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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!


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