Edible Peace Patch Blogs

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Monday, April 30, 2012

The Focus on Food

          This week is all about food in the garden. With our upcoming Harvest Festival on Thursday (parents and students be sure to come!), our lesson focuses on food production, growth, observance, and of course eating it. I started off early this morning by visiting Olivia and Kate during their shift to talk about preparations for the festival and beautifying the garden for all her visitors.

     As we went around the garden we noticed all the changes that had occurred and the variety we had grown this semester. The buzz in the garden seems to be stemmed from our very own pumpkin patch which should be ready by Thursday night! I'm thinking a raffle is in order... or some pumpkin pie...

one of 6 large pumpkins we have in the garden

       While my class and I observed the plants in the garden and discussed how they've grown and changed relating to out past lessons, we discussed last weeks lesson about seed saving and the vocabulary words adaptation and fortify. We went back to the seed bank and took a look at all the seeds that were saved last week and how they would grow and taste next semester.

Our very own seed bank :)
    A few weeks ago my classes and I had set up a drying station for herbs and seed pods in the shed. We now talked about what happens to the herbs when they are dried. How would they taste? How could they be used now that they were dry? Did they look more familiar now that they could be crushed up?

Globe Basil, Sweet Basil, Parsley, Mint, and some drying beet and radish
        I can't wait to make my collard greens for the festival! Here's a little preview of our awesome bounty of collards in the garden:

amazing bounty of collards
          Finally here are a couple of pics from this morning! We transplanted some strawberry plants and discovered a huge sunflower growing behind the compost pile!

Can't wait to see you all at the Harvest Festival this Thursday! It's been an amazing semester!

Erin Mattick
Gardens Manager

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Wrapping Up April

Time is flying and April is almost gone!

We have been collecting seeds for the next planting.  Our sunflowers have taken a beating from the parrots that like to hang around the Lakewood neighborhood.  It's actually a treat to watch them fly above the garden and squat because they are beautiful creates.  There has also been bald eagle and osprey spottings. Our garden is more than just plants! 

The pineapples look exceptionally larger than the beginning of the semester.  Here is a picture of one that we by far the biggest. Look at that! April showers have definitely helped our garden. I hope that everyone in the Lakewood community can come to our Harvest Fest on Thursday to enjoy the garden just as much as all of us. 


Wednesday, April 25, 2012


It was an unusually cool day in the garden, but the sun was shinning and the kids were filled with a restless energy that probably resulted from being kept inside all weekend with the rain. I could tell that they were excited to be outside in the Peace Patch. Today's lesson had to do with seeds. We asked the students if they could tell us where they thought seeds could be found in plants. We then explained how seeds could be collected, dried and then stored for future planting. We took a tour of the garden having the students point out to us where the seeds where in the different plants. They stood in awe around the giant green pumpkins and excitidly pointed out a grasshopper that was nestled between the leaves. 


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

It has become much harder, in the past century, to tell where the garden leaves off and pure nature begins.
-Michael Pollan
 This is a delayed post from last Wednesday, been a busy week for a lot of us in both our college world and out in the garden. The kids were really excited to see the pumpkins growing to gigantic sizes and all the pollinators that are visiting our flowering plants. Our lesson focused on learning about the difference between plants and animals, and identifying the native and cultivated plants we are growing in our garden. The garden is really lush right now and it feels so fulfilling to be out amongst the plants looking at bugs and comparing leaves. The kids are so into the plants and insects, it allows me to get excited over every last plant and insect we find.

 -Noah Schlager

Thursday, April 12, 2012


So, as I was organizing the shed this morning I realized that we have a surplus of shovels.

See? There is an assortment. But, that was not the only thing I realized while I was organizing this smokey morning. 

(Side note: South St. pete was covered in smoke due to forest fires further North and Boyd Hill was performing prescribed fires in their nature preserve. There was smoke so thick it was foggy.) 

Anyway, so as I have mentioned I was organizing the shed and when I organize, I think.  I began to think about why I was in the shed...and then why I was working on this project...and then why I even care about organizing the shed for this project.  Well, my sophomore high school English class and, more specifically, Joseph Campbell came to mind. In high school I found my niche working in the dark room.  I'm taking a photography class this year, senior year of college, and looking back at my negatives I found that 'nature' was a huge theme.  It was not just because it was just something to photograph, but that I engulfed myself, crawling under bushes and climbing mountains just to get the perfect shot.  When my English class began reading Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell, my general love for everything was pruning and my thoughts began to flow toward my attraction to the wonders of nature.

"Follow Your Bliss," Campbell states.  I remember thinking, "Oh yeah, just follow your bliss, man. So simple. Blah. Blah. Blah."  I would just like to point out that Mr. Campbell posed this question to a class full of hormonal teenagers and a pregnant professor. I'm Sorry, Mr. Campbell, that we found bliss in baby names and chocolate at the time but I feel as though I now understand what you were trying to accomplish in that English class so many years back.  I love to be outdoors. I love to be with other people. I love gaining new knowledge and sharing it with others.  HOLY SHOVELS! This is my bliss-I love educating others about the outdoors.

Just a little reflection as I am leaving the project at the end of the semester and it has been a great ride!

sydney :)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

For me, a landscape does not exist in its own right, since its appearance changes
at every moment; but the surrounding atmosphere brings it to life - the light

and the air which vary continually.  For me, it is only the surrounding

atmosphere which gives subjects their true value.
-  Claude Monet

Today we taught the kids about the sun.  Its age and its importance in processes like photosynthesis.  They knew a lot already, like how it is a star and makes water evaporate.  We discussed temperature differences between shade and sun and showed them the difference between a bucket of water left in the sun and a bucket of water left in the shade.  We showed them eggplant that had been left in the sun...
and the eggplant that has yet to be picked from the garden.
They really seemed to enjoy the lesson.  In particular, they had a lot of fun watering the garden at the end!

The banana plant is starting to look good again and the pineapple is looking great!  
We also have some garbanzo beans growing, and I was able to pick a carrot for one of the students to share with the class.
Yet another beautiful day in the garden!

Until next time,


Friday, April 6, 2012

Pollination Sensation

It was a beautiful morning at Lakewood Elementary. The sun was shining and there was a nice breeze. The rain from earlier in the week was beneficial for the plants.  Many things are growing!

This is a baby green pepper.

There are a lot of eggplants growing too!

We began our shift with various maintenance work. Brian did a great job watering the plants and Olivia worked on shoveling the dirt pile.

I focused on transplanting the tomato plants that have volunteered in the okra bed to an empty bed. I really enjoy transplanting not only because you get your hands dirty but also because you give the plant a place to have more room to grow. The key to transplanting is using lot of water.

We have a lot of plants that are flowering in the garden which was good for our pollinator lesson. There were plenty of bees as well!

Although we talked about the importance of bees the kids loved looking for rolly polly bugs under rocks. They loved tasting the edible squash flowers. When they lined up to leave we gave them each a collard green leaf to take home to show their parents. I can tell that the students really value the garden.

Over all it was a wonderful morning. Enjoy your weekend!

Julia Melton

Monday, April 2, 2012

“Find your place on the planet. Dig in, and take responsibility from there.” 

Moreso than most of my times in the garden, I was struck today by the overwhelmingly intricate ways in which all life is connected. With the lesson on pollination in mind, I couldn't help but feel awe at the fact that, if it weren't for the wind and certain unassuming creatures, the flowers that turn into fruit that turns into food in my belly would not continue growing. I stood in the garden this morning looking at bees not with the usual suspicion and caution, but with humility. My life riding on the wings of these black and yellow wonders.

This feeling didn't leave as I watered the garden. It was as though I could feel an empathetic thirst in my throat triggered by the sight of dry beds. It struck me again how beautifully interwoven the various cycles of life are. I thought to myself, what a miracle it is to be able to simply turn a key and feel a powerful surge of water in my hands..and how easy it is to take for granted. 

I generally find that my experience volunteering in the garden can go one of two ways: either I avoid fully being present and I feel a tinge of impatience to be finished. Or, when I am fully present, every simple, even menial task, carries profound power and significance. Every drop of water, speck of dirt, petal of a flower, crawling bug, and - best of all - vociferous child, waits with something to teach me. 

Despite the chaotic demands of school, family/friends, a job, etc, that typically fill up my head and hands, the mere 4 hours a week that I spend outside in this garden are slowly changing me. It is amazing how such relatively little gritty toil and interaction with kids can do so much to reveal what is truly important in this world. I can feel in my bones that there is something truly good and right to be found in the Edible Peace Patch.

Some photos from today...
A bee at work in our pollinator bed

These squash flowers taste like cheese!
We all watered the garden together today! (aren't they adorable?)

Reworking the gourd bed to plant watermelons!

All eager to try a piece of the flower. 

mmmmmm :)

Until next time,