in south St. Petersburg, Florida. Lakewood Elementary is the 1st school to participate in our Garden Education Program!
"You may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing there will be no result." Mahatma Ghandhi
And so we are underway. After Ethan Mauger spent the Autumn Term cleaning out weeds and planting seeds and putting things in order, we begin the new semester with an anticipation of great things to come.
This morning a dozen and a half Eckerd College undergraduates showed up at 7:30 in the morning, while the air was still cool and the dew was still on the grass, to visit the garden for the first time and come together as the Fall garden teaching community. Everyone was in a remarkably great mood despite the early hour and we got lots of little things accomplished.
We have squash or cucumber (too early to tell) volunteering all over the garden this fall. It is popping up in every bed. Elsewhere, okra sprouts are taking roots and growing well in the past week of rains. In less than a week, the sedge and grasses have started to try to recolonize the beds and push up through the mulch, but with this new community of gardeners, we will soon get ahead of it once again.
The lovely pointed leaves of the sweet potato vine are sprouting from the place where tubers were buried last week and we anticipate a nice crop of the delicious underground fruit by December. As you can see, the weeds are doing well, too. Many hands are needed to help along our food in this Florida climate.
Our tour began in the storage shed and ended with the watermelon that has somehow survived a summer of drought and overgrowth of grasses at the far end of the beds. We witnessed many pineapple plants that have made similar remarkable survivals and that will be a part of the garden growth in the season ahead.
In past years, with little expience to guide me on what will come next I have often begun the year with a bit too much anxious anticipation, worry even that things will not go as thing ought to go. Now this fourth year of work, my worries are erased. I look at the sprouting plants, the beautiful space, the happy faces of Eckerd College students, and I am filled with joy at the opportunity to be a participant in this community, to be a cultivator of relationships and a tender of spirit.
On Monday, the final preparations of the site get underway, and before we know it, the Lakewoods kids will join us and the whole cycle will begin again.