Preparing for a New Season at the Garden

by Community Forests International on October 23, 2010

Each year Sackville Community Garden is prepped for a new season of planting and a few hands certainly make the work easier for garden managers. Early this week Lorelei Harrison's grade 8 class from Marshview Middle School got their hands dirty with Community Forests International and helped to remove the remains of the fall harvest. Pulling out organic debris such as roots, leaves, weeds and the odd unclaimed vegetable the students were able to successfully clear out and prepare several beds for future plot owners. The beds were raked and the soil was covered with a healthy layer of eel grass (Zostera sp.), an abundant marine angiosperm that washes ashore after fall storms forming mats of decaying brown vegetation. Rain showers that follow help to remove the salt from the eel grass, which can then be collected and used on garden beds. Students helped to pile eel grass on weeded beds that will help prevent erosion, reduce future weed establishment and slowly release fertilizers and nutrients into the soil.

The class was  also fortunate to meet Community Forests Pemba Director, Mbarouk Moussa Omar, who spoke with them about climate change and the impacts which presently threaten his island off the coast of Tanzania in the Indian Ocean. They discussed issues of soil erosion and nutrient depletion, identified how green spaces and tree planting can help to absorb atmospheric carbon and how growing food locally helps to reduces transportation fuel costs and buffers the negative impacts of price hikes in food sources due to failing crops and increasing oil prices.

Connecting students to food, allowing them to discover how and where it comes from is an important aspect of CFI's educational outreach. Often, the garden is the first place where students will learn what a broccoli plant looks like, how potatoes grow and that sunflowers seeds can be eaten directly off a drooping head. Overall, the garden is an engaging space where students can touch, feel, see and smell what is growing and learn to understand the diversity and complexity of even a simple garden ecosystem. It has also been found to be a useful venue for discussing broader topics and allows both young and old to engage themselves locally while thinking about global issues.

Community Education

Eel Grass

Sunflower harvesting

Community Garden

CFI would be happy to enhance their educational outreach at the Sackville Community Garden. If you are interested in having your class visit and assist with the garden feel free to contact us ( 506-536-3738) to arrange a visit.

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