Saturday, February 4, 2012

Winter Volunteer Work Day!

On Saturday, January 28th the Dreamkeeper Garden hosted its first volunteer work day of 2012!  Over 40 people sacrificed their Saturday mornings to get an early start at 9:00AM for more than four hours of hard work in and around the garden.  Volunteers included students from Tulane University, employees from the Hyatt Regency, folks from New Orleans Outreach, and even a recent LHA alumnus!

After a quick volunteer orientation in the courtyard everyone split up into teams and got right to work.  The first team started construction on a chicken coop that will occupy one of the far corners of the garden, just past some colorful fence paintings and next to the compost.  When it's done the coop will house six chickens that will bear eggs!

Two fourth-grade scholars who are looking forward to having chickens in the garden!

Most of our volunteers were put to work continuing to build lasagna layers using our special recipe for creating soil!  First, volunteers laid down cardboard to act as a weed barrier, followed by mulch to create a good walking surface and to add carbon.  Using blue string as a guide, volunteers then made rows using nitrogen-rich coffee grounds, and topped that off with a thick layer of horse stable sweepings.

Volunteers spread materials out to create our lasagna layers for building soil.

By early afternoon the lasagna layers were complete!  Raised rows of light-brown stable sweepings alternated with darker brown mulch pathways to create our future growing space for the Dreamkeeper Garden.  With diligent watering our lasagna layers will break down into beautiful garden soil in just a few short months, and by next school year we'll have 700 more linear feet of growing space!

Lasagna layers, shortly after completion

The Dreamkeeper Garden is growing and transforming right before our eyes!  By this time next year we'll be harvesting a huge winter crop of leafy greens, herbs and flowers and plucking fresh, local and delicious eggs from our chicken coop.

We want to give a big LHA-style shout out for all the community, leadership, affection, success, sacrifice and enthusiasm demonstrated to us and to our garden by our wonderful volunteers.  We hope you'll come back to see the fruits (and vegetables!) of your labor!

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