If you have not had the privilege of visiting the historic little town of Casmalia, home to the famous Hitching Post Restaurant, and now a beautiful new garden at Orcutt Academy K-8 Charter School, you are officially invited! Approximately 90 students (the entire student body) have been busy planting 9 raised beds with potatoes, onions, berries, lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet peas, radishes, and peppers. All this progress would not have been possible without the dedication of Ramsey Cronk (Installation and Garden Management Coordinator) and his team, and a talented group of volunteers who on February 25, 2012, our official Garden Work Day, created a peaceful, beautiful garden that will be a blessing for many who enter, experience, learn and partake. I thank you all! I was taught that children learn by doing…. and doing they are. K-2 students are becoming campus arborists as they identify and care for three evergreen citrus trees, a “mystery” deciduous fruit tree, a pomegranate tree, and a fruitless plum tree. Their duties are to water, fertilize, prune and watch them grow into healthy specimens. Lemonade is in our future! The 3rd-5th grade students have spent considerable time sowing seeds indoors and have transplanted them to the garden. I envision this group growing herbs and learning to prepare them fresh and dried. The 6-8th grade students will be charged with learning all aspects of our irrigation system. Several students have installed the drip lines in four of our beds and are becoming familiar timer setting as well. While waiting for our tree stump seats to arrive and more formal lessons to begin, we all spend some time hanging out in the garden on Fridays watching birds, cattle, toads, gophers and insects, wondering if and when tiny seeds will sprout, bare-root berries will produce, and potato buds will burst through the soil. They still can’t believe potatoes have eyes! This garden is a peaceful place where students can find both tranquility and adventure all in the same day. May they love this place.
Diane Brand, GEM