Hanging out with a bunch of young'ns surely takes all of my strength! Guess I am no spring chicken (see what I did there?!)... : ) I needed one FULL DAY to recover!
As always, we had a great time yesterday here at Poof Dirt Farms during the Legacy Rhizome Kid's Garden Project 2021, Day 1!
In honor of The Legacy Rhizome ethos, we planted Peter & Kerman! Yes Pistachio Trees! We hope that these kids will remember the day, and everything they have learned at our farm as we all watch these trees grow. By the time these kids get old enough to drive, our pistachio trees will be bearing fruits (nuts) old enough to eat!
We covered a lot of ground in two hours! We searched the farm to see what was sprouting in our plots, learned to identify noxious weeds, learned about pest management, how to mix a neem oil solution to treat rose bushes that are infested with aphids, how to plant trees... the list goes on!
Our wonderful neighbor gave me some seeds a couple of hours before the kids showed up! So, we planted Blue Palo Verde tree seeds!
As I was teaching the kids, I noticed that few of the returning students from last years' project remembered what some of the noxious weeds are, and quickly identified them! Proud farmer moment!
Kids learn so quick! We need to focus on teaching them the RIGHT THINGS, watching them grow and flourish as beautiful human beings! We are so blessed to be able to assist our local youth with what we can give. Planting seeds for a better tomorrow!
The Rhizome is REAL!
October 16, 2020.
We covered a lot of ground today! There were 12 kids total today! A lot of new faces. Ranging in age from 4 years old to 15 years old. Some of the students' mystery seeds sprouted, so they were extremely excited about it.
First thing the kids did was update their farm logs. New members learned to do the same process. We were impressed by how prepared they were this time! No more flip flops, or sun dresses... They were wearing proper gardening attire! Working in the garden with a group of excited kids requires special attention. We have to make sure everyone is safe, nobody is left alone, everybody is having fun learning, nobody is destroying plants, and most importantly- no one is crying! Tough gig!
Once they finished their Farm Log updates, we moved on to pepper harvesting. Young ones are becoming pros! They really enjoyed harvesting peppers! They are starting to know the names of a variety of peppers, which ones are hot, which ones are their favorites... all of that! Parents were in our pepper field picking their favorites as well! After we spent about 30 minutes in the pepper field, we moved on to "Juicy Fruit Land." Kids already know where to go! They were running to get there as fast as they could! Their next target was cherry tomatoes! We encouraged them to pick it right off of the plant and eat them! Some in their mouth, some in their bucket... Each kid has their own bucket and a pair of scissors. They were exploring the whole garden to see what else they can pick. "Ms. Kay, what is this?" "Hey Pepper Master (my husband)! Is this pepper really really hot??" "Is this ready?" They were EVERYWHERE! Some kids were giving the updates to the new faces about what's going on in Juicy Fruit Land. All about how they harvested peanuts, big pumpkins, watermelons...
We harvested a lot of peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, and zucchini. We took those to outdoor kitchen in our backyard, and grilled our fresh picked veggies! Kids were learning how to use a knife and safely cut veggies, how to prepare the grill, how to start the fire in a camping situation, using pine needles and coal. Our goal is to teach kids how to be self- sufficient, so not only teaching them how to grow veggies, we are teaching how to survive in real-life situations.
After they enjoyed their quick BBQ'd veggies and hotdogs, it was time to burn some calories! They went back into the garden with their buckets! They love feeding our goats, so each kid filled up a bucket full of weeds. Some for the chickens, some for the goats, and some for the dumpster- they are noxious weeds... They were teaching each other what goats like to eat, what we need to throw away... We were little nervous! We were hoping they wouldn't pluck our little seedlings that have germinated so beautifully! But they know, and if they were not sure, they followed us and learned which ones are weeds and what they can pick out. Kids learn quickly! They were racing to fill up the buckets with weeds! Can you believe that? Everybody needs a GOAL! Their goal was to feed these cute little goats! Anything for the goats!
After they filled up their buckets, they all went to see the goats! "Choco!" "Latte!" Our goats are loving it! Bet our goats know when Friday comes! FEAST!!!!!! Make it RAIN, kids!!
And then, the Egg Relay! Crazy idea! We used our fresh eggs on a little teaspoon! Team Work! Kids were so careful not to drop the egg. Teammates were cheering for each other, and parents were filming and cheering for everyone. One little girl could not beat the pressure. She was trying so hard not to drop the egg, and she thought she was not good enough, so she started to cry and said "I can't do it..." Then one of the parents decided to give her a hand- or a pair of legs! He picked her up while she was still holding the egg on the spoon, and carried her through the entire course! Instantly, she got her cute smile back. This was a heartwarming moment for us all! Great parents, great kids!
After the race, was the final task of the day. Almond cracking! Our local farmer friend donated a lot of raw almonds to us, so we decided to do a little project. We prepared the instructions for germinating almond seeds. Each kid received 10 almonds. Their science project was to germinate the almond seeds. We are looking forward to hearing some good news! Take-home projects bring the farm home with the kids!
It's always pleasure to share our skills with the next generation. These kids are learning a lot! The reward is great. It's not always about money! It's about how many smiles we see from everybody!
Keep it locked, in our next blog, we will be discussing Downtown Cluckshaw, and how you can build great chicken coops with recycled pallets and corrugated steel roofing panels.
We built a town!!!
October 9, 2020. We had 7 kids today! The kids couldn't wait to play with Choco & Latte (Our goats). We saved that fun for the last part of the day. We went to work with the kids today! They clocked IN!
First, we used recycled pallets and made a small raised bed gardens for the kids. Each kid received 2 mystery seed packets. We taught them how to prepare the garden beds, and then we sowed seeds! Each kid picked their own plot, and sowed seeds anyway they wanted to. Straight lines, diagonally, squares, circles... Next, they learned how to line out and connect irrigation tubing. Of course, we used the old 1/2 inch irrigation tubing that we had laying around from other plots. Nothing is wasted on our farm. Recycle, reduce, re-use!
Each kid started their first "Farm Log". They chose their favorite winter crops from the Kid's Garden, and drew a picture of what each plant looked like for this week. Each week, they will update their log, so they can track the progress of their favorite veggies. They are responsible for their own row(s) now!
Next, we did some exercise to mix it up! Kids nowadays like to stay home, play video games, and stay indoors. That's not how it works around here! We did a harvest relay! Kids are screaming and cheering for their own teams! Parents were so supportive, and one of the parents actually joined in on the fun! Rules were simple. Each kid will receive a piece of paper right before their turn to run. On the paper, it will say which veggie and how many to harvest. We have 5 main plots that are currently active. The kids need to know which plot they need to run to harvest the specific type of veggie. They were so hyped up to go to the "corner store" to get the right kind of peppers. Then, a curve ball! They have to run to "Juicy Fruit Land" to get cherry tomatoes! They were running as fast as they could for their teams! Our objective for this game was to build teamwork and communication skills, as well as a crop identification drill with the class. They did very well!
Finally, the kids learned about weeds. We spend A LOT of time weeding our garden. During that time, we learn what kind of weeds are noxious weeds, which ones we can compost, and what types of weeds goats and chickens like to eat. Since they love to feed our goats, we did another game. "Tug of War" pulling weeds and separating them into 3 types. One for the goats, one for the chickens, and one to the dumpster. Usually, nobody likes pulling weeds. We don't! However, turning that into a game, they were all about it! They were so interested in pulling weeds for Choco/Latte, so at the end, they were able to feed them! Fun and exciting moments!
October 2, 2020.
Our First Kid's Community Garden gathering. 8 kids and 8 adults showed up. Kids were so excited to start gardening with us!
We gave them a garden tour, they played with our goats, and then we got to work! We gave each kid a bucket and a pair of scissors, and taught them how to harvest peppers! They learned how to identify which ones were ready to pick, as well as how to cut them off of the plant. Once they got used to it, they were all about it! Out of nowhere, we started to hear kids laughing and screaming! Guess what they were doing? They were eating hot peppers right off of the plants! Serrano peppers, Thai Hot peppers, Scotch Bonnets, Banana Peppers, Chipotles, Poblanos... You name it! All it takes is one adult kid (my Husband) to start some trouble! Parents were shocked to see their kids, who normally never like eating peppers or "spicy" things start eating them! I was impressed when they didn't even miss a beat! Future chili growers! We do not use any chemicals for our veggies, so they can just wipe them off and eat them!
From the "Corner Store," we headed to "Juicy Fruit Land" to harvest peanuts! The kids were yanking entire plants out of the ground! Little kids were teaming up with one another and pulling them out! Then, I heard "Gross, WORMS!!!" A teachable moment, the kids learned about "good worms" and "bad worms." Earthworms are very important! After they learned that earthworms are our friends, their fears of wiggling creatures lifted, and they kept right at it!
Next, we sowed Winter Rye and Garbanzo Beans in our "Sacrificial Land" plot. This will help amend the native soil. These crops work to grow bigger crops in the spring, and can be harvested for food. Double win! While we were in the fields, we also played with irrigation lines. We didn't get too wet, which bummed a few kids out. Maybe next spring, they can get soaked when we repair damaged lines!
We covered a lot in 2 hours!
A moment that warmed my heart was when a family donated a 6 pack of Pansies to the Kid's Garden! We planted 6 Pansies where they decided to plant them. Kids were fighting to put these little plants in the ground!
At the end, everybody took some of their favorite peppers home. They were telling us how they are going to cook them. I am pretty sure parents were shocked to hear kids excited about eating peppers!
We were so thrilled to see the kids enjoying every minute of their experience! They followed the rules. Especially the one about having fun! Also, washing hands between each task, before the water break, and at the end of our time together. Making sure we have good, clean fun!
We can't wait to see everyone next week! We are off to a great start!