Thursday, November 3, 2011

Fall 2011 Update

Just in case you haven't had a chance to spend any time at the garden this fall, here's a quick look at everything that has happened since we came back to school.

Grades 3, 9 and 10 and several parent volunteers built and finished one compost pile and started a new one over the course of the fall.  The ninth and tenth grade Biodynamic Gardening class had the honor of adding the compost preparations to the finished pile to "put it to bed" for the winter.

Third grade has patiently lugged pounds of kitchen and lunch scraps over from the lower and middle schools each week to dump into the kitchen scrap compost bin which was built by Oliver and Nicholas, our 10th grade service project workers, out of stuff lying around the farm - just in time for the first dumping.

Scraps are collected in the bin and periodically added as a layer to the newest compost pile.  Which should be ready to receive the BD preps in spring - right around the time the older pile has become rich, dark, crumbly soil ready for spreading on the spring beds.

Planting and Harvesting
Over the course of the fall we planted carrots, beets, radishes, mustard, collards, chard, lettuce, dill, arugula, spinach, parsley, cilantro, oats, wheat, rye, calendula, larkspur, garlic, oyster mushrooms, pansies and vetch and buckwheat as cover crops.  

In addition to harvesting what we planted above, we also harvested leeks, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, basil, shiitake mushrooms and all sorts of flowers for bouquets.

Tuesday Markets
Every Monday, one of the major tasks that the third graders take on with great vigor is harvesting.  Their work is serious and meaningful as all the food they harvest is cleaned by volunteers and sold at our own farmer's market the next day.  This year our weekly market is being offered both in the morning and in the afternoon at the gazebo in the center of the school.  So far we have had good success, averaging about $100 a month which will go towards seeds and tools as the year progresses.  As people get used to the new location we are sure that more and more people will visit us.  Come check us out!

New Wheelbarrows
One of the bigger ticket items we bought with market money we earned last year was two wheelbarrows.  These are not just any wheelbarrows, but state of the are low riding wheelbarrows with smaller bins and two wheels instead of the usual single wheel.  They are just the right height, hold just the right amount and are just the right level of difficulty to navigate for third graders.  They were assembled by Jake and Oliver with a lot more ease than I ever could have mustered and have been a major asset to our weekly work with the third grade.
In addition to our new wheelbarrows we were also able to purchase several new spade forks, harvest buckets and seeds and bulbs for this fall.  

Flow Form Installation
Last Spring many of our students had the opportunity to help make flow forms from scratch, starting with molds, concrete, and will power they poured, released and finished the basins for three different types of flow form. You can check out the August 5, 2011 posting on Flow Forms to see the kids in action as they made them.  Below are all the bits and pieces of the flow form that will be installed at Emerson Farm.

This fall three of our 10th graders (Jake and Oliver pictured here, Nicholas is helping too, but not pictured) have taken on installing that flow form.  Here you can see them as they begin excavations for the two holding tanks for the bottom of the forms.  

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