Back to School (Gardens)

Well, it’s September again, somehow. I had a great summer (which I will write about later, but to keep you intrigued, it included a month of vacation in northern Europe, and a month at High Park EcoCamp). I’m having a mild case of my usual start-of-September nervousness (which I also get as the garden season is about to start in April), but now that I’ve realized over the years that I always feel like this twice a year, it’s easier to get through.

I haven’t started teaching yet at the schools – I think it’s best to let teachers and students settle into the new school year before I jump into the mix. I’ll be starting at Blake next week, and hopefully at the other schools shortly after that. It was great to be back at Blake today, and see a lot of familiar teachers, as well as introduce myself to a couple of new teachers. I love the community feeling of this school and am so thankful to be back again for my 4th fall here.

I did spend a few hours at Blake today, doing some garden and compost maintenance. Pretty sure I used muscles I haven’t used in a while, and I can already tell I’ll be pretty sore tomorrow. But that good I-accomplished-something kind of sore. I headed over, thinking the garden would look like it did the last time I checked it out a bit over a month ago. To my (very happy) surprise, some serious weeding/weed-whacking had been done over the past few days on all of the paths in and around the garden. Don’t worry, there was still plenty to do to keep me entertained for a few hours, though. First, I turned this:

DSC_0169  … into this: DSC_0201

 

 

 

 

 

 

I realize that doesn’t really look so impressive, so here’s a close-up:

Weeding before after Sept 3 2014

 

Weeding was lovely and meditative, as usual. It was especially great, because it rained quite a lot in the past couple of days, making weeding way easier!

The highlight in the garden today, though, was checking out the compost. It’s been hard to stay on top of maintaining it through the school year, with lots of stuff being added daily with not a whole lot of maintenance (turning, aerating, etc.) going on. Well I was thrilled when I looked into the compost bin today and dug around a bit, to realize that nearly everything from the past school year had decomposed! It looks like soil! I’m so excited that in a few months, we’ll be able to add our first batch of school compost to the Blake school garden! Since it was pretty decomposed and only a bit of new stuff had been added so far, it was an ideal time to turn it into the next bin. That was a serious amount of shoveling!

Turning compost before after Sept 3 2014

The garden looks pretty good now, though definitely needs some fall crops to be planted (very soon). We’ll put in a bit more lettuce and other greens, some radishes, and probably transplant some of the kale that’s growing way too close. Also wondering whether we can plant perennial herbs at this time of year. Thinking that might help the herb bed from getting too weedy next year, if the herbs get a head-start… It was a rough year for hot-weather plants (tomatoes, peppers, eggplants…) but some things are growing nicely – some carrots are peeking out, the kale looks decent, and there are some nice little leeks (my first time growing leeks in a school garden). Also hoping to dig some potatoes with kiddos next week – fingers crossed!

Happy growing!

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