Three weeks ago the garden club students learned how to take a soil sample to send to the IFAS extension office for evaluation to see what needs to be added to the soil to make it more fertile for vegetables. They also collected a soil sample in a large glass jar, added water to fill the jar and shook it to thoroughly mix the soil and water. This was left for a week to settle to see how much of the mixture was sand, how much soil and how much clay and humus. Sand is heaviest and settles to the bottom first. Soil settles on top of the sand. The smaller, lighter clay particles settle on top of the soil. The humus, remains of plants, floats on top.
The following week when we met to look at the layers in the jar and to discuss the soil results. We found that the soil has some sand, very little clay but a thick layer of soil. We were joined that week by Ms. Lesley Allen and Ms. Lois McLane from the Town N Country garden circle who have volunteered to help us. After examining the soil sample, we took them to the garden so they could see the size of the area and get an idea of the environment. We also showed them the compost pile and explained what we are doing to maintain it.
Our plan for the garden is to have the lower level developed into a butterfly garden with the younger elementary students caring for it with the help of Ms. McLane and Ms. Allen. The garden club students will each be assigned a row or two to weed, plant and maintain in the upper level.
Two weeks ago Ms. Allen and Ms. McLane worked with the grade 2 students to weed the lower section. After school, the garden club students transplanted tomatoes from the lower section to the upper section, and they put down newspaper and mulch around the tomatoes to stop weed growth. In the lower section of the garden, the garden club students planted plants brought in by Ms. Allen and Ms. McLane. Some of these plants will provide food for the caterpillars and some will provide food for the butterflies.