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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Garden Workday

On Saturday November 15th, volunteers gathered at Lakewood Elementary school to tackle some large projects in the garden.  A special thank you to the Junior League of St. Petersburg for lending a helping hand this service day!

It was a lovely morning to work in the garden and we were all kept busy with a variety of different tasks.  Weeds were pulled, dying plants were removed to make room for new seeds and seedlings, and fresh soil from the compost pile was sifted onto the beds.  While weeding, we found a large cricket peeking out from under the mustard greens.

The smallest snake found in Florida also made an appearance!  It's believe that these little snakes were brought to the United States from Southeast Asia in potted plants.  They are similar in size and shape to an earthworm, with the main distinguishing feature being their lack segmentation.

Brahminy Blind Snake (Ramphotyphlops braminus)

In addition to cleaning up the beds, another large task accomplished was the painting of signs to mark the location of the wide variety of plants found in the garden.  Okra, bok choy, rapini, onion, margiolds, beets, brussel sprouts, chives, kale, corn, basil...


As the service day wound down, it was evident how much effort had been put in by all the volunteers.  Even in such a short amount of time the garden looked completely rejuvenated - it will be exciting to watch the newly planted seeds grow over the next couple weeks!

- Colleen

Friday, November 7, 2014

Volunteering in the garden has been quite the learning experience. I have never been around first graders before, so actually teaching them has been challenging! My partners and I have strategized many times on how to keep the kids attention but today, we learned, freeing up the reigns makes for the best learning. The kids play scientist as they ‘walk’ around the garden observing. They love seeing how much the green beans, papayas, and their seedlings were growing. And they always have time to hunt for the friendly bugs of the garden. When things got a little crazy, the journals are a handy tool to get them to regroup and draw pictures of what they observed and write the questions they have. At the end of the lesson, I had my group draw pictures of themselves as superheroes working in the garden and share with the group. Seeing one boy, who at the beginning did not want to participate, stand up proudly to show himself flying over the garden in his special watering suit to help the plants grow was such a cool moment. Volunteering with these kids has not been clean or organized. Instead, it has turned out to be so much fun and the best morning in the kid’s and my week. Check out the kids' favorite garden things below!

Andrea and her scientists

Garden is so beautiful and full of life

The seedlings the kids planted are growing!!!!

The forbidden papaya tree.

The kids loved trying the green beans

Favorite activity- catching these bugs under the rocks