Last week the St. Francis Garden and Ecology Club members got out shovels to prepare the soil for the garden. We created the paths to walk on, and heaped up soil to build the rows for the seeds. We placed newspapers, 4-6 pages thick, on the paths and then covered them with cypress mulch. The newspapers help to stop the weeds from growing in the paths between the rows. The mulch does the same and holds the newspapers in place. Both the newspapers and mulch also help to hold moisture.
We cannot buy fertilizer at this time of the year in Hillsborough County Fl. The new limitation is to cut back on the amount of fertilizer flowing into Tampa Bay during the heavy late summer rains. We can buy potting soil, so we mixed a little potting soil with the soil in the rows before planting the seeds. Students read the back of the seed packages to find how deep to plant the seeds and how far apart. They measured carefully to try to get the correct depth and placement for the bush bean, carrot and beet seeds. We also planted some flowering plants that were brought in by Dominic, one of the club members. The upper level of the garden will be planted in vegetable seeds. The lower level will be planted in flowers to develop a wildlife habitat, especially for the butterflies.