Edible Peace Patch Blogs

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012


 It feels good to be back in the Edible Peace Patch Garden! I missed the Lakewood Elementary students over break! I'm excited that my Tuesday 10 to 12 shift has both a kindergarten class and a first grade class. I'm lucky enough to have my favorite class that I worked with last semester again this semester. Being able to work with them all year has definitely helped me grow closer to the students, and made them more comfortable with me as well. It is going to be tough to leave them at the end of the semester.
Today we reviewed the plant parts as a group and then split up into our smaller groups. Every time they come to the garden they beg for some new vegetable that they can try. My first grade class decided that they had a new found fear of bees and the only way that they would be "safe" would be to hold my hand. Which resulted in 5 kids all trying to hold my hand at the same time. After convincing them that were all okay, we settled under the shade of a tree where they could draw the parts of the plants and anything else they had observed during our walk through the garden.


After our classes we were left with just enough time to water the plants and weed.

"There are two lasting bequests we can give our childrenone is roots.  The other is wings." -Hodding Carter, Jr.


Monday, February 27, 2012

Plant Parts

This week we're going over plant parts in order to teach the kids what each function of the parts do to contribute to the whole.  I drew a picture of a flower with a stem, leaves and roots to demonstrate the plant parts we were discussing and to really drive the introduction home, we pretended we were plants with our pretty faces as flowers, our bodies as stems, our arms were leaves and our feet were roots.  We followed this introduction with a garden tour and each kid was tasked with the objective of finding a plant of their own to draw.  This point of this exercise is to get the kids to notice that each plant has these same characteristics as we just went over.  I think the kids enjoyed themselves, they all really like to color and they love being in the garden and getting a chance to observe the growth that's taken place over the week. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thriving Thursday

Hello all!

Sydney here.  I'm excited to be working on this project again after taking a semester break.  Last semester I was working with the non-profit, Friends of Strays Animal Shelter, and found that working with animals is a lot like working with children-- they desire a lot of attention and are smelly.  Only kidding! :) But, seriously, I really did miss working in the garden and with humans again.

Today at the garden was calm.  The Peace Patch is in desperate need of a hair-cut, so, Randi and I spent the majority of our time pulling up pesky sedge.  Mrs. K's class came out today and we continued Julia's excellent seed lesson plan.  Mrs. K has first gardeners (graders) who are eager to be outside and interested in what is happening in the garden!  Educating is the part I love about working in an Edible Schoolyard because I feel like I am in my element.  I love when kids ask questions and I love how excited they get when you change the pitch of your voice to make even the most boring of words sound much more intriguing.

My time at the garden is reflective.  I find educating difficult at times because I myself might not know how to answer a question from a first gardener.  But, at other times I find it exhilarating to share my knowledge.  Children have very distinct faces when they are thinking and beginning to understand new information and it's a face that I hope to see throughout my career path.  As I mentioned before, I am excited to be back on this project because it has helped me to understand my true passion in life, education. Have a great weekened everyone!

PS: This bird was sitting on a tree right next to me at dinner the other night.  He was very chill. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

What shall I learn of beans or beans of me?

I came to love my rows, my beans, though so many more than I wanted. They attached me to the earth, and so I got strength like Ant├Žus. But why should I raise them? Only Heaven knows... What shall I learn of beans or beans of me? -Henry David Thoreau 

Today was a wonderful day in the Garden. I spent a good time weeding and fixing up the tomatoes before the kids came out, and I got some lovely views of all the little insects and arthropods that have made a home amongst the bramble of tomato vines. We have a vast array of decomposers and herbivorous feasting on fallen currant tomatoes, as well as carnivores who came to feast upon them. I captured a photo of a little assassin bug nymph hunting on a tomato.
Todays lesson was on seeds! I'm a 20 year old college student who has studied quite a bit of botany and biology and I am still convinced that seeds are magical. I mean, the fact that the whole potential of a plant, of life, exists in a tiny little round pebble looking thing is perhaps the most poetic thing has ever created. It is an excitement I have never lost, and hope these kids never do. The kids are very familiar with seeds from last term, so we brought out some seeds, and let them observe and hold a variety of seeds. A lot of them wanted to eat the more familiar ones, so I had to keep an eye on where the seeds were going. Once they knew a few of them, we played a game where they would close there eyes and identify what kind of seed was in their hand by touch, and then run to a part of the field that was associated with that seed, kind of like the game four corners. Then we let them plant one of the beans, filling a cup with dirt and soil and water, so we can see it grow over the coming weeks. 

After our main lesson we spent time exploring the garden a bit more, A lot of kids wanted their pictures taken, as well as pointing out what I should photograph, and I let a few of them try taking pictures themselves. We tried some of the little tomatoes, lettuce, and some cauliflower. A couple of the kids discovered some awesome arthropods like roly-polies and this gorgeous monarch butterfly caterpillar. 

Overall it was a pretty spectacular day, and I was fortunate to get to show these kids some pretty awesome things in our garden, as well as hear their thoughts and opinions on the garden and on a variety of funny topics they brought up. After working with these kids since last fall, I am really attached to so many of them as individuals. These kids are intelligent and each has a unique and important view of the world that they are very willing to share, they are an example to my belief that we are all philosophers, and these kids are some of the best I know. I hope that is garden continues to be a place for them to cultivate that thoughtfulness and curiosity, to keep growing the seed within themselves into something spectacular. So before I get to corny (pun intended!), I shall add a brief seed of wisdom from Michael Pollan. 

Seeds have the power to preserve species, to enhance cultural as well as genetic diversity, to counter economic monopoly and to check the advance of conformity on all its many fronts.

-Michael Pollan

Post by Noah Schlager

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Let's Start at the Very Beginning... with Seeds, of Course!

Elena, Alina, and I began this beautiful Tuesday morning with our first kindergarten class of the day in the garden. It was a bit of a crazy start because our students arrive at the beginning of our volunteer shift, but we got everyone together to review the garden basics and talk about seeds. Both the kindergarteners and first graders knew right away everything that seeds need to grow! They eagerly gathered around our outstretched hands to observe and touch some mystery seeds. "That one looks like a butt!" one student exclaimed, upon seeing the dried garbanzo bean. They knew the squash seed right away as well. We certainly have some pumpkin carvers in the bunch! After describing the physical characteristics of different types of seeds, we planted bean seeds in our small groups and took turns very carefully adding a touch of water from the can. One of the girls tried to stop the water from dripping through the hole in the bottom of the cup, but I explained why we should be careful not to drown them in too much water.

After we planted the seeds, the first graders had an excellent time frolicking through the garden. They tasted some little tomatoes and giggled with delight as the rollie pollies tickled their hands. Some even helped us water the beds, eagerly making multiple trips to the bathroom to fill their mini watering cans. After the kids left, we continued with the usual tasks of watering and weeding the beds. The produce looks quite healthy so far! We have huge bunches of lettuce, and the cauliflowers are plumping up nicely. Unfortunately the banana tree doesn't look too great, but with some extra TLC we can hopefully revive it back to health.

Our remaining job was to turn the compost pile, which seems to be transforming into some rich soil. We had some trouble since there were lots of tomato vines on top, but after removing the bigger items we succeeded with the pitch fork and some solid female muscle power. As is always the case with nature, time will bring about change. We can expect some excellent new soil from the process and undoubtedly some delicious fresh produce in the coming weeks!

With love,
Carly Chaapel

Monday, February 20, 2012

Second Week of Teaching at Lakewood!!

Today the vegetables in the garden looked awesome!

The lettuce is about ready to harvest!

Olivia and I planted some raddishes.

We also planted beets!

The Cherry Tomato's were ready to harvest!

Last week Olivia and I planted some bean seeds and they were already sprouting!! So Exciting!

A close up of the bean seeds!

Edible flowers that are pretty tasty!

The students had a lesson on seeds today! First, we looked at three different types of seeds and observed some similarities and differences. We used our senses of sight, smell, and touch to observe the seeds. And we looked at their texture, shape, weight, and color. They absolutely loved planting their own seeds! We used some plastic cups and each student got to plant one seed. Then the teacher took the planted seeds back to their classroom.

The students tasted the edible flower! They thought it was so cool that they could eat a flower!

We also tasted the cherry tomatoes! They were very yummy!

The students left very happy! 

By: Kate Farley
Eckerd College Senior

Friday, February 17, 2012

Stories to Share in the Garden

It was gloomy day at Lakewood’s garden but that did not let that stand in the way of our happiness to be back in the garden.  

Besides the kids coming out at the end, my favorite part of the morning was talking with my fellow peers and getting to know them better. I feel lucky to be in a group that is so passionate about horticulture and enjoyed the conversations that we were having. Along with discussing worldly views on culture and religion, my peers expressed how they felt connected to the Edible Peace Patch project through their various experiences.

We mainly focused on pulling sedges out the mulch walkways which is really therapeutic as well as a time committing task. Luckily, I was with a group that had interesting conversations, making the work go by fast.

I found a really cool mushroom with a black cap growing in one of the beds which I thought deserved to be in our blog.

The children came out right before it was about to rain. We didn’t get to do the assessment but we did get to give them a tour of the garden. The students were very excited to get to taste the baby tomatoes!

I really appreciate having an enthusiastic group of students and getting to work with motivated people who tell awesome stories.  

Julia Melton

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Season Starts Again...

  To live, to survive on the earth, to care for the soil, and to worship, all are bound at the root to the idea of a cycle. -Wendell Berry

  One can still feel a bit of the cold from winter, the weather keeps jumping back and forth from hot to cold, unable to make up its mind it seems. Yet the length of the days are consistently getting longer and thus the sun is gifting more energy to the plants and us. Already quite a bit that was saved from last season is growing and near or ready to be harvested, including some cauliflower, lettuce, and some gorgeous (and very delicious) little tomatoes. We shared some of the tomatoes with the kids, and had reactions ranging from "delicious" to pure disgust with the flavor (I didn't much like tomatoes at there age either). One bright kid noticed the seeds in his tomato and decided to keep it so to plant the seeds later.

   It was a lot of fun getting to see the kids I had spent so much time with last term, and while they can be a handful at times, I am really glad I get to spend time with them and see them light up with understanding of the cycles and workings of the garden. I also love that these kids love bugs almost as much as I do! This garden is a special place that grows a lot more than just plants, and I look forward to doing a lot of growing in this new growing season!

- Noah Schlager
Better than any argument is to rise at dawn and pick dew-wet red berries in a cup. -Wendell Berry

Monday, February 13, 2012

Day one of Spring 2012

     And we're off to another great semester! 
Today, we resumed our weekly work in the garden along with lessons and classes. I worked the very chilly 8-10am shift with Kate and Erin joined us to go over all of things that need to happen this week. Despite our nearly numb fingers and toes, we enjoyed the refreshing air and the irresistable beauty of the Peace Patch garden. Among the various goals for this semester, we discussed planting more fruit than we have in the past, as the kids are largely more excited about growing fruit than vegetables (no surprise there..). We also had fun tossing around ideas for dishes to make from the food we will eventually harvest....tomato and basil hummus anyone?

I always envy kids' superior resilience in the face of cold weather. Here's our beautiful group of kindergarten students, energetic and ready for time in the garden! 

Sunflowers growing in the Three Sisters Bed, looking lovely.

Just a few of the tomatoes growing on the very large tomato bush. 
Far left bed: Eggplant and Broccoli; Middle bed: Peppers, Parsley, Cilantro; Right: Cauliflower.

So excited to see the Eggplant coming in!

Our main task for today's shift...a newly planted bed of Garbonzo beans, Garden Beans, and Providers.

Kate assessing our class'slevel of science/gardening knowledge through  the classic red light-green light game.

I'm so excited to be back in the garden again this semester and to be a part of such an important and life-changing movement. I know the rest of the semester will only prove to be more exciting as we move forward with planting and working with the kids.

Until next time,