Welcome! This blog follows the building, cultivating, and harvesting of the Lakewood Elementary schoolyard garden in St. Petersburg, Florida. Since January 2009, the Edible Peace Patch Project has been developing innovative community-oriented food system and nutrition educational programs in south St. Petersburg, Florida. Lakewood Elementary is the 1st school to participate in our Garden Education Program!
Let's Start at the Very Beginning... with Seeds, of Course!
Elena, Alina, and I began this beautiful Tuesday morning with our first kindergarten class of the day in the garden. It was a bit of a crazy start because our students arrive at the beginning of our volunteer shift, but we got everyone together to review the garden basics and talk about seeds. Both the kindergarteners and first graders knew right away everything that seeds need to grow! They eagerly gathered around our outstretched hands to observe and touch some mystery seeds. "That one looks like a butt!" one student exclaimed, upon seeing the dried garbanzo bean. They knew the squash seed right away as well. We certainly have some pumpkin carvers in the bunch! After describing the physical characteristics of different types of seeds, we planted bean seeds in our small groups and took turns very carefully adding a touch of water from the can. One of the girls tried to stop the water from dripping through the hole in the bottom of the cup, but I explained why we should be careful not to drown them in too much water.
After we planted the seeds, the first graders had an excellent time frolicking through the garden. They tasted some little tomatoes and giggled with delight as the rollie pollies tickled their hands. Some even helped us water the beds, eagerly making multiple trips to the bathroom to fill their mini watering cans. After the kids left, we continued with the usual tasks of watering and weeding the beds. The produce looks quite healthy so far! We have huge bunches of lettuce, and the cauliflowers are plumping up nicely. Unfortunately the banana tree doesn't look too great, but with some extra TLC we can hopefully revive it back to health.
Our remaining job was to turn the compost pile, which seems to be transforming into some rich soil. We had some trouble since there were lots of tomato vines on top, but after removing the bigger items we succeeded with the pitch fork and some solid female muscle power. As is always the case with nature, time will bring about change. We can expect some excellent new soil from the process and undoubtedly some delicious fresh produce in the coming weeks!