Hay isn’t just for horses . . .

It’s for Harvest Festivals and mulching!

Not just decor anymore! The Bales of Straw that we used in the Pumpkin Patch at the Harvest Festival were put to work in the Garden!

Ms. Davis brought her 1st Graders out to spread straw that will help keep weeds and mud at bay! They also broke into small groups and watered their seedlings, helped harvest sugar snap peas, raked the Decomposed Granite pathways and did a great garden clean up! Was it the wind? We don’t know but there was a lot of litter in the garden and in the Habitat Garden! Not to worry- these 1st Graders brought their A Games to the task and de-littered the two spaces! Great job guys!

Mr. Goul’s classes are well known for their excellent work in the garden and this Friday was no exception! They spread two more bales of Straw, added new bedding in the run and coop, harvested peppers and cleared the tomato plants from the raised beds. They also turned straw into the soil and removed the (modified version of Ollas) watering system from the former tomato beds then cleaned and stacked the pots for use next season. They learned about transplanting and began the big job of moving a root bound Washington Navel from a wine barrel to its new home in the citrus grove. They were surprised to see crowded the roots of the Orange tree were- as they carefully troweled around them! They also noticed how the wood slats in the wine barrels were shrinking which led into a conversation about how the wine (liquid) plays a structural support roll in keeping the barrels from leaking by keeping them swollen from the inside! (none of them were familiar with Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner- http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/17325 – but sure those boards did shrink!)

While all of this was happening another group attacked some sneaky weeds and started a garden waste pile. We ran out of time but Stay tuned 5th graders… Operation-Save-the-Navel will wrap up this coming Friday!

Hey Mr. Burkhouse do you remember when we added the two stock troughs to the Garden in Fall of 2012? I sure Do!!! We filled those troughs using the “Lasagne Method” and stacked layers of branches, cardboard lunch trays, straw, green garden waste, manure, paper, and dirt. Fast forward two years to Fall of 2014 ….and the soil level had dropped by about 8″!!! What was happening in there? We had to find out and as luck would have it- Mr. Burkhouse was on the schedule to witness the results! His students worked fast to clear and prep some new homes for the Boysenberries currently planted there and got to work transplanting them. After the plants were removed we dug into the “Lasagne” and found almost ZERO evidence of the layers of various organic material and in their place found dark, rich garden soil!!! To compare the rate of decomposition we headed over to the new raised beds that were installed (by Doug Robinson) last year. The students rolled up their sleeves and dug in again! We noticed that in the raised beds that we filled last May & June using the same method there was still a layer of solid branches and logs at the bottom but that most of the cardboard had already broken down! In our haste to fill the beds last year we overlooked some packing tape that came with the moving boxes we used in our cardboard layer and guess what? The packing tape was still intact…. noted!

This seems like a good time to give another round of thanks!! First to Doug Robinson for his major contributions to the garden! Did you know he built the Chicken Run too?! The raised wooden beds nearly doubled our planting space and the chickens have been a huge success with the Students. These Hens may seem like your average Chickens but they inspire curiosity and learning about food systems in a way that not every elementary school child gets to experience; live action, hands on, SCIENCE!! So…a big thank you Doug for your help in getting us here! Second to all of you who have taken a caterpillar from the Garden Wish list and brought those much needed items out to the Garden- Thank You! We had a Surprise visitor on Friday- Coach Moreno’s Mom (who is also a Phoebe Grandparent) came out to say Hi and to donate a very nice 100′ Hose and a new rake! The Phoebe Garden wouldn’t be the great place that is is without your support and we Thank You!!

Garden Side Note! We are looking to expand our green it like we mean it efforts out here and get working on a school wide waste reduction plan…Phase One- Compost!
Is there an interested Parent/Parents that would like to take on the Greatly rewarding task of Compost Coordinator? If so please get in touch! 4phoebegarden@gmail.com

We Plant. We Sow. We Learn. We Grow!