Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Y Gardens: Curiosity Club

The youth from de Marillac Middle School at St Boniface Church on Golden Gate Ave come to work in the garden weekly as an elective in their after school program. Each group of 8 - 10 boys and girls signs up for a quarter at a time. They can and often do repeat.
This quarter finished on Tuesday 3/8. We innovated in several ways during this session:
  • all gardeners were offered inexpensive journals
  • we made maps
  • we built a pond
  • we considered accessibility
  • we planted into sheet mulched berms on the asphalt 
Other activities included propagation from seed and slips, small team and full group projects.
I was surprised by how ardently everyone took to journalling, to map-making; how seriously the challenges of access were considered. Especially unexpected: that when after all the team work this Q during the last session I had organized 1 task per participant -
  1. move straw from "Growing Cuisine" to pond entrance in "redwood understory" area
  2. assemble a donated hose caddy 
  3. transplant container flowers to berms
  4. plant out marigolds
  5. fill water cans
  6. work compost into soil
  7. fill planters with fresh soil
  8. cultivate fallow planters
- they were eager for the hardest tasks and they chose to team up and to move between teams as they finished. The most complicated assembly project kept them going beyond the class time. Just as they had solved the puzzle it was time to go so they asked to take it with them to finish and bring it back later.
Their enthusiasm is contagious, also working with KinderGardeners in the morning stimulates my  work with the older youth in the afternoon.