Saturday, July 28, 2007

Garden Planning at Ida B. Wells' Summer School

This past month, I worked with 30 summer school students at Ida B. Wells Continuation HS on a project to redesign and improve our garden. First we completed a mapping exercise, observing and plotting existing vegetation and garden features. Next, each student created a design of their "dream garden"; we encouraged them to be creative and envision what they could put in the garden that would contribute to the school. Many of the students added areas to sit and relax in the garden, which are sorely needed! Other features common to many of the designs were ponds and fruit trees. One very creative student wanted to put an outdoor seating area with a stage for the graduation ceremony! A couple of their plans:

We also went on a field trip to Garden for the Environment, so that students could see a well-established community garden and choose plants that they like. GFE was a big hit and gave us lots of ideas for how we can improve the school garden in the future. A few of the students were obsessed with the lamb's ear plants!

In our last week, we got dirty working in the garden and put in some improvements! We cleared out an unused slope adjacent to the vegetable beds, built a retaining wall out of recycled concrete and created a small habitat garden of perennials and California natives. We also planted some shade tolerant plants in another area of the garden, and painted garden signs for our vegetable crops!

Here is a photo of the habitat area we put in: