In the Beginning…

By Phyllis Odessey

This is an update on the transformation of The Learning Garden.  Tomorrow we will be constructing  6 raised beds, a gourd tunnel, adding to our bitter melon trellis, creating the second rice paddy and fencing in the entire garden with volunteers from Community Team Works.

Pictured left is the beginning of the gourd tunnel, which will be 16 ft. long.  Kids from our Edible Education Program will be able to walk under the gourds and other flowers growing up the tunnel structure.
This new space is over 3,000 square feet and brings the total area of The Learning Garden to 15,000 sq. ft..  The pink paint is the outline for the raised beds.  The beds are far enough apart to provide access for kids and any disabled visitors.
The rice paddy (see photo below) proved the most challenging.  The ground is uneven in all parts of the garden but the first course of the rice paddy we wanted to be level.
James Burns, Nick Storrs, Anil Chandrakumar, Jean Hurkin-Torres and Fred Mark worked on the first brick course yesterday and  succeeded in leveling the ground below.
Besides  construction projects, we will be filling the beds with soil, planting new veg and adding mulch to all the areas where you see landscape fabric.

The second expansion of The Learning Garden in two years is a testament to the popularity of the program on Randall’s Island.   We now have a waiting list of teachers and students that want to participate.  We are making every effort to accommodate everyone.

Standing still  is not one of the characteristics of The Learning Garden staff.  We are constantly in motion.  The new section will feature a “cranberry bog and new system of growing vegetables in milk crates.  An innovative method of growing vegs   from Zach Pickens at Riverpark Farm.

“A journey of thousand miles must begin with a single step.” Lao Tzu
We are on the second step.


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