I’ve been working in the organic vegetable garden at school. It’s kind of a long story, but the program I’m interested in requires a certain number of internship hours. I got involved in the garden at school and, while the internship hours are important, I’m most interested in the experience. I’ve learned a lot since February. Watching the way the garden changes from winter to spring; spring to summer; summer to fall; and now, fall to winter, has been amazing.
In the beginning, at least two of us spent a lot of time planting seeds and transplanting them into larger pots/flats. Then, when spring really hit, we spent a lot of time moving things out. Then growth really hit. We spent a lot of time harvesting what little food there was in the garden and trying to keep up with the weeds. There are 18 beds that are at least 100 square feet each. There were at least five of us working, but that just wasn’t enough with the hours we had available. Spring bled into summer and we had more produce to harvest and we fell further behind on the weeds. Many of the people we had for the spring semester left and we only gained one new person over the summer who had about as many hours as I did (which didn’t cover all of the people leaving).
Then, when the new semester started, we got several people who had lots of time available and were hard workers. We’ve gotten more than caught up (helps that the weather changed and the weeds started slowing down) and it’s really nice to have the garden looking presentable again.
Now, the fall is fading to winter. I was kind of shocked when I went to school this morning after two frosts/freezes last week…there was so much dead stuff. I knew that I should expect things to be a little sad, but it was so barren. Even though things have been winding down, the plants were still producing something, but now, the plants are completely destroyed. We spent our time today taking out some of the plants that died. There’s going to be more work to do tomorrow, but with as many people and hours as we have now, I think we’ll be caught up pretty soon.
The really great thing about the garden, though, is that the food we harvest goes to the local food pantry. I appreciate that the resources I’ve invested in the project do more than just give me credits and experience. Anyway, we got a letter from the food pantry that said we’d sent over 1,000 pounds of food!