Friday, December 3, 2010

The School Garden Project

Rayan looks a little lonely standing there at the end of these empty garden beds. Our school garden used to be one large single plot. This past summer some men built these much mroe attractive beds for us but they filled it with scrap dirt that was full of glass from broken bottles! ARGH! Juan, Angelica and students from my class dug in the dirt and found two 5 gallon buckets worth of glass, metal, parts of shoes, plastic, food wrappers, and nails. Finally it was clean enough to let the other special education children come help plant. Just before we planted, our faithful forever friend, Pandora Canton, donated 10 bags of organic compost. (Hooray!). That made our soil much richer.

Each of the special ed. classes planted one of the three beds. This is SPED3 planting beans. Everyone had a hand in it. They are super planters...not so great at weeding (smile) but they enjoy feeling the soil, digging and being a part of the project.

SPED 2 planted two kinds of tomatoes. My class turned the last bed into a "salad garden" with various kinds of lettuce, peppers, radishes, carrots, cilantro, and a little bit of parsley.

We water the garden almost everyday when the sun is starting to set and making long shadows. Here are Hipolito, Rayan, Sulmi, and Kristel clowning around after watering. The beans are flowering now, some of the tomatoes are also. We transplanted the lettuce to give it room to grow into nice sized heads. God seeded some calaloo from a plant we had last year that seems to keep speading seeds even though the plant has been gone since September.
We also found space to grow a papaya, about 8 plantains, some cucumber, thyme, oregano and chaya.

Alejandro looks tough but he is really a nice boy. He works very hard. Anytime I ask him to work in the garden he is happy to do it. One day he and Misael and I were moving some boulders and other things left over from the men who made the new beds, and all three of us were sweating buckets. We were making great progress and we could see how the space behind the tree looked much better, but the fence started to fall over. The thin tree is basically the fence post on the end and it is not straight. Alejandro took some of the tomato stakes and made a brace. He was so proud of himself for thinking of that solution.
This confidence carried him as he did some more heavy work all the while saying, "I love work. I love working in the garden." Wonderful! If learning to love working hard and feeling proud of what he did is a lesson Alejandro learns from our garden project, it is worth every bead of sweat.

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