Edible Peace Patch Blogs

Check out our other blogs here: http://peacepatch.org/blogs.htm

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Ta Ta For Now.

Today was our final Wednesday class and my last lesson at the garden today. Walking out into the garden today I stopped to admire all the hard work this year. The tomatoes are almost ripe for harvesting, we have already harvested some eggplant and green peppers, the beets look ready for eating, and the black eyed peas are nearly poking their heads out. It was a great site.
The first class came out a little apprehensive because of the cold, but when we started talking about their favorite parts of the garden the fire behind their eyes lit up. I could not get Jevare to stop talking about watermelon or butterflies. He proceeded to tell me the stages and then started drawing them for me. Destiny wanted to make sure that all of her favorite vegetables were included in her picture, while Miles drew the stages of a plant. Each student had
pulled different subjects we had covered throughout the semester. They were all extremely eager to explain them to us as well. Words that were a struggle for some on their first days at the garden now seemed easier for them to recall. Most of the students know how to make a compost and why it is great for the environment. Almost all of the students can tell me each stage of a butterfly without a struggle. It was pretty awesome.
When the class left we exchanged hugs and good luck for the upcoming exams we all were anticipating. I can't help but feel overwhelming appreciation for this experience. I really look forward to seeing every single student next year.

Monday, December 6, 2010


It has been quite a semester! It was a very blustery, frigid morning as we arrived to the garden this morning! Regardless, our last Monday with the kids were still so excited to be there! I find that it's a nice break from their school life and you can even see the appreciation on their faces. As finals quickly approach, it is refreshing to see a wide, gap-toothed smile and hear laughter!

Today we reviewed our semester's lessons and the intellectual turnout was no less than satisfactory, if not above expectation. We began by handing each kid a blank sheet of paper and their choice of crayon color. We started with the basics, asking what all goes into a garden and with great success, the kid's knowledge flourished as they began to scream that the sun, soil, and water are three basics that help our garden grow! Their drawings began to develop and our questions proceeded. We reviewed the water cycle, metamorphic cycle of a butterfly, and compost. The drawings were really interesting to see. They ranged from the very general cloud with rain to a very specific butterfly cycle with labels and numbers to show the order of the cycle. I think their favorite is the metamorphic cycle of the butterfly because of the game we played with them earlier in the semester! It really stuck and it showed as they shouted the answers! Another favorite was the compost! Though it is a nasty topic, they really enjoy the fact that horse manure helps!
I think our hands-on activities throughout the semester have really made a difference! I could tell just by our minor questions that the kids really enjoyed learning about the garden and what goes into the garden! Our last Monday ended with an epic game of bees and pollinators! To our surprise, the kids were fast! As our blood began pumping, the game got more fun leaving our time with the kids special!

Friday, December 3, 2010


It's cold! And being a native New Yorker does not give you any tougher skin than the Floridians. Even with the cold, there is nothing to fear for our plants right now. I had several teachers asking if the cold was harming them, but as long as we stay above freezing temperatures, our little guys should thrive. Should the time come that the cold is unbearable, I've been stocking up on cotton sheets from Salvation Army to cover up the green guys at a moments notice.

Despite the cold wind, the sun made it all much more bearable. Due to my right-hand-woman being sick today, I took on the garden and the students by myself. The kids were really well behaved and right on board with me. We followed through with our water cycle lesson and also had time to do part of the butterfly lesson because our Friday classes had missed that lesson. They were all smiles today, eager to tell me all about their Thanksgiving feasts as well. We discussed what they ate with their families that can come from the garden and I loved to hear that sweet potatoes, green beans, and squash were some of their favorite foods!

Today I was able to continue mulching throughout the garden (I swear that will never end), weed, clean up the shed, and organize some things. A few weeks ago I had some pre-schoolers venture out into the garden to plant some squash and pumpkin seedlings. Today they came back to check-up on their "babies" and they are doing great!

I love walking into the school and having some of my students wave at me, or say hi, or even ask "whats up in the garden today?". The intrigue and excitement on their faces makes it so worth it. They love to learn and I love to teach!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Rain Game

Today was arguably the coldest day of the semester thus far. At a crisp 55 degrees, we continued the water cycle game today: the kids all gathered together close to represent water molecules in the ocean. One of us represented the sun and stood about 30 feet from the group while the rest of us came by and tapped the kids (the water droplets) on the head signaling them to run to the sun (evaporation). Once the kids have gathered in the sky as clouds (condensation) we tap them on the head again and they run back towards "the ocean" symbolizing rain (precipitation). We tried our best to teach the kids the pronunciation of the words evaporation, condensation, and precipitation- it was really cute listening to them try and sound out each syllable.

We spend the rest of the lesson going through the garden showing them the growing plants. They were very knowledgeable about which vegetables grow above ground and which grow below ground and which bugs were best for the health of garden. Their minds are like little sponges, they enjoy absorbing as much information as possible.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Some housekeeping...

Since the lesson was written about in depth on Monday, I'd like to take a minute and talk about two "housekeeping" things. First off, the harvest festival. Last year I was on the committee that planned the harvest festival, and boy oh boy, it's much easier splitting up the work between four people. Yet, if we get a good RSVP from the Lakewood parents, I'll be extremely excited to be able to pull something like this together. Last year was so much fun, and ifwe can't do something for the parents and kids, I at least want to do something for the kids in the garden. So, at this point, with enough RSVPs we'll be working in conjunction with the campus garden to bring a wonderful harvest festival. There will be dishes from each of the Eckerd students, along with a main course. Hopefully the campus garden pulls through and we have a successful harvest festival. An added benefit of having the harvest festival on campus is to give the Lakewood students an idea of what college is. Hopefully, working closely with them over this semester and in the past, they will want to go to college, want to seek out higher education. I'd be interested to see if any studies have been conducted to see if there is a correlation.

Secondly, the grubs are back. Think about the Lion King, and what Timon and Pumba eat: nice, fat, juicy, grubs. The first time I saw a grub, I immediately knew what it was, just because it looked like something Timon and Pumba would eat. I've done sporadic research on them, and it seems they like to inhabit areas were sedge is growing. Now the battle against sedge is always upon us in the garden, so I've been looking into some alternative treatments. It seems our best bet is to buy nematodes. Yet, after researching nematodes, I've come to learn there are good nematodes and bad nematodes for a garden. The good ones will attack the bugs, but the bad ones will attack the plants (exactly what the grubs are doing, so that would be double duty)! More research will be done, and I will get to the bottom of the proverbial nematode barrel. Until next time.