The much talked about Edible Schoolyard associated with Alice Waters at the Martin Luther King School (mouthful!) is a little over a mile from my house. It’s open to the public daily and every once in a while me and my partner go there for inspiration, or to hang with the chickens, or to generally laze around enjoying the garden.
The garden is a reclaimed acre of blacktop that was transformed into this outdoor classroom. The kids have science classes there, natural history lessons and participate in the kitchen classroom where they learn how to grow, harvest and prepare the vegetables and herbs. Yesterday there was everything from the obvious growing there, like basil, tomatoes, potatoes and chard to the unusual – weeping mulberries, amaranth and even some grains. I took some pictures to show you…In the center of the garden there is a huge round structure that has strawbales placed in a circle for teaching classes. In the center are gorgeous ruffled pink opium poppies (to calm the kids!?) and the shade overhead is provided by this enormous kiwi vine pictured here on the left. Yesterday the kiwis were just forming.
I used to take care of a kiwi vine and they are so vigorous in growth and produce more kiwis then any one individual could possible eat. They have an odd smell though, but totally worth it.
The kids run this garden. They do the planting, the harvesting, the loving and the living that help gardens really take off. While wandering around the back of the garden I saw this collection of unused signs. Special, right?
They also do all the propagating. A lot of the starts are just left out in the open near the greenhouse, like these artichoke plants. I really appreciate the trust involved. The entire garden is open to the public outside of school hours and is completely unmonitored. If someone really needed food they could find it here, and that seems intentional.
Another structure I like is a long covered archway constructed out of hog wire. I’m not so good at measuring, but I’d say it’s about 15 to 20′ long and it is covered in sweet peas. They’re all blooming right now and it smells so good in there. I love the idea, so simple and such a great addition to a garden.
Not my favorite picture, but I included it so you would get the idea. It was a bad time of the day for plant picture taking! Here’s a close up from the inside.
Well, this post is getting a little long so I’ll leave you with this picture of a portable chicken coop. The construction of it is functional and beautiful. The chickens can be moved anywhere in the garden to rotate where they are, ahem, fertilizing.
They have about 15 chickens and a rooster in the back of the school yard. There are a lot of different varieties and I headed back to get some pictures and audio, but there was a lady back there drinking a 40 and chatting them up. She kept telling them over and over they were all just lady roosters. Urban ecology is a complicated thing.
There’s also a pond with a pump that is solar powered, an outdoor bread oven and a native plant garden planted around the perimeter. So I guess, I’ll go back there again soon and talk about the rest!