Edible Peace Patch Blogs

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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.