What I did on my summer vacation

I’m back, with stories to tell.

In fact, one of my first stories is one I’ve been keeping close since May, and now I can finally let it out to all of you good readers.  IT IS SO EXCITING I WILL HAVE TO REFRAIN FROM WRITING THE ENTIRE POST IN ALL CAPS, but I will try.

But first….what I did on my summer vacation, garden-wise.

In July the school garden committee of Master Gardeners was treated to a tour of the garden at Paul Ecke Elementary in Encinitas, with Mr. Hank as tour guide.

“School as garden”—an idea that the whole campus is a garden with different sites where all subjects can be taught.  IMG_0087

Their outdoor “cooking lab” has an underground drain which waters the baby citrus tree to the left.

IMG_0090

Water plants, not friends—apparently a school garden universal.

IMG_0095

A neat application of the painted rock concept.

IMG_0092

I like seeing other garden educator’s tricks of the trade.  Here Mr. Hank has made a device in which he can arrange the tools needed that day and kids can quickly choose from that limited supply instead of sorting through the shed.

IMG_0094

A rain chain adds a grace note to this rainwater cistern.

IMG_0097

Pallets set on their sides create the stage for a lesson on vertical gardens.

IMG_0096

IMG_0107

In the boxes below, veggies are planted by color to emphasize the principle above.

IMG_0108

School as garden—here citrus plants, herbs and ornamentals enhance another building’s facade across campus.

IMG_0103

Even little flower gardens enliven a school campus as they create habitat.

IMG_0106

The same day I visited the ambitious 1-acre farm project on the campus of Ocean Knoll in Encinitas, a vision steered by two women/parents who lead the non-profit organization Healthy Day Partners.  They are building raised beds, compost bins, and tool sheds with a view to supplying the salad bars in the district’s nine elementary schools.  As a food justice project, fruit trees are being planted along the street side of the property, purposely planted to hang over the fence so that fruit is available to any neighbor passing by.

IMG_0125

As part of their school’s international focus, the upper elementary students built this greenhouse with “eco-bricks”—discarded plastic bottles filled with inorganic trash.  Schools in Latin America have been built with this simple technology, and the Encinitas kids worked through the organization Hug it Forward to help fundraise for one such project in Guatemela, later skyping with the Central American students about their shared experiences.

IMG_0118

IMG_0119

A beautiful multi-purpose stage for activities from yoga to outdoor meals stretches along one side of the garden.  Stumps arranged around the platform create a perfect performance area as well.

IMG_0116

Good reminder that rural, suburban, urban—we all got our critters to exclude.

IMG_0121

This is a team, and a district, with a lot of vision, and I look forward to following–and celebrating–their progress!

IMG_0124

8 thoughts on “What I did on my summer vacation

  1. Wow, a very busy summer “garden wise”. Can’t possibly compete, however I did go picking for wild huckleberries in Wyoming!!! My goal this year is to become #1 blogger! Your biggest fan. Mom

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s