No ceremony here, just hard work. My son John and I cranked up the rototiller and prepared the garden area at San Carlos Park Elementary. We agreed to work until it ran out of gas or the temperature exceeded 90. But within two hours we had tilled the 14×50 area four times and we ran out of Gatorade. Mission accomplished.
Now to mark off the bed areas and start building raised beds.
Blue dye helps mark the areas sprayed with herbicide.
Axxe is a strong, herbicidal soap. It burns the head off of any vegetation.
One week after application.
John ready to till.
We encountered the usual rocks, shells, and buried bricks.
This bird feeder will go to San Carlos Park Elementary in the new garden. I tried to lean on the arts theme and included a little whimsical element with the colored pencils. It’s made from Florida cypress, both solid and pecky for textural interest. It is four feet tall but I will mount it on a short post to make the filling still accessable.
Photo of the model I used to follow.
Pecky cypress is easy to drill.
I bought the cypress board on the left because of the perfect knot holes. Then mirrored them in the board on the right.
Let’s see, 45 plus 45 equals 90… I used stainless steel screws to outlast the cypress.
Outside rafters made from pecky cypress. The only non-cypress lumber in this project: pressure-treated pine for the inside rafters.
Strange smiley face on one of the roofs. I look for knots and try to include them.
Tall column of feed will hold less than a cubic foot of food.
Little roofs over the perches should keep out some rain.
Although this cypress seems porous, the holes don’t go all the way through.
The first roof was made from 9″ wide cypress with raw edges but they seemed too short. Their replacements now overhang the rafters.
New roof boards with knot hole.
Roof flops open to pour in about 10# of bird food.
I suppose I could have cut them with pruners but the table saw gave me exactly 3.5″ lengths.
One inch holes with one inch bored into the base for a reservoir for seed. I’m sure the kids will break/remove the pencils but I have plenty of replacements. Check out these saw scars, like tiger stripes.
Better view of the colored pencil perches. Now ready for oil sealer.
After applying oil/sealer.
Ready to be “planted” in the garden and filled with seed.
Thank you Spring 2015 FCHP class for the memorable gift. Horticulturist Bob Anderson was kind enough to arrange for fellow students to sign this t-shirt to conclude our 14 weeks together.
Comments include “I dug your class. I learned so much from your goofy memory tricks!” and more. It’s my pleasure to spend time with people eager to learn more about the craft and business of plants. Thank you for listening and learning.
More than just an elementary school, they emphasize the arts.
This colorful creation welcomes visitors at the entrance.
SCPE is a “Lighthouse School” adopting the seven habits of highly effective people.
Courtyard facing west.
Courtyard facing east.
This is where we will be building a vegetable garden, in the courtyard.
The first idea was to have one raised bed made of concrete blocks that the students will paint. But then I got creative: let’s make eight smaller gardens in different shapes, made of different materials. I can imagine every classroom coming out to visit this area to see and learn about shapes (math), cells, insects, climate (biology). Other dirt-under-the-fingernails lessons will be food production and nutrition (more science).
We will make room for flowers to attract pollinators. Warm colors on one side, cool colors on the other. Art class, have a ball out here!
On the west end we will plant fruit trees that will bear soon (papaya, bananas, Barbados cherry, pineapples, dwarf mango). Dividing the areas will be “green” walls planted with mints made of pallets to contain compost.
It’s my nature to jump into things with both feet and go all-out. But I know that a garden requires work to build and plant and water and weed. We have a 7000 square foot “canvas” work with but I have scaled down the planting area to 700 square feet including mulched pathways and stepping-stones.
As I was measuring, a teacher guided her students past and asked them “Is he measuring area or volume?” They are learning even before the garden is built.