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An Update on the Children’s Garden

by on August 9th, 2013

Garden Greetings, Soilmates!

Just wanted to check in and report on the City Plaza Children’s Garden.  Special thanks, first of all, once again to Rachael Carlson and her husband, Scott, without whose assistance on Children’s Day at Arts Fest  I wouldn’t be able to get everything planted.  (Congrats, as well, to Rachael and Scott on the birth of their baby boy, Lake!)

Children's Garden Update 2Despite the later-than-normal start this season, growth has exploded.  We’ve harvested kale, cucumbers, basil, and lettuce for Table to Table.  The beets and cabbage aren’t far behind.  It has been so fun to see the addition of new friends this year: okra, flax, peanut, parsley, kohlrabi, black bean, eggplant, and the aforementioned beets and cabbage.

When the okra begins producing flowers (soon!), don’t forget to check out their color: one of nature’s most perfect, beautiful pale yellows you’ve ever seen, with pollinator bees flitting about from bud to bud.  And the natural trellis of cucumbers climbing sunflowers continues to bring smiles from thousands of passersby throughout the summer.

I can never get enough of the inquisitive looks on the faces of kids who walk the perimeter of the beds with their parents and friends, grazing occasionally and identifying all of the 22 varieties of vegetables, herbs and flowers.  (Thanks to Mara Cole for producing the lovely graphics for the signage, and Brad & Staff for making the posts!)

Kevin B.F. Burt and I had a garden party kickoff in early spring in Room A, Katherine Habley and I held a Dig Into Reading class for 5th & 6th graders in July, and Casey Lambert and I will gather with the little ones soon on August 15th for my Soilmates class “Let’s Eat!”  (Don’t worry, I won’t forget the worms!)

Children's Garden Update 1We’ll also learn about saving seed, and remember that some of the lettuce growing this year is from plants that we intentionally let go to seed last year.  The plants dropped their seed, it sat in the beds all cozy all winter, and sprouted in spring all on their own!

I know it’s hard to think about now, but plans are already underway for fall: late-season sowing of spinach and peas, soil-conditioning with another cover crop, and hopefully a season extension coldframe one of these autumns.

Thanks again a million times to everyone helping us to cultivate community and realize the potential of food production right here downtown!  How cool is that?  (Cool as a cucumber!)

-Scott Koepke
Soilmates Organic Garden Education Service
New Pioneer Food Co-op

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