Edible Peace Patch Blogs

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Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Fruit of Our Labor

Today was quite a busy day at the Lakewood Elementary School Garden where we had two guest classes join us in the garden as well as our assigned class for the day. Mrs. Housel's pre-K class came out this morning to explore the garden's insect habitat and found that the garden was home to many different types of bugs and spiders.

(Mrs. Housel's pre-K class discovering a butterfly in the garden)

 Our other guest class today was Mrs. Garcia's pre-K class who came out to inspect the growth of the beloved pineapple plants and flourishing greens!

(Mrs. Garcia's pre-K class investigating the growing plants and flowers in the garden)

Mrs. Barlow's kindergarden class came out for their lesson on the parts of a plant today, but due to lucky timing, came away with understanding the papaya from the ground up and the inside out. Lilian, Gracie, and I were fortunate enough to be working at Lakewood just as one of the papaya's ripened enough to eat. This unique timing was a great opportunity to show the kids the changes a fruit, plant, or vegetable undergoes to tell us it's ready for us to eat such as the green to yellow color change papayas undergo. Lucky for us, we got to enjoy this yummy fruit too!

(Mrs. Barlow's Kindergarden class eager to answer questions about plant growth and changes)

(Lilian showing the exterior color change of the ripened papaya)

(Gracie enjoying the fruit of our labor :)

(Lilian inspecting the green beans)

(Gracie watering the plants. Every shift requires general maintenance too!)

Andréa Martin

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Rain, Rain Go Away!

Today has been a rather gloomy day in St.Petersburg. There have been consistently grey skies with rain on and off all morning and afternoon. Luckily we were able to get out for our 1-3 shift this afternoon to continue to beautify the garden and check up on all the plants! The plants received a well deserved rainfall, meaning we did not need to water. I could immediately notice a difference from last week in the plants size. From the squash to the radishes, everything has grown a considerable amount.

Baby Radish!
It is really phenomenal that the different fruits and veggies are doing so well. I am personally excited for the students to come out to the garden and also notice a difference and begin to conceptualize what these once small seeds are turning into. Aside from the squash and radishes, the baby pineapple and green beans are growing too!
Baby Pineapple
Green Beans
Even though it was quite ominous out today and no students came out we still had a successful afternoon of weeding and thinning the plants. Like previously stated, I am beyond anxious to see what the kids say when the come out and then in a couple weeks begin to harvest the plants!

Gracie Van Huffel

Monday, March 11, 2013

Soils, Roly Polies & Spiders, Oh My!

Today was another wonderful day at the Lakewood garden, and it was great to have the warmth back again! Katy and I arrived with the biggest project in the log book being to remove the bush beans from bed 8 and then chop and rake them throughout the bed and then giving it a good soak. We were a little confused as how exactly to approach this task since it was a technique that neither Katy or myself were familiar with, so of course we gave the wonderful Robin a call! She explained exactly how to go throughout the process and how it's supposed to make the soil more fertile with nutrients from the dead plants and then we were off to do it.

Bed 8 before uprooting and chopping!

We had gotten all the plants removed from the ground when our wonderful Kindergarten class showed up! This weeks lesson is all about soils, so we began reviewing the parts of the plant quickly (which they remembered extremely well) which we led into the different kinds of soils. This lesson was a bit harder for the students to comprehend, but we made the best of it and I feel they left knowing more about soil than they knew before, deeming the lesson successful. 

Katy having her group feel the soil

We began feeling the different kinds of soils, the sand, the dirt around the beds, the fertile soil inside the beds and the compost and had the students tell us what the differences were between the different kinds. Some answers were really accurate and some answers made me giggle. I truly love listening to kids and the way they think and believe in the statement that "kids say the darndest things." This project along with working at a summer camp this past summer has helped me solidify my decision to work with children after graduation.

My group beginning to search for bugs in bed 8

After observing the different soils and how water interacts with each of them, the students started getting antsy, so I decided to go straight for the bug section of the lesson. I asked them what else could possibly live in the soil along with the plants? I got many excited yells of "Bugs!" along with "Water!" and even one "Poop!" which gave me a great chuckle. I assured them that they were all correct, but the answer I mainly was looking for was bugs. I asked how bugs could help the soil grow plants, and a bright young boy shouted out the answer right away saying that the bugs dig through the soil to help move it around and give it air. I was excited and surprised that he knew the answer since it was a struggle before getting them to understand how the soil works. I then sent them to the freshly pulled up bed 8 on the search for bugs and had them talk about how the bugs interacted with the soil. They did a great job along with many screams of excitement and fear.

The spider that graced us with his presence!
After the students left, Katy and I finished up chopping up the bush beans and mixing it throughout the bed. While watering, I had a very similar situation that some of the kids did with the bugs; a very large spider crawled up from the middle of the bed and darted right towards me! I unexpectedly let out a very loud scream, and then let him go on his way towards the pineapples.

The finished bed 8 in hopes to bring nutrient rich soil!
Katy and I then did some small housekeeping things around the garden, reflecting on how silly and great the kids are until our shift ended.

Sunflower sprout about two weeks in! I plan to take pictures
of the same plant throughout the semester to be able to
document the growing process and make a cool time lapse!
Another great garden day for the books!


Thursday, March 7, 2013

A Beautiful Day In The Garden

The Lakewood Elementary School garden got some extra TCL today when our kindergarden class was  unfortunately unable to come out to the garden and our was spent as a maintenance shift. Although still a bit chilly, the sun was shining and it was beautiful out in the garden, so spending some extra time tending directly to the plants was a pleasure.

Walking around the garden throughout our shift we came up with some ideas we had such as repainting the perimeter of the beds as a way to bring more art into the garden, beautify the man-made parts of the garden, and to get the kids involved in a fun art project that they would be leaving in their garden for years to come.

Leaving the garden today, I was grateful to have spent so much time weeding and just being in the garden since it's always so relaxing, especially after a stressful week of college work and projects.

Andrea Martin

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


It was a beautiful in the garden today! There were no classes in the garden this afternoon so we dedicated the entire time to cleaning up and making sure everything was picturesque. Taylor, Emily, and i weeded and watered the entire garden, including the newly planted squash plants in the Three Sisters bed!
Three Sisters bed
We also cleaned up the compost pile which was cluttered with harmful plastic pieces and scraps. It is important to keep the compost clean so it continues to generate healthy, nutritious soil for our old and new plants.
The Compost Pile

While raking and clearing the compost we could not help but notice all of the beautiful Monarch butterflies and bumblebee's pollinating a variety of our flowers, such as the pristine Black-Eye Susan's.
Black-Eyed Susan's
Many things are starting to bloom quite rapidly in the garden, such as Collard Greens. Many of the kids love having one of us teachers pull a piece off and letting them try some!
Collard Greens
Aside from the Collard's our Papaya tree is growing so fast! All of the kids that come out are so excited to finally crack out one of these large fruits.
Yet again another eventful and successful day in the garden!

Gracie Van Huffel

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Seed Lesson With a Side of Green Beans

Liz and I began our day at Lakewood getting our lesson together for the kids while attempting to bear the cold. It was the big seed planting day and we weren't sure how many classes we'd get out with the  dreary weather. While waiting for them and weeding, we discovered that the bean plants were burgeoning despite the dozens and dozens we collected last Friday.

We were very excited to have something to harvest

This little surprise offered a great addition to our lesson. While asking the children questions about the seeds, we were able to show them the seeds inside the pods, exemplifying the full circle of seed life. Our first grade class was impeccably knowledgable about seeds and the way they grow, so the lesson was very exciting for them.

Each question was met by a sea of raised hands, and the students seemed to really enjoy explaining the process of a seed growing roots down and the plant growing up. They also were well versed in the necessities of keeping a seed and plant healthy, so I trust that we will have sprouted plants when the class brings their potted seeds back next week.

Although they love to get outside, walk around, and see what's growing in their garden (because it has been established in all our classes that these kids do in fact like to take ownership for it), I think their favorite part was getting to take a green bean with them. It was alI we could do to keep them from taking the whole pile from the table the instant they saw them. It was amazing to see children so eager to eat something so very green and untouched by anything that could mask its flavor. These kids wanted to eat a raw, dirty vegetable, and it was truly a beautiful sight.

Just one of the many treasures you can find in the garden
Can't wait to see what next week has for us here!