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Monday, September 12, 2011

Weeding, Discoveries, and Things To Come

     Today was one of firsts. As a new member of the team working on the garden it was my first true day working at Lakewood Elementary along side two other firsties, Forest and Alina. For the group in its entirety today represented our the first day of our new schedule, and for many of us, our first day ever having interacted with gardening in general.
     Walking onto the school campus, seeing the children we'd be educating for the first time walking along the corridors and up the portable ramps staring with interest and waving to us with giant smiles across there faces created a sense of kindredness between we three students who had barley met before our afternoon shift. I think we all felt at ease in each others presences, talking of our environmental interests, goals and opinions and sharing what our own personal value of working in the garden.
     Having worked in gardens before it felt amazing to be able to break free from my daily courses and lectures and dig my hands in the soil for the first time in months. Although it was a very warm and sunny Florida afternoon, Forest, Alina and I managed to weed the entire trench area where we plan to plant Sunflowers. managing to fill 2 wheelbarrows full of compostable overgrowth from the small area! After, we laid the base of cardboard over the trench to maintain the weed growth until the area can be mulched.
     With an hour left in our shift we decided to continue weeding many of the raised beds and a bit of the pineapple area as best we could. As we picked our way through the Sweet Potato bed, Forest and I noticed a patch of Purslane sprouting. Purslane is an edible "weed" that can be used as a leafy green in salads. It has the highest amount of Omeg-3 fatty acids found in any other leafy vegetable. It is also amazing ground cover, maintaining soil moisture.
     After weeding a few of the beds in the heat we deiced to move toward the Pineapples, an area in much need of some TLC. Finishing our shift we cleared as much of the thick rooted grasses as we could. Forest and I talked at length about how interesting it must be for a child to see a pineapple grow for the first time.

Erin Mattick

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