Sunday, May 16, 2010
We have heard that tomatoes are not the best crop for the hot Florida sun. The word on street is that cherry tomatoes are your best option. But Amy planted some variety of large tomato on her balcony and transplanted it here in February or March and now, hanging almost ripe on the vine, is the largest tomato I have seen yet. And behind it and around it are a dozen more ready to ripen and red soon, too. We will have a bountiful harvest of tomatoes in two or three weeks before the hot summer sun begins to burn out the plants.
There were even radished left over from the radish bed we harvest. And beans to harvest and corn on the cob and the stem. The zucchini are works of art and the okra flower, the first of many ready to bloom, composes a delightful contrast in the Sunday morning light.
We plan to offer the rest of the harvest for sale from behind the school. If it is within school policy. Otherwise, we'll set up a stand somewhere. There will be a regular harvest for several weeks.
Friday, May 14, 2010
I began participating in this project in January of 2009, when it was still mostly just an idea in Professor Curtis' mind. A dozen or so of my classmates at Eckerd began volunteering with the project, not really sure what would come of it. Now, almost a year and a half later I find myself involved in a successful, revolutionary project that I know will only continue to grow and solidify. I feel very fortunate that I've had the opportunity to not only participate in this project, but to watch it grow from idea to success.
We are in the middle of a food revolution in America, and I think that it is projects like this that are going to produce substantial and effective change in the future. More and more people are becoming aware and concerned with where their food comes from and the garden project at Lakewood addresses that issue while putting it in a learning environment for elementary school students, college students, and the surrounding community. This is a mutual learning experience, my classmates and I have learned so much from teaching these Lakewood students that can't be learned in a classroom.
Although I'm sad to have to say goodbye to this project I feel extremely fortunate to have been a part of it and the events tonight at the Harvest Festival reiterated to me how important of a project this is.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Brilliant Wednesday morning in the garden, cannot believe the end of the year is coming so quickly. I have so looked forward to these quiet mid week mornings, where this beautiful growing space has provided a perfect platform for easy conversation and playing in the dirt.
Alex and I spent the morning weeding and watering and trying to combat the strange fungus that has overtaken the zuchinni leaves. We applied a diluted milk solution to the leaves, as suggested by Dylan, so hopefully we should see an improvement
We had some unexpected visitors from the 4th grade classes towards the end of our shift, who were sent to observe and interpret their findings through writing and drawing. It made my day to be surrounded by these young ones, so full of questions and excitement!
It seems things are coming together for the Harvest Fest tomorrow, grocery shopping has been done and the zucchini bread is going in the oven!
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Today in the garden we witnessed a tremendous feat! With our second grade class we harvested some of the beans that have grown tremendously fast over the last few weeks. The numbers kept piling up and at the count we almost picked a hundred beans!!! If today was not already successful enough, we played a final match of the Bee game. The bee game, originally organized by fellow edible schoolyarders is a garden favorite. Along with tomato tomato cucumber, this game provides an educational background while providing an outlet to the extremely high amounts of energy our students have. The bee game consists of fast, witty and smart bees whose goal once let out to run chase after the mighty flowers who try to outlast and outsmart these bees in order to make it from their home base across the PE field. Pollination is key in our garden and it is easily understood through a fun activity.
Besides having a great last day with our students, a ton of weeding was accomplished to pull the sedge out of the mulch. Keeping the sedge out of the mulch will only add to the natural beauty of the garden for Thursday's Harvest Festival!
Monday, May 10, 2010
Today was a marvelous day! Dragonflies were busy gathering nutrients and helping the garden bloom under the sun's shining rays. Unfortunately, it was the last day for mondays kindergarden and second graders class. The second graders ran through the open field screaming and laughing as they played the game pollinator. Likewise, the kindergarden class chased each other around in a game of cucumber, tomato, which is essentially duck duck goose. In both classes, we discussed what we learned over the school year and what was some of the kids favorite things were about the garden. It is apparent that the some of the kids favorite parts were pineapples, aloe, playing games, tasting the vegetables, watering the plants and planting the seeds. Also many of the kids stated that they learned it takes water, sunlight, bugs, and soil to create a garden. They really seemed to have enjoyed this experience and have gained a lot of knowledge regarding how to grow a successful garden. One kid even stated that it feels good to be in touch with the earth and give back to it, which was really cool to hear from young generations. All and all, the volunteers and the children had an amazing semester together. The best part was being able to plant a single seed with the kids and watch it grow over time into a beautiful plant. The spirits of the kids made the garden grow extra strong and it will be a privilege to enjoy the wonderful food that we grew at Thursdays Harvest Festival!!
Thursday, May 6, 2010
With the exception of mystery bed 5, the majority of the garden inhabitants are thriving. We'll even have some sunflowers blooming in a few days. During the early afternoon shift we watered and weeded with Ms. Burke's enthusiastic class. We had a weed pulling contest that helped to snuff out the sedge population growing on the west side of the garden, their help was much appreciated.
We are nearing the end of the line for the garden this year and I am turning into a squishy sentimental slug! Today was oppressively hot and humid, but I couldn't have been happier to be pulling weeds in the Edible Peace Patch. For two spring semesters I have participated in this fledgling project and I am sad to see my time come to end. Through this endeavor I have developed a love for teaching and gardening that will last for many years. I am so thankful to the Lakewood administration, Professor Curtis, Peggy McCabe, and all the Eckerd folk for making this an incredibly fun and worthwhile experience. Enough mush though, let's get psyched to eat some veggies!
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Monday, May 3, 2010
The early afternoon shift was visited by the kindergarteners, who played “the bee game,” a game to help students learn about pollinators. By the end, the children were sweaty and tired, but walked back into their classroom with smiling faces. The first graders that came out during the early afternoon took part in a plant scavenger hunt in order to help identify the vegetables in their final, harvested form.
The late-afternoon team got to see Ms. Lee’s 1st graders, who hadn’t been out to the edible peace patch for a whole week, drew pictures of their favorite garden scenes to be used as decorations for the Harvest Festival. Mrs. Robinson’s 1st grade class helped the afternoon shift weed out the persistent witch grass between and around some of the beds. They, too, seemed to enjoy themselves, even in the scorching mid-day heat.
Some of today’s classes even had the opportunity to taste some of the large, freshly-picked cucumbers. Much of the veggies in the garden are nearly begging to be pulled from their beds and the peace patch has proved the perfect environment for growing massive zucchinis, big, long cucumbers, copious quantities of greens such as kale and collards, bushes upon bushes of beans, succulent squash, climbing legumes supported by corn, red radishes, carrots, a variety of herbs and decorated with colorful wild flowers, marigolds and sunflower towers.