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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Weekly Words

I got to the garden a little early today, my head full of the future. A lot of my friends are graduating this year, but I'm a bit behind. I would guess that I've probably been thinking just as much as they have about what's next, though. It's strange to imagine my days without books, labs, and note-taking, since I have been in school as long as I can remember. The one thing I can't imagine myself giving up is this garden. Working at the Edible Peace Patch during the week makes me feel useful. I'm watching the growth of the fruits and vegetables of my labor. And the best part about them is that they're healthy and edible. I noticed this little lizard hanging out on Florida's state tree, the cabbage palm, as I was watering it. He let me take lots of pictures of him. I'd like to think he could sense that I didn't want to hurt him, that my mind was elsewhere, but he was probably just soaking up the sun.

As I walked around, I discovered that things are still thriving in the Lakewood soil. We harvested eight papayas today, one big squash, snow peas, lots of broccoli, and a few beach sunflowers, just for fun.

Then the students came to the garden. They really impressed me this week. Our second grade class had already learned a lot about the water cycle and they answered all of our questions easily. They even had questions to ask us. One student asked, "Where does water come from?" and another wanted to know, "Was there water before the dinosaurs got here?" We gave them broccoli and snow peas as a reward. Most of the kids seemed to like the snow peas, but lots of sour faces were made in response to broccoli. 

"Can we go explore the garden?" they wanted to know. And they asked right away about the beans and the pineapples. We showed them a big squash (see above) before we picked it, and looked at the cucumbers that were starting to grow. One student asked, "Hey, where the pickles at?"so I explained that cucumbers are the first step. They all seemed a little more interested after that. This brings me to dill. The kids in my class have been especially excited about dill lately. I have heard some say it tastes spicy, and today, someone even told me it tasted like gum. I'm glad to help them broaden their food horizons, and herbs and spices are a great way to start. Today I really felt like the kids couldn't get enough. Our kindergarteners wanted to get directly involved. They worked on their watering and sharing techniques (pictured below). 

I always leave the garden feeling tired, but content. I don't know if I'm meant to teach forever, but I know that I will be able to grow my own food as long as my body can handle it. I'm happy to pass on some know-how to these little ones so they consider growing their own gardens too. The kids were begging me for a papaya so they could use the seeds to start their own little tree. I'm glad we are least making them curious enough to their hands dirty. In the art of gardening, we know that's the only way to really learn. 

Happy Tuesday, 
Emily Bornhop

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