Edible Peace Patch Blogs

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Friday, February 22, 2013

Holy Carrot!

The day started out a little slow, as our first class did not show up to the garden as planned. We filled the time in with weeding and planning out how our introduction to the Edible Peace Patch would go with the other two classes that were scheduled. Before we knew it a group of rambunctious 1st graders came running up, ready to go. We introduced ourselves and then made an attempt to learn the kids’ names, but we knew that remembering all of them would come with time. They had all been in the garden before, so as we walked them through it they all pretty much new what the plants were.

I found that the kids had less questions about the garden and plants than our group at Maximo, but instead they had endless stories to tell us. As we were trying to explain something to the whole group, there were always at least a couple kids pulling at our shirts to share a personal experience with us- from finding a snake in their flowerbed at home to telling us about their favorite cartoon character, Spongebob, who lives in a pineapple just like the ones we were planting. We found this extremely entertaining, though it may have set back our productivity just a bit.

Earlier in our shift we found that there were two carrots randomly placed in one of the smaller beds that had gotten very large and were ready to pull. At the end of our session with the class, we had them gather around the bed and pull out the carrots themselves and compare these carrots to the ones they eat at home or see in the grocery store. The looks on their faces were priceless. These carrots were covered in dirt, very wide at the top, but short and fat on the bottom. These were not the perfectly sculpted baby carrots they eat at lunchtime, and it was great to hear them talk about how different these were to what they normally see. 

The last class did not show up as well, so we spent that time cleaning up and talking about what worked today and what we will do differently in the future. Can’t wait to start the seed activity next week with the classes!

Colby Hause

Thursday, February 21, 2013


After a stress-filled week going into a peaceful garden is always a nice break. Even if there are other people around you it seems that each person takes the same thing from a garden. That would be personal time to think about what ever is bothering or making them happy. If a student or person of any kind goes into a garden stressed most times they will leave feeling a little better. That is exactly how I felt after leaving the garden today.

At first when the rest of my group and I got to the garden we weren't sure exactly what we were going to do. There was only a short list of tasks and the tasks were not going to take up two hours. Planting beans and watering the beds was all that was required from us today.

Halfway through the shift a group of kids showed up. This was one of the first classes that I had as well as the other girls and it took us by surprise. Talking to these young folk made me really excited about what was going on with this peace patch and what the kids could get out of it.
One of the boys in my group insisted that I call him "Grub" instead of his real name. The first reason he gave me was because he loved looking for the grubs in the garden. Later I learned that he also did not like vegetables at all. He said the only part of the garden he would eat is a grub because he considered himself a carnivore.
Although he told me that he has already worked in a garden I hope that somehow I can show him the beauty and deliciousness of veggies. I know that this garden probably won't be life changing for the children, but at least getting a class of second graders to all appreciate vegetables would be enough for this semester of work to be worth it for me.

Dani Cleary

Monday, February 18, 2013

Happy Presidents Day!

Today is Presidents Day and all of the kids are off from school, so sadly we had no classes to work with. This might have been for the better because there was plenty to do in the garden during our 11:00-1:00 shift. Breege and I started off by redrawing the layout of the garden on the white board, since there were a couple outdated beds. Katy weeded all the beds as we did this, and then together we planted some Nasturtium seeds between groups of plants and at the end of one of the beds. Nasturtium is a brightly colored flower that spreads out as it grows (almost like a vine), and the best part about it is its edible! We finished the day by watering all but one of the beds, which was a much longer process than I thought. I can’t wait for the irrigation system to be up and running!

The only bed we did not water was the “Three Sisters Bed”, simply because it had no plants in it yet. Last week I asked Robin why it was given this name and she answered that it represents corn, beans, and squash as "three sisters" that grow and thrive best when together. This intrigued me, so I did a little more research to learn the story behind this method of planting. 

The Iroquois believe corn, beans and squash are precious gifts from the Great Spirit and that each are watched over by one of three sisters spirits, called the De-o-ha-ko, or “Our Sustainers". Ceremonies are performed during planting season in honor of them and the story of the Three Sisters is passed down from generation to generation. It is amazing how the different plants operate so harmoniously together: the corn provides a natural pole for the beans to climb, the beans fix nitrogen on their roots to provide nutrients for the corn and squash and the vines also stabilize the corn plants, and the squash vines shade the weeds and reduce soil moisture from evaporating. The spines of the squash plants also prevent predators from invading the corn and beans. These three vegetables also compliment each other nutritionally- the corn provides a good supply of carbohydrates, the beans are an excellent source of protein, and the squash is rich in vitamins.

I can’t wait until we start to plant in this bed so we can teach the kids this story and the importance of our connection to the history of the land, despite where we come from or what our background is.