The plethora of tomato plants that have provided endless buckets of bounty were now at the end of their life cycle and ready to be 'chopped and dropped'. A team of enthusiastic 9th graders took the initiative to make sure all the ripe tomatoes left were saved, rotten tomatoes were placed in another container to add to our compost and the remaining plant material was cut into smaller portions the size of their finger (also known as the 'rule of thumb') and placed back on top of the soil where they were once growing; hence the term, 'chop and drop'. In completing this amazing task, the tomato team took many wheel-barrel loads of carbon rich mulch to close in the loads nitrogen, which will establish a cycle that will bring the tomato leaves to become the soil once again.
We had plenty of hands that were eager to plant seeds as well. Although the majority of the plants that have been established in Gateway Garden have been from starts, positive attitudes were presented and with the establishment of our drip line irrigation, the seeds have more of a chance to be stimulated and sprout.
As the sun continued to rise upon this amazing Saturday, more hands were on deck as we were presented with the tools and material to build a water catchment system! Power tools were complimented with smiles and first timers using these kind of tools for such awesome realities!
The garden club has been desiring more signs throughout the garden, and the wood-shop club was incredibly kind in helping create this reality. the club came over the week before and harvested wood that wasn't being used and cut them down to the perfect size for positive words and plant names. Today we were presented with paint, paint brushes and a list of names to creatively paint on the signs. This was a really beautiful activity to take part in between jobs, as well a fun way to relax and take in the synergy that was occurring.
Another reality that was presented on this successful work day was the material to make a wall on the west side of the green house!!! Nicknamed the 'wind tunnel', this green house was exactly that.... and now! with the help of neighbors and students, we have a North wall, providing protection from the wind AND providing warmth! this green house has officially become a green home and the potential for the safety of seedling growing into healthy amazing plants is now finalized!
With rotten tomatoes comes more opportunity to get messy and productive all at the same time. tomatoes tend to be squirt-tastic, especially when one is trying to break them down before placing into the compost cycle. Although some clothes got pretty dirty, the smiles didn't fade and the connection simultaneously grew.
As the sun continued through the sky, slowly reaching the horizon of the Western buildings, our bellies were filled with pizza and salad topped with ingredients from the garden, our fingernails with plenty of dirt underneath them, and a bigger sense of accomplishment and connection throughout all of us. We even had a special Garden Club initiation, which involved all hands in a bucket of tomatoes and so much laughter.....
Reflecting back on the day, I heard a number of times "yeah teamwork!" chime in from different locations of the garden. yes! It truly is a beautiful reality when community choses to come out, especially on a weekend, to contribute to a larger purpose and vision.