Permaculture experiment one:
Our first attempt at a school garden came in 2017. It was a rushed affair. The principal and a few Dads made some boxes for raised beds out of donated cedar planks. Meanwhile, the students, even those in high school, started plants indoors. Spring was a long time coming that year. It was cool and rainy. When the boxes were completed in mid-May, students received some instruction in the science of soils. Layers of paper, sawdust, and leaves filled those boxes followed by a generous topping of garden soil and compost donated by Cypress Landscaping.
Into the newly filled boxes went peas, beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes, parsley, lettuce, and squash. As spring turned into summer, the garden grew and students and their parents snacked on whatever was ready when they stopped in. The depth of useable soil prevented a crop of potatoes or squash from materializing. The clear favourite was the lemon cucumber plant; the younger students loved the idea that something could look like a lemon but taste like a cucumber
Permaculture experiment two:
Fast forward to 2018. Once again, spring was slow to arrive, and the soil in the beds had sunk by half due to the de-composition of the leaves, sawdust, and paper. A new layer of each was added to the beds along with a small amount of compost generated by programs within the school. Given the cool weather, direct seeding was the only way to go. Peas, beans, onion sets, and kohlrabi were planted. Lemon cucumbers that had been started in the greenhouse of one of our farm partners were added later as the weather improved. As a contingency plan, several plots of lettuce, cucumbers, and tomatoes were planted on two year old hugel beds constructed of small logs, leaves, bark, and a generous topping of composted manure. The results are amazing; tomatoes of all kinds, lettuce in two colours, herbs everywhere, and cucumbers. Lemon cukes, English cukes, Field cukes, and even Pickling cukes. Later this week we expect to harvest enough diverse produce to make a really tasty salad full of nutrition and flavour.