Our first Garden Club session was supposed to have taken place March 21. I thought it fitting to gather the students on the first day of spring to start getting them excited about this year's garden. However, Mother Nature had different plans as school was cancelled because of snow. Even now as I sit here writing this blog post snow is falling outside, on April 2! I LOVE snow, I pray for it as soon as the calendar declares it winter. I celebrate the first snowfall with the giddy excitement of a toddler BUT NOT WHEN IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE SPRING!!!! I say you had your chance Mother Nature. Your dropped the the ball when it came to snowfall accumulations this winter so don't try to play catch up now! The crocus and daffodils know that it is supposed to be Spring so you can go away now, I'll happily welcome you back in December.
With that off my chest, I can happily say we finally managed to get the Club together on March 31. We started some seedling inside using the soil block method. We have found this method the easiest, most cost effective, safest for the environment, and to cause the least amount of stress to the plants when the seedlings are transplanted. The only materials needed are soil, seeds, trays (we used recycled produce trays), and the soil block maker.
|Mixing soil with water until it forms a ball when packed together.|
|Push the block maker into the soil to pack it into the chambers.|
|Make sure the chambers are equally filled.|
|Push the top of the handle to release formed blocks into the trays.|
|Students carefully added seeds to the blocks|
|Finished blocks of peppers ready for the heat mat.|
The students always seems to enjoy projects that allow them to get their hands really messy! Who can blame them? Playing in the dirt is fun and getting messy is something a lot of children are told not to do. In Garden Club it's just the opposite. I tell them they aren't doing something right unless they go home messy. :)
|We used the kale seeds we saved from last year's crop.|
|"It feels warm like my bed!"|
|Seed starting rack in the school library. The students can keep an eye on the seedling progress.|
All in all it was a very productive session. The students planted tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, lettuce, kale, basil, brussels sprouts, and broccoli. We have our fingers crossed that we have a good germination rate. Weather permitting we will be direct sowing more greens in the Garden next week.
|Everyone pitched in to help clean up afterwards.|
The last few minutes of the club session we were able to get outside and see some new life springing up in the beds.
|Garlic we planted last fall coming up nicely.|
|Perennial oregano making a comeback.|
|Some volunteers that decided to call the Garden home.|
I have added instructions for how to make soil blocks on my school website if anyone is interested. They are located on the right side of the page. Click here to be redirected to the link.