By Greg Beach, CitySprouts Garden Coordinator
At this time last year, we were shoveling snow off of our compost bins and garden beds. Thanks to an historically powerful El Niño season, our unusually warm winter has come to an end and an early spring is upon us. Each school is doing its part to get our gardens ready for spring.
At the Mather School in Dorchester, students are cleaning up our outdoor classroom and using seaweed, locally sourced from nearby Savin Hill Beach, to improve soil fertility. At the Tobin School near Fresh Pond in Cambridge, students will be adding beneficial nematodes to our soil so that these microscopic roundworms can hunt down garden pests.
On the other side of Fresh Pond, students at the Haggerty School are planting and labeling peas so that they can measure and graph the growth of these spring staples. The King Open School has moved from its beautiful courtyard garden to a cozier space at the old Longfellow School while their building is renovated and rebuilt. Students will be getting acquainted with the new garden and helping spread the word that this garden belongs to all of them and that they all must care for it.
Daffodils and crocuses have bloomed while tulips are not far behind. Chives, walking onions, and garlic, alliums all, have also sprouted. Carrot, kale, collard and cilantro plants have survived the winter and will soon blossom, then drop their seeds. On still-cold mornings, our compost bins emit steam, a sign of active decomposition. The birds are back and soon, the leaves will be too. The students, the teachers, and myself are all looking forward to another exciting season in our learning gardens.