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Members of the North Garland High School Environmental Club pose in front of the 100 Square Foot Garden, A Citizen Scientist joint project with Loving Garland Green – Garland Community Garden March 26, 2017

Kickoff for Citizen Scientist Project at the Garland Community Garden!

Sunday afternoon marked the official kickoff for a joint Citizen Scientist project to be undertaken by Loving Garland Green and the members of North Garland High School Environmental Club over the next seven months. 

Close up of planting tiny seeds such as turnips and carrots:  The night before the seeds were placed with proper spacing on strips of cheap (not the tough kind) paper towels. Then another wet strip of paper towel was placed on top.  We put them in gallon freezer bags (one for all the seeds to be planted in each square foot.)

On Sunday, members from the North Garland High School Environmental Club worked under the leadership of Jane Stroud, President of Loving Garland Green and Shannon Lawless, President of the Environmental Club to install plants and seeds in 44 of the 100 square feet of this plot.  This bed is four feet wide and twenty-five feet long.  On Saturday members of Loving Garland Green amended the soil and divided 44 square feet into one-foot squares using string and wooden stakes.  On Sunday the students planted 44 square feet of the garden with vegetable seeds and transplants.  They the planned the plants to be installed in the remaining 54 square feet of this plot and divided the remainder of the garden plot into square feet using stakes and string as marker.  Those seeds and plant will be installed this week.

  

A portion of the 44 square feet planted on Sunday.  (Each square represents one square foot of the garden.)

The goal of this project is to determine just how much food can be grown in a small urban space—and at what savings or cost to the grower.  This group of Citizen Scientists will keep records of the produce—in weight and value.  At the conclusion of the project during the first week in November, after sweet potatoes are harvested, the group will publish a report on the results.

One of the many purposes of this project is to support Loving Garland Green’s mission to increase the number of people in our community who grow some of the food they eat by providing a tangible proof of concept as to “what’s in it for those who garden in Garland.” 

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Another Sunday Scene at the Garland Community Garden—not Medieval Times.  Those are beanpoles being held by this Garland family—not jousting sticks! [The beanpoles are bamboo that we harvested from a vacant lot in Garland that is being cleared for construction.  This Garland family is taking the beanpoles and free Kentucky Wonder seeds home with them to begin their own beanpole forest.]

Beanpole Mania and Container Gardening in Garland

It’s really amazing just how much food can be grown in the tiniest of urban spaces and members of Loving Garland Green are out to show our community just how true this is.  As part of our kickoff yesterday, we invited the public to come to the Garland Community Garden to view the installation of plants and seeds in our Citizen Scientist bed and while they were there, to also pick up some beanpoles and free Kentucky Wonder Green Bean seeds. 

In a tiny space of 3 feet by 3 feet a family of four can grow all the green beans their family can eat.  Pole beans, unlike bush beans, will continue to produce beans (as long as you harvest them) from late May until the first frost.  They will slow down production a bit in late July and all of August, but they will pick up again in the fall. 

Beans are easy and one of the most forgiving vegetables you can plant.  All you need to do is amend the soil where they are to be planted with a little expanded shale or perlite.  Dig a 15-inch hole for the beanpole and pack it in covering with soil firmly packed around the pole.  Make four small hills around the pole and plant a bean in each hill.  Water and watch grow.

 

Jane Stroud, President Loving Garland Green, and students look at beanpoles in pot:  You can even grow pole beans in a pot.  Come down to the garden to see the trellis we have made for one of our pots.  Loving Garland Green will be installing eight of these beanpole pots at the Good Samaritans of Garland in April.

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