My mom came to visit over the Memorial Day weekend and returned my camera to enterprise rental service in the process! Pictures to come…. will try to update text ever so often.
Patrick went home for his sister’s graduation this weekend. I continued to work with Prof JJ to get plants in asap. Most of the plantings we intend to do take at least 6o days to mature. With all the rain this spring, many farms are in the same situation we are. Whole corn fields are under water down the road at Szalay’s Farm along the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath. Nonetheless time is still ticking and we need to get the plants in.
Today I worked to roll up our first section of sod. Later in the day Prof JJ and I headed over to a nursery in Tallmadge and one in Copley just outside of the city. We picked up some established plants. I planted them as soon as we returned.
8:00 am I reluctantly laced up my boots for another day of work building beds. Lifting and carrying 12 ft 2”x 10” untreated birch wood is definitely taking a toll on my shoulders and pretty much every other muscle in my body. When Pat and I got to the site we met with Dr. JJ but we were on our own for the rest of the day. The magic super soil was to arrive in the afternoon. Because of our non-profit status, we’ve been able to cut deals with many of our suppliers to minimize costs. The cost of our soil for example is only a portion of what earth’n’wood usually charges. Until the soil arrived, we prepared the beds for filling. We further secured the sensory garden stacked bed and filled the deep portions of it with wood chips as filler and then lined all the beds with cardboard. The cardboard is used to kill off the existing grass instead of digging it up. Luckily there is a recycling dumpster near the site with plenty of cardboard for lining.
When the first load of top soil arrived we were very excited. Soon the empty beds, which had begun to look like oversized coffins, would be transformed into conceivable planting beds! Little did we know that, from hereon out, filling the beds would be our nemesis.
After finishing up around 4:30 I headed over to my 3rd home Starbucks our current complementary internet supplier (3rd to the apartment and the garden site).
Today was our first day of decent weather for building. It was overcast in the morning while we were finalizing our plans. And by the time the afternoon rolled around, we were in full sun. We were able to divide the labor for preparing the beds to be assembled. Dr. Jewell and Pat cut 4 ft and 2 ft end pieces of 2”x10” and I drilled 6 pilot holes for each piece. After most of the wood was cut, I leveled and supported pieces while Pat drilled the screws into the pilot holes. By the end of the day we assembled all 9 of the learning classroom beds and a stacked sensory garden bed. One of the few requests the teachers at St. Sebastian had was for a sensory herb garden. The sensory garden would allow the students to use their senses to identify and be familiarized with a variety of different herbs. The stacked beds enabled us to build a bed that is more compartmentalized, with 5 smaller beds.
After all one day’s hard work, I hopped my bike back to the apartment. I picked up the bike in Akron from a craigslist vendor. It’s a powder blue 5 speed (though I still haven’t learned how to operate the gears) Sears Speedway bike from the 70s. The handlebars ride high for a road bike and the brakes are not really brakes, more like speed buffers. But the important part is that, it goes. I think it looks pretty sweet anyways.
After a much deserved shower my friend from Woo had me over for a home cooked meal and tour around her hometown of Stow, OH, just North of Akron. Luckily I do have a few friends in the Akron-Canton area, otherwise I think I’d feel pretty stranded with just my bike and an unfamiliar city.
Makeshift markers for the organic classroom setting, Orrville's own Smith Dairy crates.
Today we turned sketches into reality. We laid out the focal point of the garden which is an semi-circular “organic classroom.” The space is intended to serve as a place for students to sit on hay bails facing a teacher. It is a semi-circular grass area surrounded by nine raised bed plots. Each of the nine plots is to belong to a grade (K-8th) at St. Sebastian.
Lining the perimeter of the site.