Reflection of 2017-2018 Garden Project
Now that the Garden Project has come to an end, it is time to reflect on what I learned. My first thought about this project is how beautiful it turned out, even though I started with little to no gardening experience. I now show even more respect to Mrs. Cuevas for doing a Garden Gourmet every month. It took me all year to do this and she does one every month. The last key detail I now see is that I could not have done this alone. There were many people who helped me. This includes: Mrs. Cuevas, Mrs. Grimley, Mr. Grimley, Ms. Fitzgerald, Mrs Drexler, Mrs. Drexler's 6/7 class, Mrs. Cuevas’s 3rd grade class, Mrs. Usich, Caitie Grimley, the Southard family, Dan and Julia Koch, Carly Cavacini, all of the Tighe School custodians and more.
I came into this not knowing the difference between a potato and a tomato. Now I know a whole lot about gardening. I realize how important it is that plants get water. I realized that plants are living things too. I realized how tentative you have to be to your plants. Some interesting discoveries I made about the garden is how much warmth and sunlight affect the growth of plants. Without the hoophouse, I would never have been able to harvest the crops in time to make a garden gourmet. The plants seemed to grow at a superhuman rate in the hoophouse. One of the most challenging parts was getting started. I had to plan where to grow, plan what to grow, plan how to grow, plan when to grow, and then plan what I would do next. Uprooting weeds took forever. I believe it took four 80 minute classes to complete. That is a full school day. It was very disappointing when the seedlings got leggy and died. This was a major setback that reduced our variety of growing options. Then, we replanted the seedlings. Everything was going perfectly until they died of dehydration. This was an even bigger setback and limited us even more.
Personally, the most important thing I learned is how to work with other people. Like I said before, I could not have done this alone. Working with other people required scheduling, communication, and being respectful. If I didn’t have the help everything would not go as smoothly, and my plants probably would have died. I think being part of the Garden Project greatly improved myself as a person.
June 4, 2018
Today we uprooted the rest of the plants in the hoop house. We also harvested some spinach, swiss chard, purple potatoes, an a beet. We were about to throw away he stems of the beet when we noticed there was something in the soil.
May 14, 2018
Today we decided to harvest some spinach leaves and a radish. The radish is huge!
I am going to take a taste test on the food. I am waiting to hear from Mrs. Cuevas about harvesting the plants. We decided to take the cover off the hoop house. Also, some baby swiss chard just popped up randomly. Maybe the hoop house was too hot for it.
April 30, 2018
Today Mrs. Fitz and I weeded the plants. The lettuce, radishes, onions, potatoes, and spinach are looking really good. Sadly, the seedlings did not make it this time either. We were not able to water them enough to keep them healthy. The plants shriveled up and died. We put some of the weeds in the compost bin. Then I spun the barrel two times to mix up the contents.
April 16, 2018
Today I have watered all of the plants in the hoop house. The onions look beautiful! So far, it looks like we are going to have a great harvest! The seedlings are almost ready to transplant from the seed starting bins to the hoop house. Here are some pictures of the onions, potatoes, and radishes.
April 9, 2018
Today I have watered all the plants. The purple potatoes and radishes are turning out very well. Both plants are at least ½ inch high. There are sproutlings from the broccoli, swiss chard, and beets. I layed down some newspaper on the walkway of the hoop house to prevent weeds from sprouting where I walk in. Outside, the temperature is 42 degrees fahrenheit, while in the hoop house it is 80 degrees fahrenheit. I have no camera to take a picture of the plants today. Previously, on April 5th, there was a garden clean up at Tighe. I owe a special thanks to Mrs. Cuevas, Mrs. Grimley, Caitie Grimley, the Southard family, Dan and Julia Koch, and Carly Cavacini. New rows were made in beds 1 and 2. In bed 1 we planted radishes, lettuce, spinach, swiss chard, red beets, and yellow potatoes. We also cleaned up the Peace Garden, swept up needles and pine cones, and rested perennials in Bed 6 the will be planted during Earth week. Also, the Tighe school duck is back! We hope it does not harm the plants, and it does not get harmed!
March 26, 2018
Today I made rows in the hoop house to grow my seeds. Mrs. Cuevas provided us with more seeds such as lettuce, swiss chard, beets, radishes, and a rhubarb. The rows are looking great! Inside the hoop house, it is 60 degrees, while outside it is 39 degrees. There is a significant difference in the temperatures. Also, on Thursday, April 5th, from 10:00 AM to noon, there is a school garden clean up. Many jobs are needed to be done, such as: Trim blueberry bushes and fig trees (the winter took a toll on the fig trees.) Rebuild or repair the square foot frames in Bed 3. Clean and install the fountain component of the peace garden, we need help to weed and add stones and sand. Plant sunflowers in Bed 4 behind and next to the hoophouse. Plant lettuces, chard, and spinach in Beds 1 and 2. Remove the branches and twigs from old eagles nest Bed 6. And finally, to prepare for more pollinator plants in Bed 6 during Earth Week.
March 12, 2018
My dad and I went out to Home Depot on Thursday to get the materials to build the hoop house. We made it mostly out of 2x4s and the metal framing. The difference in temperatures is amazing. It was about 50℉ outside, and it felt like 80℉ inside. Sadly, none of the leggy plants survived long enough for us to plant them inside the hoop house. We still need to build raised beds for the plants to grow in. Since are seedlings are no longer with us, we have more seeds such as rainbow swiss chard, kale, lettuce, carrots, and pre-grown purple potatoes and radishes.
Feb. 26, 2018
Mrs. Fitz and I found out today that we were supposed to rid the garden of weeds before we turned the soil. We already started sifting through the dirt to remove weeds. The construction of the hoop house must be soon so we can move on with the planting. The seedlings are turning out to be ”leggy” (as you can see in the picture above.) This means they need to be given more water. I hope this will be an easy fix and not a huge setback. Also, I took note that when I am working in a garden in the middle of a school day, I should bring an extra pair of shoes.
Feb. 20, 2018
Today I have started to use a hoe to weed the garden. We also were researching the best ways to get rid of the weeds. Over at Ross School, the seeds have already begun to sprout! There are little stems poking out of a few of the seed starting cups. This means that we will be able to start planting them in the Tighe Garden soil soon. Mrs. Fitzgerald and I are not yet ready to plant, but we still have some time.
Feb. 12, 2018
Today I have finished up planting seeds in seed starting soil. They are in big trays of cardboard-like material. The soil will help the seeds sprout through the soil, because it is so light. We have brought them over to Ross School so Mrs. Cuevas and her class can take care of them in the S.T.E.M lab. We have watered the plants and are providing them with the right environment under the grow lamps. Mrs. Cuevas noted that we can also start some seeds such as radishes in the hoop house. The hoop house is still not assembled, but all of the parts are here and the house is ready to be built.
My name is Patrick. With the help of others, I am planting and harvesting different crops during the 2018 school year. My goal is to provide a “Garden Gourmet” for the students and faculty of Eugene. A. Tighe Middle School. I have started out by selecting seeds provided for me from Mrs. Cuevas and Mr. Blumberg, along with Matt Bruckler, a local E.H.T farmer. I am starting them in seed starting bins. The plants being harvested fall under the following categories; Tomatoes, Broccoli, Carrots, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Peppers, Onions, Asian Greens, Microgreens, Spinach, Radishes, Kale, and more. I will create a hoop house made from metal hoops and a plastic sheet. A hoop house is also known as a greenhouse, and allows plants to be grown and harvested during colder growing seasons. The frame of the hoop house was provided by farmer Matt Bruckler after hurricane Sandy struck and wiped out resources for the Tighe School Garden. The hoop house will be where all the plants will be grown during the winter season. I owe a big thanks to Mrs. Cuevas’s 3rd grade class for helping me out by watering my seeds as they start to sprout under grow lamps at Ross.