Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Center City planting day

Thanks to Glenda Kapsalis for these pictures!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Garden Science part 2: school gardens

After finishing up the eight week classroom component to our Garden Science program, we turned our attention to designing and installing a garden at each participating school. We had the help of the awesome DC Master Gardeners, who put a lot of effort into both the planning and installation parts of the garden project.

The first garden to go in was at Center City Public Charter School's Trinidad campus, who's been a Garden Science partner with us for over five years. About time they got their own garden, huh? We built nine raised beds that lay on top of the concrete in the back parking lot of the building. The following week, we went back to plant up the raised beds. The third and fourth graders from our program transplanted the seedlings that they had started in their classroom back in snowy February. We also transplanted some new seedlings and direct seeded some greens and root vegetables.



DC Master Gardeners

Next up was Imagine Hope Public Charter School. This school has absolutely no green space, with just a tiny blacktop area for recess. However, we found some room in a sunny corner of the parking lot to install a raised bed, along with some containers. Again, the students got to transplant the seedlings that they had started in their classroom, as well as direct seed some greens.
EWS fourth grader and Program Director Kaifa Anderson-Hall
Our last Garden Science school was Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom Public Charter School, whom we have been working with for two years now. Last year, Stokes installed a fantastic garden consisting of about a dozen raised beds. They've also added some edible landscaping, fruit trees, and an herb garden, again with not much space. Unlike the other two schools, their garden is not directly on the blacktop parking lot, though it is just a few feet away. All of these schools are great examples that school gardens can still be an option even if there is a lack of available green space.
Sampling some herbs

Direct seeding carrots

Though our Garden Science program is targeted towards third and fourth grades, we hope that by installing school gardens, the entire school community will get to learn from and enjoy an edible garden. Happy planting time!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

For Families!

For the last eight years, the Washington Youth Garden has hosted a gaggle of families every Saturday morning from early spring until the end of the summer. The program, called Growing Food…Growing Together, brings twenty five to thirty families together to grow and prepare their own organic food. Each week, families work together to tend our communal vegetable area, herb garden, and fruit section. We see community build over the weeks as we all bend down to weed the row of peas or transplant tomato seedlings together.

In addition to gardening, guest presenters – from nutritionists and chefs to beekeepers and agricultural historians – fill in the dots that connect our health, environment, and communities. Throughout the course of the summer, families also participate in a local farmer’s market to sell some of the summer bounty.

At the end of the morning, we gather up the harvested produce and divide it up among the program participants CSA-style. A major focus of this program is on providing access to fresh healthy food, as well as learning how to grow and prepare it.

This program is intended for first-time gardening families who are seeking to gain healthy living skills. Prospective participants should fill out a family questionnaire. If you can help spread the word about this program, download a flyer.