Saturday, April 10, 2010
The Cabbage Patch Kids
The first harvest on it's way to the kitchen, and the harvesters!
UPDATE: In all we harvested 200+ lbs of cabbage, 50 lbs. of potatoes, and 100 yellow onions from the Chee Dodge garden this year. Not bad for a garden I left largely unattended that summer. The harvested vegetables played a role in over 10 school lunches for 410 students, with the highlight being a cabbage stew that used all the potatoes and onions, and helped secure a $40,000 grant for health initiatives at our school, some which will go to expanding and funding the garden well beyond the confines of my limited pocketbook. Some of the cleaned cabbage heads weighed well over 10 lbs. We also made the front page of the local newspaper, and prompted several PTA's at other schools to ask their principals why they didn't have a garden.
Don't tell the janitor!
The original post follows:
Ms. Witt's little gardeners getting the mulch just rightAfter spending nearly two weeks administering a grueling standardized test to 9 year olds, when it was done last Friday I spent the day with my second graders and the third grade as they planted the first 2010 crops in our school garden. I've grown squash, corn, and tomatoes randomly with classes in the past, but this year, with the addition of new and energetic staff at the school, the Chee Dodge Nanise Garden may finally reach towards it's potential. We have a fenced acre of land, easy access to well water, and a covered carport that will transform soon into the Outdoor Classroom. A PNM grant in 2005 paid for fencing the 1 acre garden, though the main fence isn't yet rabbit-proof.
They even made their own beds
The second graders had prepared their onions by soaking them overnight in water. They felt familiar and a little let down when the onions they were promised didn't quite live up to the similar and familiar Amaryllis bulb I revealed early this winter and now grows tall in classroom science lab. With some technical difficulty (scissors) they prepared their 4 x3 array to guide their planting of the red, yellow, and white onions.
204 'precisely' placed onion sets
The third graders planted 60+ Bonnie '50 pound' cabbage starts that are sent to all third graders in this school district. They arrived at the school unannounced and a couple weeks too early for planting (it dropped below 12 degrees on two nights since). I kept them at my house until the weather was right, and the testing over, before we planted them. We prepared the 25' beds (one for each of the 4 classes) by tilling the soil and forming a wind barrier on one side of the row. Then I tilled the bed again and the students excavated a long trench that we filled with a little manure and several bags of bagged top soil. The students planted their starts and then the drip hose was laid alongside the stems and covered with the sandy topsoil. We mulched it all with hay (soon to be covered with compost and finally topped with straw).