Edible Peace Patch Blogs

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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Where are all the Garden Bugs?!

In one of the lessons while working in the Edible Peace Patch we decided to focus on bugs that can be found in the garden! We learned that there are helpful insects and also harmful insects that live in our garden. So for this lesson we decided to go searching for them! We found a wide variety of different insects. These ranged from worms, spiders, rolly pollies, and lizards!
Overall we had a great time dedicating a whole lesson to just bugs! Now we know which bugs are pests and which ones are the best! (for the garden in this case)

Blog post by: Bella Wong

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Productivity is Blossoming!

Within a few weeks of the gardening period, we have seen some rewarding changes in the garden! Many of the crops have turned out well and are growing abundantly. Such as our lovely bell peppers and okra.

Along with these crops, the kale plant seemed to be the crowd pleaser for many of the kids! Besides the cool, intricate, ruffle designs of the leaves, the thing that seemed to get the kids really excited about eating kale is due to the fact that they are very nutritious! We all took a taste test of this unique looking plant. 

With change and productivity sprouting in the garden, the kids and volunteers have felt even more encouraged to work harder to maintain the garden and reap the benefits of a successful garden through great teamwork! There is still many things to do towards creating our ideal garden and with our teamwork, we are surely going to get there!
Children weeding
Volunteers watering

Blog post by: Bella Wong

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Lakewood Elementary Service Day!


Join us in spending the morning in our Lakewood Elementary schoolyard garden. The Junior League of St. Pete will be lending a big helping hand for this Service Day!
Saturday November 15th 2014 9AM-1PM
We take this time to catch up on garden maintenance and to finish larger projects so that our gardens are ready for the students who come out weekly to learn and explore.
Morning refreshments are provided.
Bring along your family, friends, and your gardening tools!
p.s. Bring along your compost-ables to donate to our compost bins(veggie and fruit scraps, oak leaves, coffee grounds, tea bags, BUT NO MEAT or DAIRY, please)!
Visit peacepatch.org for more info about our project.
Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
Keep an eye out for the addition of November and December service days!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Growth & Good Times

The garden here at Fairmount Park has really started to blossom. Some okra and some peppers have been coming along quite nicely.

The banana plants are continuing to grow steadily. As well as everything planted so far in the garden.

The garden is not full yet, but with the additional of more seeds, that would have been planted last week if not for the stormy weather, it should looking even more lively soon.

Today, we did the lesson about bugs in the garden. Just about every kid was happy to get there hands dirty to search for insects. With a group effort we had caught multiple centipedes and spiders along with some other insects. We even caught a lizard! Not really a bug, but still brought enjoyment to both us volunteers and students.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The look on their faces

Unfortunately, the kids were not able to make it out to the garden yesterday at Fairmount Park Elementary School due to the rain. Last week was a great time though, for both me and the children.
I have never worked directly with young ages before this, so I didn't know what to expect when I arrived at the school. I was given a small group that I toured the garden with. We (yes, me too) learned about how plants grew, and where things were in the garden.
Then, we came across the kale bed which was undoubtedly everyone's favorite part of the garden. Interested and anxious, the kids asked me if this weird looking cabbage was okay to eat. I nodded and then continued to split a leaf of kale into enough slices for everyone. To my surprise, the entire group agreed that they liked the strong tasting green. It was such surprise because this was also my first time trying kale, and I didn't like it!
This moment will always stick with me. The excitement and happiness that resulted from something as simple as eating kale, are expressions that I have never seen so pure before. I look forward to teaching other kids about all the different eatable vegetables, and the wonders that come along with them.

Friday, April 11, 2014

And the growing continues!

The rains over the weekend seriously helped our plants over at the garden and the outburst of growth, flowering, and bugs created excitement for the children that visited us.  We spotted a couple ladybugs nestled in the purple bok choy and a little worm hanging out in the damp soil.

This weeks lesson was all about the water cycle!

After explaining water's journey around the world I pulled the garden hose over to the tomato and pepper bed and gave it a good watering, allowing the children to touch the water, feel the wet leaves, and put their hands in the damp soil.  This lesson was a very tactile experience which I believe helps children learn and remember the information.

And this week's winning plant is...

The tomato plant!
Our companions are growing so well together and I was amazed at how beautiful the tomato plants were looking.  The salad greens and kale are looking quite delicious as well.  I was excited to see that the bed containing the three sisters plants (corn, beans, and squash) were starting to take off as well.

Till next time!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Join our Earth Day Workday!

The Edible Peace Patch Project
invites you to join our
Earth Day Garden Workday
Saturday, April 19th
9 am - 1 pm

We'll be meeting at Campbell Park Elementary, 
1051 7th Avenue South, St. Pete, 33705

Morning refreshments will be provided.
Bring along your family and your gardening tools!

See you there!
Photo of mushroom at Campbell Park Elementary Peace Patch by Noah Schlager

Friday, April 4, 2014

Pollinator like bees are not only essential for plants, but also for us!

Did you know?…

Albert Einstein was once quoted as saying, "If bees disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would have only four years of life left". 

So, although bees can be scary sometimes and some of us have even been stung, they serve a very important role in growing our garden!

Busy Bees at Fairmont Park Elementary

Today at Fairmont Park Elementary, second and fifth graders learned about the process of pollination and bees within their garden.  The students were quick to point out the newly blossomed squash flower and all noticed that bees played a huge part in creating the plants that feed us.  Not only are bees great for making honey we eat, but fruits and vegetables too!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

This lesson came just in time...

Our lesson  this week couldn't have come at a better time.  We were telling the children about pollination!

The class props were set up for us already. Yellow, powdery pollen from the oak trees covered the ground and the cucumber seedlings were forming soft, orange flowers.  A perfect situation to present the life cycle of flowering plants and tie together everything the children have learned from seed, plant, fruit, and flower.

The curiosity and intelligence of the children always makes me excited and keeps me motivated to continue the lesson for next week.  The kindergarteners are amazed by the pink roots of the swiss chard, the purple leaves of the bok choy, and the fact that broccoli seedlings don't look anything like miniature trees they're used to.  The third graders are understanding the concept of composting and how human food waste can go into producing thriving fruits and vegetables for us to eat.  The learning experience for the children is the most rewarding experience that comes from teaching.

As far as the plants are concerned, the garden at Fairmount Park Elementary is doing great.  The purple bok choy is still one of the greatest looking plants with the green and red leaf lettuce coming in at a close second.  The tomatoes and green bell pepper plants are companions in a bed and are really growing up well.  As I said earlier, the cucumbers are beginning to flower and kale is popping up in almost every bed we've got.  Kelly and I gave the entire garden two good waterings and, being a scorching hot day, they needed it.

Till next time!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Pull a weed, then learn its parts!

Weeds had their purpose this week...as examples for the lesson on parts of the plant.
Eager 4th graders present a nice variety...
Team-watering some thirsty baby greens...
All the young veggies are coming along nicely at Fairmont Park, but today's prize goes to purple 
bok choy! Isn't it beautiful?

Friday, February 28, 2014

Seed magic with 4th graders!

While waiting for our 4th grade class to join us, we muscled out some leveling of the walkways between the beds.
                      After introductions, we divvied up tasks and taught the energetic crew about the 
                                                                      magic of seeds! 

The kids were eager to help and full of questions! The boys were in charge of raking and smoothing the top soil and planting chive, beet, and squash seeds...

...while the girls helped select and lay bamboo borders and plant sunflower seeds at the heart of the peace sign.  Almost everyone participated in a garden favorite...watering! 

Two boys enjoyed some garden discussion with Pab before calling it a great day in the Peace Patch! :-)

Thursday, February 27, 2014

First Day Planting the Garden- Fruits and Vegetables Galore!

Wednesday proved to be a wonderful day to introduce the kids at Fairmont Park to their new garden, teach them about seeds, and get over 100 baby plants in the peace sign-shaped garden bed! The children each got to plant their own plant and got a lot accomplished on their first day in the garden; we planted all kinds of fruits and vegetables, such as tomato, broccoli, lettuce, bok choi, kale, cabbage, cucumber, green pepper, jalepeno peppers, kohlrabi, and Swiss chard.

Brand new plants started in the peace-sign!

The entire day was full of excitement, fun, and learning. We learned all about seeds - where they come from and how they grow, and what things they need to grow best, such as lots of water, sunshine, and nutrients from the dirt. We discussed the special soil that was created in the garden beds just for the baby plants we were going to plant together, and how it was better for the babies because it held more nutrients to help them grow big and produce more vegetables and fruits. 

Tomato plants at the top of the peace-sign.

All afternoon we had different classes visiting their new garden, and each child got to plant their very own plant. Every student was eager to grab a shovel and ready the ground for their starter plant, and they got even more excited at the prospect of getting to watch it grow as the year progressed. 

Bok Choi, Cabbage, Lettuce, Swiss Chard, and Greens.

The third graders were especially engaged and involved, quickly getting their plants in the ground and asking for more to plant! They planted most of the Bok Choi, all of the greens and lettuce, and the cabbage (pictured above). They are learning all about plants in the classroom and were able to apply their recently acquired classroom knowledge to a real-life experience on the school grounds. They loved it! Watching them flourish, grow, and learn in this environment was spectacularly inspiring, to say the least. 

Swiss chard and lettuce bed- Planted closer to the tree to provide more shade.

Another great moment to witness with the children was when they found that the roots of the Swiss chard were pink and red! They were astounded that they were such a bright color and showed them off to all who were around. We planted the lettuce, kohlrabi, and chard closer to the oak tree because leaf lettuce like less sun than other plants and will fare better during the summer. 

Up-close view of the lettuce bed.

We also attempted to group together alike plants, or at least the plants that had similar water or sunlight needs. This makes it easier to maintain the garden and provides them with optimal conditions. Some plants like being next to each other more than others, and they are called companion plants. Plants like peppers and tomatoes form a symbiotic relationship and benefit from one another, so we placed tomatoes in between our green peppers, and jalapeno peppers next to the other tomatoes. 

Stay tuned to watch how the garden (and the children) grow! 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Talk about hard work!

                I am a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society at St. Petersburg College and when I first heard about Edible Peace Patch, I though it was an awesome idea and could not wait to start! I had finally gotten my schedule to work at Fairmont Park Elementary School, I was excited, but at the same time anxious. In the email it was saying how we will be working with different kids and showing them the ropes of growing and taking care of a garden. I for one have never had a garden, let a long built one...literally, but was up for the challenge.  The people (Allison and Noah) I worked with were pretty cool and excited about the project also, but no one was more excited then the teacher who worked there. She was excited to have a garden in her "backyard".

On Friday we helped move the mulch from the front of the school to a pile near the garden for the next group coming the next day. It didn't seem to be to bad of a job.... until we saw that we only had one wheel barrel and no pitch forks.  Hey! where there is a "wheel" there is a way, so we toughed it out, used shovels, took turns taking the barrel back and forward and made a dent in the pile of mulch. It was hard work, but needless to say, we got a good upper-body workout in. We knew that at the end it will all be for a good cause, so we it up. While checking out, I even got the chance of meeting an instructor from the University of South Florida and witnessed to a young student about continuing his studies, going to college and helping his community.

Monday, January 27, 2014

We have come so far, but still have a little way to go!

We are so close to lucky garden number 7!  This previous Saturday was the first step to creating this peaceful place for students at Fairmont Park Elementary to learn about the wonder of growing food!

The Peace Patch teamed up with USFSP Garden Club and Everyone's Education Club to bring this amenity to the Fairmont Park kids and community.  We could not have been happier with the dedication and turnout for this massive garden installation.

Although we are not quite finished yet, we got a really long way.  Sometimes you just have to aim high, get as far as you can and then make a plan to keep moving.  Thank you to all of our volunteers who help this whole project keep moving.