I hope everyone had a good start to their school year. I have been very happy to get back into the garden with students. It seemed to me that the garden was missing its student care-takers. Not only do they do a great job of weeding, mulching, watering, and pruning, they also give something less tangible to the plants. Gratitude? Love? Wonder? Whatever you want to call it, the plants seem to drink it in like water.
Directly above, I have a photo that was taken by one of our lunch time gardeners. This lovely flower with its flat, pancake-shaped leaves is known as a Nasturtium. I included this photo with this post because it highlights some of the interesting conversations we have had in the garden this month. Students have begun the on-going task of weeding, and one of the questions that inevitably comes up is, "What is a weed?" This is not an easy question to answer, and so we usually wind up having a rather philosophical conversation about the subjectivity of weeds. Many plants that are branded as weeds provide us with valuable food or medicine, whereas others serve an important function for the health of the soil and surrounding plants and insects. If you delve into weeds even more deeply, you can discover that they actually reveal much about your soil such as Ph, nutrient load, relative wetness, etc. Some folks shiver at the thought of having nasturtiums in their yard because once you have them, you pretty much always have them (they are great self-seeders.) But, from my perspective this "weed" is pretty great. You can eat it, some insects love it, it adds bright color, it is super-hardy, and you will never, ever have to buy seeds for it! I think that this lesson of hidden value is a useful one for students (and really all of us.) I wonder how many things we look at as being junk or weeds, we could actually see value in if we just shift our perspective a bit?
On a more practical note, if you want to see some of our awesome weeds up close and personal, we are having a garden work day on October 5th from 3pm-5pm! Also, if you want to support the garden this year, but can't get our to our work days, please see our Help Our Garden Grow page to see what we need donated. And finally, if you have honed the art of gopher trapping, please help us out!! Gophers have eaten many of our precious pumpkins and made short work of many of our other veggies and herbs. We really need help with this issue and I am not above bribery: free-range, organic chicken eggs to whoever helps with this project!
Thanks all and see you in the garden!