Kids’ Organic Gardening, Seed Starting and Prairie Exploration  子どもたちの有機栽培、種まきと草原の冒険

Below is a report from our nature educator, Paurnami Handler. The full slideshow is here.


“Our first ABK garden work day brought warm winds and a few rain sprinkles– sure signs that spring is coming!  We spent the morning preparing 5 small garden beds by the cafeteria building for planting veggies, and an additional garden bed for flowers outside the gym.  It was hard work digging up the sod and loosening the soil by hand, but our cheerful and enthusiastic group of volunteers (11 adults and 6 kids) all enjoyed the hands-on gardening experience.


The children were delighted to meet new garden “friends” such as worms and other soil critters while digging.


After preparing the beds, we added dark, rich mushroom compost and mixed it into the topsoil.  Hopefully in the near future we will be able to use compost generated onsite in the garden.  The sod that was removed will be used later this spring in a composting workshop at MACC.  Nature teaches us that “waste” from one activity can serve as “food” for another.


During ABK class that afternoon, we planted the first seeds in our garden beds– cool weather crops including spinach, lettuce, garlic chives, carrots, and sugar snap peas.  Yum!  We also planted watermelon and basil seeds in pots indoors.  The children learned that garden plants have different needs– some can grow in cool weather, and some need to be planted only in warm weather.  They also noticed that seeds come in all shapes and sizes, and learned that they should be planted in the soil at different depths.



We also discussed how to best use the space in our garden, and decided to intercrop plants that use space underground and at the ground surface (ie. carrots), and plants that grow up and use vertical space (ie. sugar snap peas).  Before planting the seeds, we examined the soil in our garden beds and found particles of sand, clay, and organic matter, as well as plant roots and soil invertebrates.  We are pleased with the quality of soil in the garden!  The children then rotated between the garden beds and had a chance to plant some of each type of seeds.  After planting, we formed a large circle around the garden and chanted Lokah Samastah Sukino Bhavantu to wish our new plants well and to pray for peace.


庭にある畑のスペースをどのように効率よく使うかも意見を交わし、土の中と土の表層部分の空間を必要とする根菜類(ニンジンなど)と、上にまっすぐ伸びる空間を必要とするマメ科の植物(スナップエンドウなど)を一緒に植えて混作することにしました。種を植える前に私たちは、床土にある土を観察してみました。土には砂の粒、粘土、それに有機物、更に植物の根っこや土壌無脊椎動物が含まれていました。私たちの庭は上質な土に恵まれていて、とてもありがたいです!子供たちは床土の間を交代しながら、色々な種類の植え方を体験しました。種まきの後は畑の周りをみんなが大きな円になって囲み、新しく植えた植物が順調に育つように願い、平和を祈りながら ローカーハ サマスターハ スキノ バヴァントゥ(生きとし生けるものすべてが幸福でありますように)を唱えました。

Our ABK nature class would not be complete without an exploring adventure!  After we finished the garden planting and the wind calmed down, we noticed a loud chorus of chirping coming from the prairie.  Could it be crickets?  No, we remembered that it’s too early in the spring for those prairie invertebrates.  It must be the chorus frogs!  We excitedly ventured into the prairie to follow the sound of the frogs, marking our path with wire flags. 


We soon found ourselves next to a prairie pothole wetland hosting hundreds of calling chorus frogs.  Though we ventured close to the water’s edge (and had wet feet to prove it!), we were unable to see the frogs due to their small size and excellent camouflage. 


After listening to their singing and exploring the pond’s edge for some time, we headed back through the prairie, following the flag trail to find our way.  We wonder how long it will be before the frog eggs hatch into tadpoles, and we hope to return to the pond in the next month or two to find out. 


Warmth, rain, earth, seeds, open water, singing frogs… we gratefully welcome spring and new life to MACC.”



One thought on “Kids’ Organic Gardening, Seed Starting and Prairie Exploration  子どもたちの有機栽培、種まきと草原の冒険

  1. Pingback: Kids’ Trash Cleanup Day | Life in Chicago Ashram

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