Thursday, April 12, 2018

Olla Pots at Prince

Do you know about them?
They are porous, unglazed pots with lids.  You put them in the raised garden bed or container, fill the rest of the area with soil, and plant around the olla.  When you fill the olla with water and replace the lid on top, osmosis does the rest.

It's capillary action bringing the water from inside outside ..... or, as the kids at Prince said, it's absorbing...... it's leaking..... it's changing color.

Science is fun when you are in the garden with dirty hands.

The playground aide has issues with lots of kids within the fence; I make a big show of counting the number of helpers I have.  Though they are tortured by the fact that they can't come over the fence, Prince scholars are well trained.  They stay outside, peering at their peers who were lucky enough to make the cut.

Those inside stand aside so their friends can observe the action.  Though they are honored to be within the confines of the garden, there is still some jockeying for position and for duties.  And the duties are few.

I bought a pitcher and brought a marker.  I trained the early birds who followed me when I first showed up with the olla.
They learned to fill the watering can in the cafeteria, to carry it safely (using two hands and balancing it carefully) back to the garden, to use an assistant to hold it while clambering over the locked gate,and then, finally, to remove the olla's lid and fill the bowl to the top.

We're monitoring how much water the tomato plant uses.  Do we need to fill it every day?  (No) Can the tomato survive the weekend without a refill? (Yes!)

We're learning how to sprinkle not drown the plants Mrs. S's class has planted in the nearby garden beds.  They are not fish.  They do not swim.  We wave the can over the tops of the flowers, being careful not to spray our friends.  I'm not sure how much good three drops of water are doing on the struggling starter plants, but the lessons learned are doing the kids a lot of good.

We're sharing.  We're taking turns.  We're learning about water and roots and stems and leaves and flowers and buds.  Adding your name to the watering can is a Big Deal - you can only go into the garden without Grandma if your name appears there.  So far there are four Grandma's Gardeners; you can pick them out by their gigantic smiles when they hop over the fence to join me.

I have seed packets to distribute and strawberries to plant.  I have self-watering pots to buy.  I have a plan to send kids home with things that grow.  I wish I had more hands.

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