Edible Peace Patch Blogs

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Sunday, November 17, 2013

Relaxing Friday

This past Friday morning was a little bit cloudy, but very enjoyable. There were no classes in the garden today but there was still a lot to be done. Mack and I both pulled weeds, thinned and mulched the beds during our shift. Some of the radishes that we planted last week began to sprout. I'm very excited to see the students reaction to their growing radishes, I hope they're proud of all their proud of their crops. Next week will also be a great time to review the plant parts using the students radishes. Towards the end of the shift one of the secretaries came out to the garden and harvested some Kohlrabi and mustard greens. It is important to harvest the lettuces before they become bitter. Today was also the first day of the wellness kitchen. I look forward to the Thursday morning meeting to hear about how the wellness kitchen went, and to hear about the future plans of implementing a wellness kitchen program in each school!

Peace and Carrots,


                                                                     Sprouting radishes

Mack mulching

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Peaceful day in the Garden

Today was a quiet and peaceful day at the Lakewood garden. I was excited to see that irrigation had been set up in all of the beds. Very cool! I had planned to water the beds, but saw this was no longer necessary. Thanks to the new irrigation system the beds are going to be looking much tidier, since we will be able to spend more time weeding.

I noticed that the radishes the students planted last week have sprouted. They will be excited to see their plants growing when they come out to the garden.
Baby Radishes

The tomatoes are starting to ripen. The squash and the okra are flowering. All the lettuces are full grown.
Ripening Tomato. Our leaves may not change
colors in the fall but at least our tomatoes do!

I spotted a small metallic green bee collecting pollen from the mustard greens' flowers. She was very entertaining to watch as she pressed pollen into her pollen sacks.
Augochlora sweat bee. A native bee collecting pollen from the mustard greens.

Besides the bee, I saw many lady bugs on the leaves of our veggies, and butterflies fluttering around in the pollinator garden. Although classes did not come out today, I had a good time tending to the plants.

-Lilian Gonzalez

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Heroes -- PART IV: Rob Hoogeveen.

Just by chance during our last Garden Volunteer Day in October, David Brett, husband of our Board Vice Chair, Kristin Brett, decided to call a guy he knew who installed irrigation.  "He's a great guy," David told me.

Today I arrived at Lakewood and there were trucks lining the road.

Rob Hoogeveen is not only a nice guy, and one of our first ten Founder's Fund contributors, he arranged for the Tampa Bay Chapter of the Florida Irrigation Society to provide the donation of irrigation systems to our schoolyard gardens.

When I walked into the garden, there was irrigation tubing everywhere in the beds.  Rob was hard at work creating a three-zone system.

He told he arrived at the school at 7:15 and the HPO, who just happened to be driving by on a motorcycle, let him in the gate (we didn't arrive until 8:00 a.m. as planned).

Every bed got its own irrigation system, tubing and extender sprays.  Misting water that will saturate our soil and irrigate our plants.

Here's Rob and Lisa Yacso, posing with our sign at Lakewood at the end of the day.

 The lettuce will be delighted.  Water will be better conserved.  And our work is made lighter.  The biggest job and most time consuming work had now been automated.

Rob installed a timer and rain sensor and if you're in need of an irrigation system for your house or garden, I know a really nice guy you should call.

Thanks, Rob!  You're a real hero!

Kip Curtis, Ph.D.
Founder and Executive Director

A Very Busy Friday!

Friday was a very busy day in the garden for the 3rd and 4th graders! We started off the day by planting radishes in one of the amended beds that had yet to be planted. The Lakewood garden had yet to have any radishes planted yet, and since radishes grow so quickly, we decided to plant some. In the next few weeks they will hopefully sprout and can be harvested before winter break. Next, we continued on with the bug hunt and pollinators lesson since we could incorporate the native plants into the lesson as well. We had a quick but vibrant talk about bugs and pollinators and then were off to explore the garden and hunt for bugs. I was stationed at the mulch pile and look for decomposers. In the mulch pile we found tons of rollie-pollies and cockroaches. At the end of the day, we wrapped up by watering all the plants and of course have a another spicy mustard lettuce contest. Once again, I lost. Maybe next week. I am excited for the next few weeks because all the vegetables are coming in quite healthy and its almost time to harvest!

Peace and Carrots,


Planting radishes 

Watering the garden 

                                                 Searching for pollinators on the bug hunt

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A Day of Gardening with our 3rd Graders

            Today was a productive and cheerful day at the Lakewood garden. Manuela, Kaycie, and I arrived at the garden this morning and ran into Jonathan who was working on watering the beds. I noticed the squash plants in three of the beds were very sickly. We investigated and found that they had been infected by tons of melon worms! We decided to pull the dying squash out of the beds with the students. We set up a station with gloves to pull out the spiky stemmed squash, seeds to sow in the beds that we clear, and watering cans to water these beds. 

                The students did a wonderful job at helping us pull out the squash. We found many little squash, which we allowed them to take home. Some students got a bit too excited and picked other vegetables that weren't ready to be harvested. Donavon pulled off a tomato that was not yet ripe. 
Fried green tomatoes then!

               My group sowed radish seeds in one of the beds. The students are excited to come back and see if their seeds have sprouted next week.

P.S I was excited to see that the okra we transplanted last week made it! Okra is definitely going on my hardy plants list!

-Lilian Gonzalez

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A Plentiful Harvest

Look at how big the papayas are getting. That's my hand!
My pineapple plants are as big as I've ever seen them.
That bok choy looks good enough to throw into pot for cooking.
Those tomato plants look pretty lush and healthy.
I spy an eggplant that is almost ripe for picking.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Third and Fourth Grade Finally in the Garden!

Hello all!

This past Friday on November 1st, 2013, Third and Fourth grade finally made it out the garden! This was the first time that the Friday early morning shift comprised of myself, Lilian and Kasey, taught students at Lakewood for the Fall 2013 season. We were all very excited to finally be working with students as we had looked forward to this day since the beginning of September. Most of the students, from both grades, had experience in the garden from years past. When the students first arrived in the garden I was worried about not being able to complete the entire curriculum for the season because we did not receive students till so late. Much to my surprise, the students had remembered a lot from past years! In the fourth grade group we covered everything up until pollinators which I was extremely impressed by. Hopefully next week we will have the students caught up with the curriculum. One of my favorite parts of the day was going around with the students and tasting the different types of lettuces and herbs. I had never tasted spicy mustard lettuce before, and OH MY, it was spicy!! My group of Fourth grade boys began to laugh when I teared up from the spiciness, but then soon understood my pain as they ate some of the lettuce. Next week I look forward to working with the students and trying new vegetables again, but hopefully not as spicy as the spicy mustard lettuce.

Peace and Carrots,