Today was our first day of this new school year back at the garden! No Swarthmore student had been able to visit the garden in about three weeks, so we went in excited to see the kids, but braced to see beds and berry bushes that would need to be started from scratch again. Surprisingly, that wasn’t the case at all (at least for the raised beds – not so much for the berries). True, the collard greens were all brown and shriveled up, but they had had a good run earlier in the summer. The rest (carrots, peppers) will definitely perk right up with a little more regular watering.
The first face we saw was Ms. Louise’s, but Trey appeared quickly and others followed. We had about 10 kids drop in throughout the day, and there were usually around 6 at any given time. (Though even more showed up at the end for snack – watermelon!) We quickly identified spots that needed attention and got to work. Xavier and Yaeir tackled the tomatoes, which so far are doing great. They’re actually producing so many that the plants have toppled over, but hopefully the wooden creations put together by X & Y act as effective enough props to stop that from happening again. We’ve got plenty of green tomatoes so far, but we want them to make it long enough to turn a lovely red! Speaking of vegetable colors, our eggplants (and we’ve got lots of them, short and fat) are a beautiful deep purple…our only challenge now is getting the kids and adults to eat them! ☺
Watering also got taken care of today, with minimal spray-age (although Javar did get a good shot in at Zach), and a little weeding action going on as well. Handshakes and hugs abounded, and we racked our brains trying to remember names and checking in with everyone after the long summer. And for those of us who didn’t make it to the garden in the morning, the gardening group was also invited to visit Bennett Homes in the afternoon for Community Day aka Fun Day, so four of us went to that as well. It certainly lived up to its name; there were bouncy houses and water games as well as great food and music. It was a great opportunity to socialize more with the residents, and we talked to many of them about coming to work on Saturdays, plus a possible fliering campaign to get the word out. All signs point to us having a productive work day next week, and we’re already looking forward to unearthing the million sweet potatoes that have slowly taken over one side of the garden. (As Jesse announced over the loudspeaker at Fun Day, “Soon the garden will be poppin’!”)
I’ll leave you with this quote by Candy, who today shared with me this realization: “Plants need water, plants need sun, and plants need love!”
Till next week,