Monday, April 20, 2009

Work In The Garden

Quick update. I met with a group of young gardeners in March and we discussed what we wanted to plant. There was quite a wide variety of suggestions from the kids ranging from fruits and berries to vegetables. It was raining heavily that day, and unfortunately, we've had a lot of rain and cold weather since then. Two of the workdays we had scheduled in March were rained out, but we did manage to work on Saturday, April 4. Sara and Melanie, along with club member, Earon, spread mulch under the tree and volunteers, Frank and Ray, worked in the garden and on the grounds of the Club. Thanks to them. Also, thanks to the volunteer who plowed the whole garden for us. I don't know his name, but his work is really appreciated. I know the kids have been anxious to get in the garden and finally last Friday we were able to get started.

Alexiyana is serious about digging out wild onions.
Jacob looks out over the garden and Alexiyana is still digging out weeds. The kids did a great job lining the paths with cardboard and spreading bark mulch on top to keep the weeds down. These paths also define the beds the kids will be planting.

Orin is showing employee, Alycia, one of many worms he and other club members, Jacob, Manuel, Saul, Ana, and Antonio dug from the mulch pile. There are lots of worms and the kids will be learning about their importance to the soil.


Spreading mulch under the tree.
The following young men started an herb garden on Friday. Great work from Jacob, R.J., Manuel, Antonio, Emiliano, Orin and Saul. They planted cilantro, parsley, rosemary, sage, mint, and bee balm. It was great sensory lesson for them as they discovered the distinct scent of the different herbs. I'm sorry I don't have pictures of all the kids who worked to pull weeds and work on the paths, but all who participate in this project will be recognized at some point. They all did a great job! We'll soon be planting summer vegetables.

Best kid joke of the day:
"Why did Santa Clause have 3 garden plots? Because he wanted to ho, ho, ho."
(I can't remember who told this, either Manuel or Antonio, but I'm sure whoever it was will take credit.)

Best kid quote of the day, because it was so honest and heartfelt:
Emiliano on a worm. "I want him to have a good life so I'm going to put him back in the mulch."

Monday, March 9, 2009

Early Progress

Thanks to the work of a couple of volunteers, the Harvest Project is off to a good start. The picture below shows half of the garden has been tilled. If you look closely, you can see piles of mulch spread on the other half ready to be worked into the soil. According to those who have been spreading the mulch, it is full of worms. Great for the soil! The mulch pile is much smaller. We have our first official volunteer workday planned for Saturday, March 14, at 10:00. Hopefully the rest of the mulch will be spread on the garden and around the big shade tree at the corner of the garden.

We have volunteers who are bringing chainsaws on Saturday. The logs in the picture below will be cut to make benches and stools to create an outdoor classroom for the young gardeners.

Other tasks will include weeding, building a compost bin, marking garden plots and paths through the garden and general clean-up of the area.

Bring shovels, rakes, hoes, hand tools … and we are always looking for donated plants, seeds, fruit trees (Blueberries, Grapes, Blackberries,Raspberries).

Join us Saturday and help our garden grow.

Friday, January 30, 2009

First Meeting, January 29, 2009

I received this email from Melanie Jones at the Boy's and Girl's Club this morning. Looks like the gardeners are off to a good start!

Sara Harris held the first official meeting of our Harvest Project on Thursday 1/29. Our gardeners this year will be our 5th grade members -- an intelliegent and curious group of kids! The project will also be open to members who have a love for gardening and an interest in learning more about nutrition, growing, and harvesting. Sara gave each gardener a journal for planning the garden's design and choosing their favorite fruits and vegetables to grow. She also showed the group a sample of produce that they could grow to help them plan their crops. Here are a few photographs from yesterday's meeting.

I will start seed this weekend for lettuce and cabbage and the seedlings should be ready to transplant by March 15. Looks like a couple of blueberry bushes might also be wanted in the garden. Now is a good time to plant and the garden stores have a good supply. For proper pollination, we will need to plant 2 bushes. We can also plan to plant strawberries by mid-spring.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Harvest Project Boy's and Girl's Club

The Harvest Project at the Boy's and Girl's Club is a program aimed at getting children involved in gardening. The goal of the project is to involve a group of 10 - 12 children. They will be divided into smaller groups of 3 -4, depending on the number of participants. We hope to have 1 adult volunteer to supervise each group. The kids in each group will choose what they want to plant, what they want to do with their produce, flowers, herbs, etc., and be responsible for weeding, watering, and harvesting. The local 4-H extension agent is also going to be involved. This is what the plot looks like today, January 26. I know by spring it will look much different.

Because the plot is very large, we are going to divide it into smaller areas that will be manageable for the kids. Depending on the number of kids, there will probably be 4 or 5 individual plots. Not sure of the size yet, but maybe 15x15. The remainder of the garden will be planted in corn, beans, okra and melons. Our target date is March 15 to plant spring vegetables such as peas, lettuce, beets, carrots, and cabbage.

This a large pile of mulch that needs to be spread on the garden. I think it's much too big for the kids to handle, so hopefully when the garden is plowed this can also be spread. My goal is to make this an organic garden. We will not be using pesticides, herbicides or any chemical fertilizer. I've been an organic gardener for many years and have had good success.
These are just some of my initial thoughts on the garden. Much more will follow as we begin with the kids. Our first day in the garden will be February 23.