After an historic rain event (7″ in three days) I expected soil and mulch to be washed into the next county. But they were unscathed. The beds are level and the mulch is thick so all these bulky materials just settled down.
I just stocked the tool box benches with new gardening tools. The short bench accommodated three totes perfectly. A dozen kids will be busy with
After pounding rains, no problem. We expected the soil to settle 20%.
These pipes were filled to the rim.
Long handled tools.
Short handled tools ready to get dirty.
trowels, transplanters and cultivators. Ames has a nice line of long-handled tools with a 15 year guarantee. Here we have a round shovel, flat shovel, hard rake, leaf rake, hoes and a broom. And the cutest short handled shovels too.
We will give Mrs. Williams a $50.00 gift certificate to Johnny’s Selected Seeds. They have a full line of flower and vegetable seeds for her to plan the fall and spring garden.
I stopped at a garden center and saw a new display of worm castings for sale. I understand the value of adding fine textured organic matter to our poor soils, but there is no magic in these brown paper bags. The literature attached to the products contained outrageous claims and misinformation, like:
…”eliminates black spot” on roses. Wow, this I gotta see. Even persistent spraying with fungicides can’t promise these results.
They claim that chinch bugs “live in the thatch that is created by mowing”. No, thatch is the natural accumulation of living and dead material; clippings, stems.
The worst information referred to the sucking insect, palm scale, as a “harmful disease” that can be cured by spraying with worm tea.
Come on folks, if you have a good product, tell what it really does rather than generate falsehoods and fantasies.
Before: A lawn.
After: A garden space.
Last March, this garden was just an idea. San Carlos Park Elementary Resource Teacher, Mrs. Williams wanted an activity for the after-school kids. Then, members of nearby Parkway Baptist Church wanted to benefit the school with volunteers and talent and the idea took shape. Then came the issue of funding. We asked the Board of Directors of the Royal Palm Chapter (Florida Nursery Grower Landscape Association) for grant money and they obliged.
The funds bought lumber, hardware, paint, soil, mulch, tools, and more. This fall there will be money for seeds, fruit trees, fertilizer, and pots. The investment will benefit the students and teachers for years. We are grateful to the Royal Palm Chapter for their generosity and their commitment to horticultural education.
The weather cooperated with our plan. Thursday morning nearly 20 men, women, and children showed up at 7:30, eager to move a mountain…of potting soil.
It rained all night but paused long enough for us to shovel five yards of soil into wheelbarrows, walk it 300 feet to fill vacant planter boxes, then spread a pallet of mulch. In two hours we were done. More photos to follow…after the rain stops.
This is as close to the garden as a dump truck could get.
Lumber beds placed on the ground.
Then sunk into the ground and anchored.
Sizing up the tasks at hand.
We had “diggers, runners, and spreaders”.
This is what it’s all about: Children enjoying gardening.
Good materials+hard work=happy outcome.
Every garden needs tools and a place to store them. For the San Carlos Park Elementary garden I came up with the idea of combining a storage box and a bench.
Typical chair height for adults is 16″ but for children it’s 12″ so I made one for each size. The frame is pressure-treated lumber lined with T-11 siding, topped with tongue and groove cypress decking. The leaves are 3/4″ pine painted with acrylic.
I put these details here for two reasons: People go to the internet for inspiration and instruction. (What can I do…then how do I do it?) I hope this helps.
When the teachers and parents return this fall they may look at the handiwork and say “The second graders sure are talented here!” My desire is that a second grader looks at this creation and says “Hey, I could do that!”
Firm frame connected with hidden pocket screws. Some artists have sexy models. I have a rake and shovel.
Once build I will treat all surfaces with Thompson’s weather sealer and caulk the seams with silicone.
Cut out leaves with band saw, then routed the edges half-round.
Gluing together the cypress for lids.
A little color on the panels to tie into the leaves to come.
Spacing out the boards, keeping in mind children’s size. With ballusters on a railing there should be no gap larger than 3.5″.
Danish oil penetrates and accentuates the grain of the wood.
Shorter bench but same size leaves/back.
Used more cypress inside to brace the decking. If it is too heavy it could be dangerous. I have “slow-close” lid hardware coming soon.
Orgainizing the rainbow. One bench with “warm” colors, the other with “cool”.
I don’t need no stinking pallet!
Cool. I routed a groove in each leaf and painted on veins later.
Second coat, ready for third and a final sanding. The galvinized hinges need color too.
Sanded with 280 grit for weathered look. Painted metalic gold veins.
Florida furniture needs to be hurricane proof. Digging holes to pour concrete for anchors to attach.
I forgot, the back will be seen from inside the classroom. One coat of Hunters green does it.
Weather-proof locks coming soon.
Cozy in the shade.
Here is the final garden plan.
The marking paint won’t stick to sand for long.
Looks like everything will fit.
Now is the time to drive stakes and mark where the beds will be at San Carlos Park Elementary. Next week we begin building raised beds.
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.