Edible Peace Patch Blogs

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Friday, January 23, 2009

Last day of winter term

Today was the final day for the winter term portion of the project, and it was a great day working with the kids. First we met with the usual group of fifth graders and planted carrots, lettuce, and cauliflower and got all the watering done. Our organization was evident today. All of the kids were involved and interested and everything moved very smoothly. The teachers are growing more and more impressed with the job we are doing and we've been receiving a lot of thanks and appreciation from the faculty of the school.

As the fifth graders left, a group of preschoolers wearing tiny gardening gloves came in. The preschool teacher had requested to come out and show her students the garden, so we were more than happy to have them. They mixed up dirt in the beds with their hands and we thoroughly enjoyed our time with them, as I'm sure they enjoyed their time with us in the garden.

We are starting to see a lot more sprouts coming up. The broccoli in the greenhouse is coming up strong, and the sunflowers and wildflowers are sprouting up too. The preliminary stage of this project is now basically complete, and what follows in this coming semester is even more exciting.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The past 2 days

Yesterday was a huge planning day. We plotted out every bed and planned exactly how many of each plant would go where. Now we have a definite plan of how many of which crops will be grown. This is really important for us to know so that we can figure out when to plant each crop, based on the time it takes to reach maturity. With this information we marked on a calendar when we would need to plant each vegetable. It took a lot of discussion and planning but we came up with a layout that was the most logical and beneficial. This will serve as our guide for the whole semester ahead.

Today we met with the kids for a half hour. We watered with them and planted watermelon and collard greens. We learned a lot today about working with the kids. Unfortunately we are learning from mistakes. We were pretty disorganized at first and there was no really clear direction. It's unfortunate that we had to have this happen, but it's fortunate that it happened this early on. We now know we need to be much more organized every day. A good part of the remaining day was spent planning out exactly what to do for tomorrow. We're confidant now that tomorrow will go much smoother, we don't want another repeat of today.

We got some more mulch today and spread it around the perimeter to reach the sunflowers and corn. It's surprising how much bigger it makes the garden look. The mulch will serve as a weed deterrent and also help to keep moisture in. We also noticed we are starting to see a lot of weeds coming up in the beds we haven't even planted in yet, and also some sprouts coming up in our greenhouse starters! It's so exciting to witness the very beginning of the long growth cycle.

Tomorrow marks the final day for the winter term, so starting Tuesday a new group of Eckerd students will be added to the project. We still have to figure out the curriculum for the upcoming semester and will be working on that a lot in the days and weeks to come.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Short Day

Today was a pretty short day, we ended early because there wasn't much physical work to do since we weren't with the kids today (and also we wanted to watch the inauguration). However, we did give all the plants a nice watering and continued the process of figuring out which plants will grow in which beds. This is very important information to know, as it will help us figure out when to plant each crop, based on its harvest time. We want to harvest all the vegetables relatively around the same time in April for our big harvest festival. Tomorrow we will have an even more intensive planning day. That's when we will figure out everything about what, when, where, and how much to plant.

Tonight a few of us went to a special program about using herbs as medicine at Gateway Organic Farm. This could be some useful information when we start thinking more about the herb garden.

Friday, January 16, 2009

End of 2nd week

Today marked the end of our second week working on the garden. It's hard to believe that we've done so much in that amount of time. When we look back at what this plot of land looked like when we first got here, we can clearly see how much progress we've made.



Today was a fairly short day. The elementary school had an in service day, so no students were present. We cleaned up the area a little bit; combined two piles of dirt together and tidied up the compost area. We also got some seeds started in the greenhouse for broccoli, green bell peppers, and tomatoes, and planted corn along the back side of the garden.

The square foot gardening layout was plotted with string in the 6 square beds. This will provide a good guide for us when we actually go to plant the crops in those areas.

We'll continue working with the kids again on Tuesday.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

First day with the kids

Everyone agreed that today was a really great day, and the reason being that we finally got to work with the kids. We've been working so hard this whole time trying to get everything ready and planned out perfectly, it brought us all so much joy and relief to finally work with the very people we have been doing it all for. This project has always been an incredible idea in theory, but today I think we all got to see first-hand what an invaluable experience this will be for these children.

We were able to plant the entire perimeter of the garden with marigolds and sunflowers today. It makes it look so much better to actually have some plants in place. We also got the crepe myrtles today and put them in the ground. Thank you, Gateway Organic Farm for donating them!

Tomorrow we will be cleaning up a bit and doing some intense planning of what crops will go where.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Greenhouse construction and mulch

We added a couple pretty big things to the garden today. A few people worked on constructing the greenhouse, which took most of the day but is up now and looks pretty good.

While they did that, other people were busy going back and forth picking up truckloads of mulch and spreading it out around the beds for the walkways. This really makes the garden look so much fuller and more complete.

The marigold trench was also finished today, and we made holes around the perimeter for sunflowers. The marigolds and sunflowers will form a nice natural boundary for the garden, in addition to attracting bees and keeping rabbits away from the crops. Some people started planning out the beds to figure out what plants will go where. They came up with a plan that will combine the right plants to make the most of the space in the beds, utilizing both square foot gardening and row gardening.

Two members from the group did a special video introduction about the garden that will be shown to the school as part of the morning announcements. This will hopefully make the students aware of what is going on in their schoolyard before they actually get the chance to come out and take part in it for themselves.

In other news... Lakewood Elementary School highlighted the project on their homepage. You can see it on their website here.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

We're ready for crops and kids

Today consisted of mixing soil with compost and sand and then laying it in the beds. We also built the bed for the herb garden and surrounded the butterfly garden with rocks.

We also built a compost bin so we can get the composting process started. Right now all we have in there is the grass that we dug up to make the beds, but soon we will start collecting food scraps from the cafeteria.

At the end of the day today we had all the beds and most of the marigold trench filled with soil. Tomorrow we'll have to finish the trench and build the greenhouse. Since the greenhouse came in a decomposing box with mostly decomposed directions, the assembly could be an interesting

It's so nice to see our hard work finally starting to look like a garden!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Greenhouse, Manure, and Soil...oh my!

Today was a certainly a day for deliveries. As one group of people left with the truck to pick up a (free) greenhouse, the rest stayed back and put some finishing touches on the bed frames. When the greenhouse arrived, another group of people left to pick up a truckload of manure. The manure was donated and will really help enrich the soil, so we're grateful for that. We spread the manure around so each bed has about 2-3 inches of manure at the bottom. This will help the roots pick up the nutrients from the soil once we get them planted. At the end of the day some people left in the truck to get the soil, so we will have that to start with tomorrow morning. We were hoping to have the soil this morning, but we're prepared for minor setbacks and our schedule is flexible, so all is well. And hey, we got a free greenhouse.

We also had some mushroom compost, rakes, hand trowels, a hoe, a wheelbarrow, and more wood delivered today! It was quite an exciting day for acquiring supplies, that's for sure.

We were also able to get the herb garden and butterfly garden started today. We dug the sod up around the area where it will be so we'll build a frame for that soon and get it in place. The butterfly garden will be surrounded by stones instead of being a raised bed and it will include a butterfly bush and a crepe myrtle tree.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Sweetwater Organic Farm

Today was a longer and tiring day. We took a day off from working at the elementary school and instead volunteered at Sweetwater Organic Farm in Tampa. We helped them out with weeding and planting lettuce, I think they were happy to have so many hands helping. We worked for a good chunk of time, starting around 9 and ending around 12:15, so we were able to get a decent amount done for them. In exchange for our work they donated a truckload of composted soil, which will be so helpful to the garden. Thanks, Sweetwater!

On Monday we'll be picking up the soil and laying it in the beds.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Week 1...

Hello! Thanks for visiting the blog for The Edible Schoolyard project. Currently this project is being done as a Winter Term project for Eckerd College. At the end of January it will transition to being an independent study for the spring semester. It currently involves a group of 14 Eckerd undergrads and Professor Kip Curtis, Environmental Studies professor at Eckerd.

We have just completed our first week of work on the garden. This involved plotting out where the raised beds would go, removing the turf under the locations where we would placing our beds, cutting and constructing the raised bed structures out of 2x10s, and setting them in place.  We also dug a pretty heathy marigold trench, where 111 marigolds will be planted next Wednesday.  Production is going pretty smoothly so far, and by Monday we should have soil, compost and manure to mix together and place in the beds. After the soil is in place we'll be ready to bring the elementary school students into the project, which is very exciting since they are the reason for the whole project. Everyone is very excited right now and eager to get started in the planting process with the kids. We are already able to see progress in our work and this will only get more exciting once the garden has been constructed and we start to see crops growing!

This is where we ended today.  All of the boxes are assembled and placed.  The oblique boxes on the left need a few adjustments, the rectangular ones on the right are ready for soil.  Two piles in the near ground.  The closest is the beginning of our compost pile.  We'll fence it in soon.  Behind it is a pile of concrete rubble found under the turf.  Probably pieces of the former school.  We're going to use them in the herb garden somehow.