Edible Peace Patch Blogs

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Friday, March 30, 2012

Ch Ch Ch Ch Changes!

       This month has flown by! Just as quickly has the garden at Lakewood almost gotten away from her crew of dedicated workers. As conflicting Spring Break weeks between Eckerd College and the elementary school have put us in a daze of catch-up we invested our time without garden visitors to get "Down and Dirty with Garden Maintenance!" (Trademarked working title for my future HGTV debut show;)

    When I arrived this morning I was stunned by the amount of food that had sprouted over the week. I had forgotten the diverse plants we had chosen to sow this semester and we've got quite a few interesting veggies for the kids to sample when they return on Monday:

Garbanzo Beans (Also called "Chickpeas") --- Maybe we can make some Hummus!

Zebra Pole Beans ---- The kids are going to love the crazy colors
Yellow and purple Eggplant are bursting from their bushes --- I counted at least 8 this morning!

       I am so excited to incorporate the food aspect of gardening into the lessons this week! Along with these few images I have, I also discovered a ton of squash nearly ready to harvest, the blossoms of the squash were booming and their one of my favorite things for the kids to try. It tastes like queso cheese and the kids are always pleasantly surprised when they try them raw.
       The radishes are also in need of harvesting. Some have even bolted to the point which their flowers and seed pods are sprouting. I'm really excited to keep one or two in the ground to show the students where the seeds of a radish come from! It's so exciting when you get to utilize your passion to get young children interested as well. This weeks lesson is going to be on pollination and it will be awesome to use the bee and butterfly lesson from a few weeks ago to bring all the growth and activities together. The kids especially love drawing the insects we discuss and then finding them in the garden. I'm sure we'll see tons of butterflies and bees this week with all the beautiful flowers coming up from the growing Sweet Potatoes, Radishes, Pollinator Garden, and Eggplants.

    Maybe this week we can try to make an easy dish for the kids to try. I really like to enforce a team-work and kindness aspect to every lesson and I'm sure working together to make a fresh salad or Salsa dip would be a different way to project those themes while focusing on the food as well as the science.

    All in all the garden is looking beautiful and wild! I hope my Monday students feel a little less melancholy coming back from Spring Break into a world of munchies and art!

Enjoy the rest of your Spring Break Lakewood students and families!

Lakewood Elementary ---  Edible Peace Patch Garden

-Erin Mattick
 Gardens Manager

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Sneaky Bugs and a Tasty Herb Garden

Today was a beautifully sunny work day in the Patch! After a week of relaxation during spring break, we regrouped at the garden with batteries recharged to run through the second half of the semester. Elena and I first tackled the shed. After precariously reorganizing pitchforks and rusty shovels (perhaps flip flops were not the best choice for footwear), disposing of the rubbish, and giving it a good sweep, we moved into the garden for maintenance. In the first bed, I was startled to see a whole host of leaf-footed bugs (adults and nymphs) sucking out the precious juices from our last few tomatoes.
We spent the remainder of our shift weeding and watering. There are no classes this week because Lakewood is on spring break now, but there was a whole playground of squealing kids. A few curious ones wandered over to check us out as we fiddled with the water key and pulled the hose along. They haven't been in the garden before, but they didn't hesitate to ask if we had strawberries and fruit (this is a common pattern of interest... hint, hint next year's gardeners!).

The sunflowers and gourds look healthy and are growing very quickly, while the cauliflowers and lettuces are past their prime. Carrots and radishes are coming along nicely, and the wildflowers in the back are buzzing with pollinators. The herbs look, smell, and taste great, too! Elena and I nibbled on some basil, peppermint, and citrus mint, reminiscing of iced tea and Italian fine dining as our Tuesday morning in the garden came to a close.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Hello all!

The garden is flourishing and the kids are HUNGRY! On Thursdays, Randi and I have two classes- kindergarten and first graders.  Our kindergartners are eager learners and constantly asking and answering questions.  This makes my job a little easier considering the material we are throwing at them!  The first graders are also little sponges, wanting to know more and more about our garden and all the background information.

This week is all about decomposers! That means, BUGS BUGS BUGS!!

The Lakewood Edible Peace Patch Garden gets most of its help from roly polys:

These roly polys help aerate our soil and break down material to create rich, fertile soil composition for our plants to flourish. 

Our classes found most of these creepy crawlers underneath the rocks in the pollinator garden. They were so intrigued by what can happen underneath the ground, out of our eye site.  

Our exploration was successful and afterward both grade levels were able to complete the lesson plan, a challenge we are facing but assuredly overcoming with each weekly lesson plan.  After the exploration, the kids drew what they saw in the garden and shared with their classmates, Randi, me, and their teachers.  They all seemed genuinely proud of what they had accomplished today in the garden.  

Once the real work was done, Randi taught them about metamorphosis.  Have you ever tried teaching a 6 year old the word 'metamorphosis'? It is nearly impossible, but, we felt as though they were able to grasp the concept behind the word--egg to caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly.  The kids really seemed to want to understand what everything was and I'm curious to see if they remember it next week.  After the hard stuff, the first graders made their own butterflies out of coffee filters and clothes pins! It was a lot of fun! Some of the final products are displayed throughout the garden! Come check them out at our harvest festival!

happy ides of march!

-sydney :) 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

~Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.~
                                               Nathaniel Hawthorne

It was a beautiful day in the garden today.  We had two classes come out.  The first was a kindergarten class (coincidentally the same class I worked with last semester!), and the second was a first grade class (a class with which one of my fellow gardeners worked last semester!).  They are such a great group of kids, smiling and bouncing into the garden and then showering Carly, Alina, and I with hugs when the time comes to leave the garden.  Today was a particularly hug-filled day, as we won't be seeing them for three weeks.  Eckerd's Spring Break is next week and theirs is the week after that.  

Today we taught a lesson on decomposers and butterflies.  At the end, the students made their own butterflies out of coffee filters, clothes pins, and pipe cleans.  I am sorry to say I did not think to get a picture of the beautiful creations.  

With our two classes out for as long as they are, we do not have a whole lot of time for garden maintenance but we were able to water our very thirsty garden.  The newly-planted sunflowers and recently transplanted basil are coming in very nicely!

That's all for now!




Friday, March 9, 2012

Friday Fun

It was another beautiful day at the Lakewood garden. My fellow colleagues and I were in deep discussion about how thankful we are to have the Edible Peace Patch Project in our lives.

There are many beautiful species in the garden such as this monarch caterpillar and flower.

We mainly focused on pulling grass sedges and mulching. We really enjoy our kindergarten class, who are always enthusiastic to be in the garden. Today our lesson was on dirt. We began by talking about the sandy soil we have in Florida. Then we went over other various types of soil.  The kids definitely enjoyed the dirt pile in the garden and loved holding the rolly polly bugs.  I think it is good to have an educational component with the lesson, but more importantly that the kids are having fun.
Julia Melton

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

“The soil is the great connector of our lives, the source and destination of all." -Wendell Berry

Today we got our hands in the dirt and learned about soil. We looked at the different components of soil, the creates that help make soil, and the reasons plants need soil. Of course the kids were most interested in the things that make soil, The rolly pollies as usual stole the show. We played some games and used magnifying glasses to explore the soil. We looked at the separate components and the full conglomeration of soil, and I think the kids got a good introduction to the world of soil. Soil is one of my favorite things to look at and study, it is a living system, and i'm glad I could share a bit of that world with these kids.

-Noah Schlager

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Edible Peace Patch Fest!

Despite the wind and the chill, yesterday's first annual Edible Peace Patch fest was a great success and a ton of fun. Volunteers and local community memebers came together with local art vendors and musicians for a day of great food, games, and friendship. As Prof. Kip Curtis, director and founder of the project, stressed in his speech last night, this project is centered around building a strong community bond through sustainable food systems. Being as food is our most intimate connection with the land, this festival celebrated our 'growing' together in both the schoolyard gardens and as the St. Petersburg community. From a bounce house and rousing game of volleyball to dancing and great conversation, the atmosphere was exciting and comfortable. Bringing everyone together in order to cheer on a project that is changing lives and moving forward with leaps and bounds was an incredible experiance. This event really brought to my attention the dedication of everyone involved in the project and the hope for its future as we continue forward.

I'd like to give a special thanks to Kip Curtis as well as the Edible Peace Patch board for making this all possible, along with our dedicated volunteers from both of the gardens, the event volunteers, and YOU! Without positive community members spreading the word and getting involved, this dream would not be turning into the reality that it is.
Katherine Schaefer
Edible Peace Patch Volunteer Coordinator