Children have always loved gardens!
CHILDREN’S HARVEST CELEBRATION
sponsored by the Garland Exchange Club and Loving Garland Green*
Saturday October 28 - 1-3PM
Garland Community Garden - 4022 Naaman School Rd - Garland, TX
Rain Check: Same time, same place Sunday October 29.
*Loving Garland Green are the official stewards of the Garland Community Garden
A fun and educational experience for your child
The Garland Community Garden is a lovely somewhat ragtag sustainable organic place in Garland beloved by many--especially children. If you’ve never witnessed the sheer joy of a child in the garden, then we invite you to bring a child—your own, your grandchild, nephew, niece or even a neighbor’s child to the Garland Community Garden for our 2017 Harvest Celebration. This year our celebration is especially geared for children—although we promise a good time for adults as well. We will be harvesting our sweet potatoes at this festival. However, sweet potatoes are not our only harvest. This year we have been harvesting food from this garden since early May and to date we have donated over 600 pounds to charity.
Parents Please take note: We have no potties at the garden. We ask that you take your child to the potty prior to this two-hour event.
We will have several tables set up throughout the garden as stations:
Garland Community Garden - October 20, 2017
At this station children will have the opportunity to learn all about pollinators and the important role they play in our food chain. You can expect to still see many monarchs, other butterflies and native bees flying about the flowers. I will be the Loving Garland Green Captain of this station. Although I'm not the club's butterfly netting aficionado I'll demonstrate how butterflies are netted, tagged and then recorded for research. Children will also learn how to tell a Monarch from two other imposters; all about the metamorphosis of the Monarch. Activities at this station include posing for a photo as a monarch; learning the universal hand sign for the Monarch; and coloring a butterfly fan if they like. Our take away from this table will be a handout on pollinators, a butterfly fan and some wildflower seeds to plant.
MAKER ACTIVITIES AT THE GARDEN
Making things is fun! Just ask any kid and most adults. However collaborating with others to make things is even more fun. We are offering two opportunities for those who come to our event to make things with others: A community garden sculpture for our community garden and the opportunity to write your message on our community blackboard.
Make a Community Sculpture
It's fun to be part of making something permanent. A friend of mine from California sent me this photo of a rock sculpture. In case you want to make one in your own yard: 1) Hammer a rebar into the ground about two feet. 2) Collect enough stones that when piled on top of each other will equal the length of the rebar 3) Using a concrete bit, drill holes in each rock a little bigger than the diameter of the rebar 4) Slide them on and 5) make a cap stone by drilling only half way through the rock. Put glue on it and place on the top of the sculpture.
We will prepare beforehand by having the rebar in the ground and a box of rocks with holes drilled in them. Parents can hold their child up to slide the rock down the rebar.
Sustainable Repurposing in Action: Ruined White Board transformed into new blackboard.
Tell the World What You Think
As you wander through the garden, you'll see all the many ways our organization supports the sustainable practice of reusing things--from the IBC totes reused as planters to food grade barrels cut in half for pots. The Garland Community Garden blackboard I'm creating today is no different. A couple of years ago I made Charlie stop and help me put a large white board that someone had left curbside into the back of the truck. We used it as a large sign to announce various events but then last year, in too much of a rush, I accidentally wrote on the board with permanent marker to announce our November leaf campaign. Today I'm morphing the white board into a black board. At the children's event we will invite people to write messages and draw pictures on the board. If we run out of room we will take a snapshot of the board and erase the half of it containing the oldest messages and drawings.
Fifty Sweet potatoes purchased at the Garland Firewheel farmers market - October 21, 2017
Sweet Potato Harvest 2 PM
At 2PM all the stations will close for half an hour and we will all go to the area near our Children's Garden where there are 10 large pots of sweet potatoes that we have been growing since May. The will be emptied on the ground and the children will have the opportunity to find and harvest a sweet potato from the pile. Some folks don't know this, but they will learn. Sweet potatoes need to sit somewhere in the dry dark for a week to ten days prior to eating so their full flavor will develop. It is recommended to gently brush the dirt off with your hands, but not to wash or scrub the potato as their skins are very thin when first harvested. If you eat a sweet potato immediately after harvesting you will be disappointed at its rather tasteless flavor. Jane Stroud, President of Loving Garland Green purchased fifty sweet potatoes at our local farmers market because 1) It's difficult to predict how many children will come and 2) It's impossible to know the count of our harvest at this point because it's all underground. However we want to ensure that every child has a sweet potato to take home.
Children love the loofah tunnel even when there are no loofahs in it. Here is a class of 69 Beaver MST students touring the garden earlier in the year in April. The loofah vines had not get begun to climb. Today it is covered in vines, blooms and loofahs.
Charlie is captain of our loofah station as he should be. He is the one who installed both tunnels--with a little help from me. At Charlie's station visitors will get to see an older loofah peeled, a younger loofah eaten, and if we still have loofah blooms we will have a demonstration of someone eating a loofah blossom. We will be giving away information on loofahs as well as loofah seeds.
Loofah are a versatile maker material. What can you do with a loofah? A lot of things: you can eat it, you can bathe with it, you can scrub your dishes with it, you can eat the blossoms and make a bouquet out of them. Many environmentally conscious consumers appreciate that loofah products are biodegradable, natural, and a renewable resource. In many other countries loofah is also used to make household cleaning products for scrubbing pots, pans, barbecue grills, tires, and many other surfaces that are not harmed by the abrasive fibers. The tough fibers can also be processed into industrial products such as filters, insulation, and packing materials. Craft shows often exhibit dolls, hats, toys, and other decorative items made from loofah sponges. Their use, it would appear is only limited by our imagination.
Teosinte - ancestor of modern day corn grew to over 12 feet tall - August 2017 Garland Community Garden
Jane is the captain of our corn station. At this station visitors will have the opportunity to grind corn as ancient people did. We will have stones available as grinding tools as well as mortar and pestles. Corn seeds will be given away.
This year down at the garden we had two corn patches. In one plot we planted three different varieties of corn: Black Aztec; Oaxacan Green; and Burpees Bantam. We ended up sharing almost exactly half of our corn crop (17 ears) with the critters down at the garden. Our small patch (about 8 foot by 8 foot) produced 37 ears of corn.
In another plot we planted Teosinte, the ancient mother of all corn. It thrived and most of the stalks in the patch grew to over 12 feet tall. The ears of this ancient parent of today's corn however are not anything like the ears of corn we find in the grocery store today. If you don't know, you'll have to come to the garden next Saturday and see for yourself.
Corn Lessons Learned
We did learn gardening lessons that we will share with local Garland gardeners: Aztec Black, Oaxacan Green, and Burpee's Bantam corn grow very well in our area. They can be grown closely together and they produce two ears per stalk, which is great. All are from open pollinated, heirloom seed. Unless you want to share your corn with critters, fence it in. We may try that next year, but then we are a wildlife habitat as well so perhaps we should continue to share as long as the critters do not take more than half.
There will be a refreshment station. We are offering water and packaged treats that are peanut-free, non GMO, gluten-free, and sugar free. (I know it doesn't sound very tempting, does it? I remember the days at events like this where everyone brought delicious unhealthy home baked goodies and we all survived somehow didn't we? Oh well. }
We hope to see you at 4022 Naaman School Road at 1PM on Saturday.*