Friday, 11 July 2014

Working at the LCI PACT Gardens

My experience with the LCI garden started in grade 9 when a friend dragged me there to volunteer, I enjoyed experience and kept going even when my friends stopped. In grade 10 the garden was bulldozed to put in the stone path in the above picture, seeing and participating in rebuilding it has taught me many things.

Today in the summer, the garden is lush with life. We harvest crops every week and the gains are big. The thing that blows my mind is that this Garden is actually one of many all part of a program called 'Grow to Learn', and this program is also just one of many at an organization called PACT.

Working in the Garden is a demanding but extremely fun job. It involves a mix of different skills. Most of the time is spent weeding. One weed that is very invasive and large problem for us is quack-grass.

The roots are extremely long and dense, pulling it out is a hassle because more can grow from any part of it left behind. In the picture you can see a sample I pulled out: the root is at least 2 and a half feet long. There is another sample pictured, the ending of the root: they are sharp in order to punch through the soil at a rapid pace.

Weeding can can also take place on large scale, upcoming in the next week: we are sheet mulching most of the garden; a process that covers weeds and troubled areas in cardboard and soil. This gets into the construction we do, this week we put up a trellis so that the peas we plant have something to grow on.

Another thing that happens is that we travel to work at other gardens and go to markets so nothing ever gets old. Markets are extremely fun, to the point that an 11 hour day feels like nothing at all. The amount of diversity in markets is really amazing, you can take some pretty cool souvenirs home

The thing is while you work you can eat many of the plants there for snacks, and sometimes you can take some of the harvest home but my favorite part has to be the secret strawberry patch near the back (pictured above). Hardworking volenteers get one, and at the end of the day it is a nice treat.

--Guest post by Anton Bekker

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