A Structure Emerges….
The next steps were to put together the watering system, cover the paths with mulch, and fill the swale with rocks. Sam’s Dad, Mike, brought three truck loads of mulch from the landfill to cover pathways, and Kindergarteners spread it out. The garden is nearly ready for planting! Next, Ms. Lim’s class is building an entry trellis and a bridge to go over the swale. Stay tuned for more remodel updates!
Middle schoolers from High Tech Middle Media Arts are helping our garden as part of their composting project. First, Mrs. Elliott visited Mr. Garcia’s HTMMA math/science class in November to help Mr. Garcia introduce the project, and taught a class about worm composting. Next, Mr. Garcia set up worm composters in middle school classrooms. In January, Ms. LeFever’s and Mr. Garcia’s 6th and 7th grade math/science students began to clear out our old compost area and build new composers. While one team was working on building the composers, another team was volunteering to help build our garden. Students learned to create a water system, figured out how to put together our new outdoor sink for washing vegetables, and pulled weeds. High Schoolers from the High Tech High Media Arts Environmental Science program visited to take away our surplus dirt for the HTHMA garden, the same garden the kindergarteners had visited at the beginning of the project.
In January, when the soil was soft and wet, a meandering swale was dug into the garden as a water-saving feature. A swale is a rock-lined artificial stream bed that allows water to sink into the soil for the use of native plants.
The garden beds — sturdy metal horse trough planters — and soil were delivered from City Farmer Nursery. Gravel and cement blocks were purchased to provide a base for garden beds, and to provide drainage in the troughs. Brian, Huxley’s dad, picked up a load of beautiful compost from Van Ommering’s Dairy in Lakeside. Garden coordinator, Mrs. Elliott and Ms. Lim and her son, Devon, scavenged bricks and pavers from a construction site. Ms. Kuhl, the Aldous family and Mrs. Elliott brought in stumps for outdoor seating. Everything was ready for construction to begin!
On our final garden work day, volunteers of all ages, from babies to kids to parents, and staff came to help lay gravel and place the troughs on cement blocks, create in-ground garden beds, and build an outdoor classroom and paths out of pavers.
Kindergarten Garden Plans
Ms. Lim led her Kindergarteners in drawing several iterations of their garden plans, and then put them together into a final combined drawing. This drawing was used like a blueprint, so that staff and volunteers would know where to place the garden beds, paths and outdoor classroom during the final garden work day.
Buying our Planters
Following the kindergarteners plan, and we chose and purchased sturdy garden planters and arranged for delivery of rich garden soil from City Farmer Nursery, all paid for with our Whole Foods Foundation grant!
Kindergarten Garden Planners
Ms. Lim’s Kindergarteners were the garden designers. To get ideas, they went on a field trip to the High Tech High Media Arts garden, where they collected ideas. Then they returned to the classroom and sketched their ideas, brainstormed, interviewed teachers about what they wanted in a garden, and drew dream garden plans.
Making a Blank Slate for a New Garden
In the Beginning, there were Weeds…..
Explorer’s Garden is 7 years old and it is showing its age. Last spring, the Whole Foods Foundation awarded our school a $2000 grant to remodel the garden and replace aging garden beds and infrastructure. This fall, the La Jolla Village Garden Club added $600 to the fund, and the hard work began. Follow the blog posts to see our progress from Fall 2014 to Spring 2015, and the people who made a new garden happen.
Fall 2014 — Summer Weeds have taken over! After a work day, it looks a little better….