Workdays at the 24th St Garden are some of the best days. True, there are tons of extra hands, so we can get a lot of gardening work done. But more importantly, they're a great chance for us to connect with the broader community -- to meet parents and show them what we do, to bring friends and family and curious strangers in to the garden and, well, show them what we do, too. We build relationships during workdays that are invaluable to the success of our program.
We recently had such a workday.
Parents and volunteers came in to help and watch. Here, you can see students planting fava beans, one of our favorite cover crops, as the grown-ups look on.
Of course, we also pulled boatloads of weeds from the circle garden and pounds of grass from the kitchen garden. We yanked out dead sunflowers and summer crops, and whatever else was past its prime. And then, things got exciting.
Paula White of Organic Control donated hordes of beneficial insects for the garden.
We released fleets of ladybugs onto our brassicas and strawberries (to control aphids):
which we later investigated closely with magnifying glasses:
We also released worms into a bed we're amending. They'll help replenish and aerate the soil:
And we set free some snails which eat the snails that eat our plants.
Despite the addition of all these carnivorous insects into the garden (it's for the protection of the plants! Honest!) we do strive to make our space one of community. We want people from all walks of life to feel acceptance and belonging in the garden. The workdays are a chance to demonstrate that desire, and for people to come in and feel it for themselves. And it seems to be working. This grasshopper, for example, has made herself right at home, as we hope other insects and people will continue to. That's how we know we're doing something right.