Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Alexe's School Garden

Alexe gets ideas.  Usually she doesn't want to do them, and often she finds other people to execute for her.  But when she can't, those ideas plague her, and she has to make them happen.

The idea of a school garden, where the local youth can see things grow and learn about where food comes from, is a great idea.  If you had a crew of volunteers and maybe a little grant money, it would be wonderful.

Alexe didn't have those things.  But she started anyway.  

First with the one-man grounds crew at the elementary school tilling up a chunk of grassy flatness. (He also takes care of the high school by himself.) Followed by raking of the poor soil into little hills for pumpkin plants.

She started before the school year to try to have pumpkins growing by the time the students arrived.  In terrible soil, with no time, and a year when the sky decided to hoard any moisture for four months.  And yet she persevered.

There were lots of pests.  Lots of time spent raking a berm around the perimeter, lots of hoses to run from the side of the school up the hill to the garden.  

The students arrived and Alexe's garden turned into a wonderland for 80 students over three hours on Thursday mornings.  4 classes, 2 at a time.  The teachers bring them out, and Alexe suddenly is responsible for educating and keeping the attention of those kids, ranging from k to 6th graders.  

All while keeping them from destroying the plants that she is trying to grow for them.

After the pumpkins came expensive truckloads of soil, donated mulch, electric fences, seedlings, bulbs, seeds, and who knows what else she has quietly purchased.

But even though she isn't particularly fond of large scale gardening, working outside, and was incredibly nervous about managing large numbers of children, she knew it was the right thing to do.  What started out as something she had to force herself to do, something she would get anxious about for hours each Wednesday night in anticipation, is now something she loves. 

She's great. 

And wherever she goes now, young people are running up and giving her hugs and call her the garden lady or the vegetable lady.

And in between the games of red light green light, and tasting tiny slivers of herbs and veggies, they are learning about seeds, and pollination, and nutrition.

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