This summer has been our favorite season at the garden so far. In the past few blog posts, you’ve already seen how many physical growths we’ve been through. We have tons of newly constructed beds, more berry bushes on the way, healthy crops (other than a few pest issues), shipping containers (which have gotten power-washed and varnished), and we just recently got a double barrel composter donated!
In addition to all these developments, we have finally begun doing some of the things we’ve talked about doing for a few years – starting to come up with a curriculum, planning more garden-based learning activities, and just spending more time at the garden with a growing core group of awesome kids. We started our first ever summer camp, which means we’re in the garden three days a week from 11am – 4pm, in addition to regular open gardening hours the times a week. This schedule has given us so much more time to focus on things beyond garden maintenance. We have a lot more opportunity to learn and talk together, to explore why we’re growing what we’re growing, what it means to be healthy, cook some of our harvest, and doing a ton of other activities.
Now in our forth week of camp, we have a steady group of campers ranging from ages two to thirteen. It’s so fun to be around such a group of energetic and creative kids. We’ll let the photos do most of the talking:
Volcanoes– What would happen if the hill next to the garden was a volcano? We talked about the dangers and benefits, shared facts about Pompeii and fertile volcanic ash, and made our own clay models, some complete with surrounding plant life and towns, which we later erupted with baking soda, vinegar, and creative food coloring.
Superhero masks– If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
Cooking– Making bread with zucchini fresh from our garden, with a special addition of chocolate chips!
Body Tracings– We talked about what it means to be healthy- eating well, exercising, being friendly to other people. Then everyone got a big piece of paper to trace their body,on which they drew things they could eat to be healthy in their stomachs, healthy things they could do at their hands and feet, and healthy things they could say or think in their heads.
Getting wet in the sprinklers. We’ve had lots of water fights to try to stay cool!
In addition to camp, we’re having group dinners once a week with the Chester Housing Authority Cooperative, which includes camp families and participants in the health initiative program run through the CHA. We all get together to cook, using ingredients from the garden and from Media’s Hillside Farm, where we have a CSA.
We’ve got two more weeks of camp left and a lot of harvesting to do! We’ve already enjoyed some squash, cucumbers, and basil. Now the eggplant, peppers, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes are on their way. And, of course, there are two full beds of beautiful watermelons – everyone’s favorite!
There are lots of new things happening at the garden, so keep checking back to see what we’re up to! You can see more photos on our Flickr.
Also, we’d love for you to get involved, too, so if you have any time, please come out!
Open Gardening Hours:
4:00 – 6:00 pm
Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday
– T & R