Friday, August 7, 2009

Out of Control in the School Courtyard

This is what happens when you have no summer maintenance plan for your school garden.

What happened to our strawberry patch?

The crabgrass is growing in the gravel walkways all around the vegetable beds.

The few veggies that we planted at the end of the school year are pretty lame looking, and have been strangled by weeds.

A couple of us were there weeding this week. It took an hour to do about 10 square feet. The weeds are so fast and so compact that they're impossible to dislodge with bare hands. So lots of roots are left in.
To complicate matters, anyone wishing to do maintenance must "sneak" into the school, since we are technically not supposed to have access. (We risk getting arrested for intent to commit weedslaughter.)

What are we gonna do? Well, besides get our new principal on board, get the teachers enthused and some kind of organized plan going? I mean what are we gonna do about the more immediate weed problem? I feel partly responsible. If I had taken initiative at the end of the school year, and offered to set up a schedule, this might not have happened. We have plenty of families here who want to help. It's a shame that the kids have to start school looking out the window at this mess. We're working on a plan, but I'm not sure anything will be ready in time for school to start in a month.

Sigh. At least with all the rain everything is well-watered.


June said...

Oh, don't torture yourself too much! It's such a great thing that your school HAS a garden at all, wow! You must have had to work hard and smart to make that happen. Even the weeds are a good lesson in nature reclaiming what we neglect -- and FAST.

Lzyjo said...

Don't blame yourself! The school is mostly responsible, for not allowing volunteers on the grounds. It's so difficult fighting bureaucracy!

Karen said...

Oh bummer! After all your hard work and lovely start. I do wonder about school gardens in the summer. We did a weeding/clean-up at the end of the year and put down a lot of wood chips anywhere there wasn't something actually growing. Not sure if that would help, probably not in a veggie patch, but maybe on the paths? So sorry you have to confront this, hope the school gets on board to allow access next summer and a rotating schedule with sign-ups sounds like a good idea. Don't beat yourself up! You are doing a good thing and everyone should be grateful. I would come help but I'm a bit too far away... :)

tut-tut said...

Get Alice Waters on the scene!!

Gail said...

Nature is a fast mover isn't she! I have a feeling that you'll get it back together and looking wonderful before long!...and the principal will be a garden-pal, too! gail

JGH said...

June, you have such a nice way of putting things. It IS better to look at it as a lesson learned.

Thanks, Liz - part of the reason is that our school is undergoing renovations. Usually it's not this difficult to get in.

Karen, great idea about the wood chips. I was trying to think of something that might smother the weeds. Or something that could be grown there instead that would be nice for the kids to walk on -like clover.

Tut, I'm reading her book right now. If only she were here! We are working with a consultant now who is supposed to meet with our principal soon, so that's very exciting!

Gail, thanks so much for your encouragement - I know we'll get it together but it does see overwhelming right now.

tina said...

Yes! The rain is keeping it well watered so one less task. Gardens need continuous maintenance so it is not surprising it has overgrown. You will get it up to par in no time. And the bonus was you didn't have to worry about it in the summer. Sometimes it's better to do a lot at one time than a little all summer.

PamHMG said...

I haven't tried this yet (but meaning to): putting old cardboard down on the pathways from saved shipping boxes in the pathways and then covering it with woodchips or some type of equivalent. My friend swears by it. I'd love to come by and help you. Let me know when you're going next...

JGH said...

Tina, yes - a lot at one time is what we're doing. We have no choice, I guess. Thanks for the encouragement.

Pam, that is a great idea! I did a little of that with newspapers in my front beds last year. Smothering them does seem to make the most sense.