A lot of time has passed since my last update, which means a lot has happened! Ill do my best to recount the events & workings.

At this point, the vast majority of all transplanting has been completed with the exception of a few cucumbers & melons.  All in all the students have transplanted nearly 3500 tomato plants, 1250 pepper plants, 550 flowers, 250 various herbs, 200 Okra & 100 Eggplant.  They also started nearly 3000 seeds of various types! 

With all of the transplanting, the students have and are learning the importance of watering.  When you factor in the amount plants transplanted and roughly 115 Hanging Baskets, they are spending a lot of time watering.  We use the bottom soak method, in which we fill up totes with water/fertilizer (Fish Emulsion) and submerge the flat/basket and when the top of the potting mix becomes wet, we remove.  Our method is very cumbersome but it allows for the plants to adequately soak up the nutrients, plus watering overhead at the time of day the students are present, would severely damage the plants. 

During this period, we were able to successfully install our shade cloth, which has created a much more manageable environment.  Chris & Jason were present during the installation and learned how to tie a Farmer’s Knot or Box Knot (Although im not sure if they would remember), in order to extend a piece of rope.  We also were able to do a little physical labor in which the students had to shovel out some dirt in anticipation of mulch to be applied to the perimeter of the greenhouse.

As Mother’s Day quickly approaches the students have been heavily involved with the pruning & maintenance of our Hanging Baskets.  Some of our weaker baskets have been pulled off the racks and we trimmed all the blooms & some of the shoots in order to allow the plant to fill out.  This is in hopes of having a few baskets to linger around till Memorial Day.

With the weeks going by, I have seen a great maturation in the students.  They are learning valuable life lessons that will take them far.  Accountability & Responsibility are the 2 areas with the greatest level achievement.  They are picking up the phone and calling me in advance, where as earlier, the phone would not ring and I would be left wondering.

Starting this week, we will be moving out into the field to start planting field crops.  The students will learn & be directly involved in the establishment of a gravity fed watering system with staged storage tanks, fencing, planting of vegetable plants & seeds, staking of plants, mulching and Chickens!  Im excited to be moving the students into the field and should create alot of great stories for the students.

Again, thank you for the opportunity to work with the students and have a great week,

Todd Howard