Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Garden Update.

Banana Row, growing in nicely. Soon enough we will be seeing the fruits of our labor. (Literally!)

Sugarcane, looking good. Be careful though, the edges of these grass-like leaves are lined with razor-sharp barbs.

A young papaya tree.

Hot banana peppers, flourishing in the pepper patch.

Cowhorn peppers.

The mulberries have been a huge hit with the kids (and staff) at TROY. Everyone keeps a close eye on this young tree, looking out for the sweet, ripe black berries. Mmmm...

Sunflowers so big and heavy they can't hold their heads up!

Our newest student Elijah helps pull weeds from the elephant compost pile.

This is what's left of our second load of Parks Department mulch. Mulch is vital in the garden, especially during the summer months. It protects the soil from the intense heat of the sun, keeping roots moist and preventing weeds from taking over. As it breaks down, the mulch becomes vital organic matter, which improves the quality of the soil. We recently acquired a new pitchfork and a new, larger wheelbarrow (shown here), which makes moving mulch so much easier.

Maggie plants a Hawaiian papaya seedling on the west side of the school.

Prepping the Pineapple Plantation

Fernando spreads mulch in preparation for planting pineapples. We opted not to dig up the grass, but rather to smother it with mulch (way too hot for that much work!) Pineapples are a delicious and healthy treat, high in vitamins and oh so refreshing. It takes over a year for plants to bear fruit, but it's well worth the wait, as organic pineapples can run over $6 each at the market.

All the pineapple tops Whole Foods Market donated this winter are rooted and ready for planting. We have over 30.

Demonstrating proper pineapple planting technique: Dig a hole and place the rooted pineapple top inside. Fill with soil, surround with mulch, add water and watch it grow.

Line 'em up and drop 'em in. Teamwork.

21 heads of pineapple. The beginnings of a plantation!

Bamboo with Gary Rich

Gary "The Bamboo Man" Rich (right) came out on an off Saturday to help us plant some bamboo trees he donated. We planted them behind the basketball court, to eventually provide a visual barrier between TROY and the detention center. Thanks Gary!

Place the tree's root ball in the hole, and fill in with soil.

Ms. Arias finishes the black bamboo with a nice layer of mulch. Looks fun!