It feels great to finally have our hands in the dirt! We have had a busy month in Middleton beginning work in the high school greenhouse and garden site. On the 19th and 20th, we kicked it off with our first greenhouse workdays which included program leaders, community members, college-age participants, students from the high school Ecology Club, and a very enthusiastic group of middle school students. Mark Voss, a local farmer and teacher, led a soil mixing workshop, followed by seeding trays and trays of tomatoes, onions, kale, broccoli, peppers, cabbage, and other veggies.
We held another big workday on Saturday the 24th with our college age participant team, this time out in the garden. Being the food lovers that we are, we of course kicked it off with a potluck at noon, and then worked until four, repairing the raised beds, cleaning up the old composting area, pruning the espaliered pear and apple trees, raking leaves, and clearing out the old plant debris from previous years (there was two-year-old kale still in the beds!). We also built new compost bins from reused shipping pallets, which is just in time because we have begun our compost pick-up service for Bloom Bakery. We diverted 20 pounds of waste from local landfills this first week! As you can see we had a lot on our plate, but we got it done and the garden is looking great! We have our amazing volunteers to thank for that 🙂
On top of the beautiful seedlings that are now sprouting up in the greenhouse, our work is really paying off! Community members and students that live nearby have been eagerly stopping by to check out the progress. A very curious eight-year-old stopped by our workday and asked for a complete run-down of all of the produce we will be planting this spring, and other neighbors have offered to pitch in a helping hand and even serve as nighttime security for the garden. Its great to feel the surrounding community really embracing the garden and excited for the summer program that is fast approaching!
Our next big step is the somewhat intimidating job of rototilling over 4,000 square feet of bed space at our new garden site at the Middleton Alternative Senior High. Wish us luck and endurance!