Enjoy the last day of summer vacation, everyone!
...school starts tomorrow! Over the last couple of weeks, volunteers have spent several hours clearing trails in the woods and neatening up the garden beds. Yesterday, Crestwood staff had a tour of the garden spaces in an hour-long PD session led by second grade teacher Connie Allen, GiR Krysta Post, and Crestwood parent and Community Groundworks contact person Ginny Hughes. Here are a few snapshots from yesterday morning.
Looks like everyone got to sample something tasty! Probably tomatoes. We have lots of those.
Enjoy the last day of summer vacation, everyone!
FINAL SUMMER WORKDAY! SUNDAY AUGUST 28
8-10AM in the woods
5-7PM in the gardens
Here's a little math problem for you. What do you get when you add up the following:
6 people + 3 hedge clippers + 1 wheelbarrow + 2 hours?
Answer: a LOT of work done!
The main trail looks pretty good now, and we made some good headway on the paths through the Goldfinch plot (at the top of the woods near the school) and the Chickadee and Nuthatch plots (at the back of the woods near Highlands Ave).
We're still not quite done, though. It's been a warm, wet summer and the woods are VERY lush and green. Some trails still need to be cleared of jewelweed and stray branches before they are truly ready for students and staff.
This is not especially difficult work, but it does take time and people power. We really want everything to be accessible and welcoming when school starts next week, so we're inviting you to one last workday of the summer!
THIS SUNDAY, AUGUST 28:
8-10am we'll be working in the woods to finish clearing the trails.
5-7pm we'll do a final cleanup of the vegetable gardens and mulch area by the back shed.
Bring work gloves if you have them, a snack if you wish, and if you plan to work in the woods, long pants and long sleeves are recommended.
The Crestwood woods is kind of a jungle! Join volunteers this Tuesday, August 23, from 8-10am to clear trails and prepare the classroom circle for the start of school.
We'll be trimming trees and shrubs growing over the trails.
We'll be clearing lots and lots of jewel weed (good thing it's easy to pull!)
And the classroom circle needs some tidying up.
The warm, wet summer has made our school grounds so lush and green! We just need a few volunteer hours to ready the woods for staff and students. Join us Tuesday morning!
We had terrific turnout for our last official summer workday! We were all so busy working that I only have a few pictures to share. What you see here is only a fraction of what was accomplished. We had a whole crew working in the orchard, for example, but alas there are no pictures from that! I'll be sure to get some nice photos of all the outdoor learning spaces to post before school starts.
Here are some snapshots of what we did last evening:
In the meantime, thank you to everyone who has volunteered their time and energy to the gardens, orchard and woods this summer. It truly makes a difference for our school.
Our final (official) summer workday is coming up THIS MONDAY, AUGUST 15 AT 5:30! Bring your family, a picnic dinner, work gloves and definitely bug spray. We have a lot of clean up to do before school starts. Just think how welcomed and inspired students and staff would feel if they arrive to a beautiful, well-kept garden on September 1!
That said, the back garden is looking mighty fine indeed. The tomatoes are plump, the basil is thriving, we have a new crop of salad planted for a fall harvest (thanks, Ginny!) and a vigorous pumpkin vine is taking over the parking lot.
If you peek under the leaves and between those vines, you'll find many baby pumpkins. The students are going to have a treat finding all the ripe squash this fall.
We certainly have our work cut out for us in the overflow garden and in the front. If you look at the picture below, all you can see, really, is grass and morning glories. Believe it or not, there are beans, tomatoes and a watermelon vine hidden among the weeds.
Here are potatoes growing along the brick wall in an orderly fashion.
This jungle is the circle garden. The tomatoes growing here are all volunteer, and they are quite healthy! The cattle fencing you see is there to support cucumber vines. It's a little messy, but everything is growing nicely here; we just need to clean out the weeds.
Last, but certainly not least, though our orchard hasn't gotten a lot of attention at our summer workdays, it has received a lot of care from Eldon and Peter, who have added new soil, planted white clover and weeded in the tree rows. The white clover serves three purposes: 1) to crowd out weeds over time; 2) restore nitrogen to the soil, and 3) to provide blossoms for bees.* Additionally, Ms. Allen's second grade class planted a variety of flowers and herbs to attract pollinators in May. They appear to be doing the job because I found a small cave in the ground where some busy bees are building a hive. Hooray for beneficial insects! And watch your step...
*I misspoke in the post earlier today when I implied that the orchard hadn't received any attention over the summer. Obviously that wasn't true! I had meant to point out that the focus of the workdays was elsewhere in the gardens. Caring for apple trees is quite a specialized task, and we are fortunate to have volunteers devoted to the Crestwood apple orchard.
Don't forget our next workday is Monday, August 15 from 5:30-7:30!
Since we have our last scheduled summer workday coming up in less than two weeks, I thought I'd do a quick post about the current state of the school garden. Here's the short version:
Rain + heat = abundant weeds and a thriving mosquito population
When I walked up to check on things Wednesday morning, I saw that the dill, cucumber and volunteer tomatoes in the circle garden are growing just as well as wild grasses and amaranth. The overflow plot is quite overgrown, though I did spot a melon vine growing over the sunflower wall, as you can see in the picture above. The plots directly in front of the school are faring better, likely because they have been well cared for since early spring. We should have plenty of potatoes and carrots to harvest this fall! Unfortunately, the mosquitoes were swarming already and I got dozens of bites in just a few minutes of weed-pulling up front. For that reason, I didn't even go around to the back garden where they are generally even more numerous and aggressive.
In other words, the gardens are looking pretty typical for late summer! I'd venture to say some parts are doing better than usual because we've been able to add a lot of good compost on a regular basis, and have the support of our gardener-in-residence* and decent turnout for the workdays so far.
Let's keep our fingers crossed that the heat subsides by August 15! We need lots of helping hands to get the gardens ready for the start of school. Just be sure to bring your bug spray.
*While it is certainly a huge boost to our program to have Krysta Post on board, the GiR program restricts her to two hours per week during the summer recess, which is clearly insufficient for comprehensive maintenance of our entire garden program.
Crestwood's OE committee is dedicated to outdoor learning for all students.