Category Archives: Gardening


Cindy took her pre-K classes outside this week.
They found the beans in the Three Sisters garden.

We have rattlesnake pole beans and Tongue of Fire beans, which both do double-duty: good fresh when they’re not too big, great dried after they’ve been left on the vine.
There are Kentucky Wonder beans out there, too.

Before the kids came out, those  were just Kentucky beans.

It’s the children who brought the wonder.

Garden Workshop

Today we met to plan, these brave teachers and me. They teach kids grades K through 5. They have ideas and energy. So much energy they couldn’t help themselves as we toured the butterfly garden. They started yanking out weeds left and right.

I took my sweet time talking while we were out there. Why turn down helpers?

stepping stones

You can make these without much trouble. The mixture is called hypertufa. It’s basically a light concrete, roughly equal parts Portland cement (for cohesion), coir or sphagnum moss (for texture), and perlite or vermiculite (for volume without weight).  Mix with water and pour into greased containers.

They have to cure for a few days. Then they have to be rinsed for a couple of weeks to let the lime leach out.

Rachel, Veronica, and Shengnan made these. I made them wear dust masks and gloves when handling the cement.

They do good work.


Today I weeded the Three Sisters garden in the playground.

It’s sixty-four mounds of corn, beans, and squash. Some mounds are in better shape than others. We were late digging out the sod, late bringing in compost, and late planting. As a result, the weeds have a leg up. Or, not leg. A root system. And tendrils.

Each mound is two feet across, which leaves lots of room for weeds and grass around each mound to take what inches or miles they can. I uprooted the ragweed and pigweed with sheer force, taking care not to cut myself on the pigweed spines. Crabgrass and nutsedge, lamb’s quarters and plantains–they’re not that hard to pull out.

Today’s bane, however, was bindweed, Convolvulus arvensis, often called “morning glory,” but they’re much smaller than true morning glories. My son’s best kindergarten friend called them “vanilla flowers.” She picked them from their playground by the dozen.

She can have them.

They grow fast, and they twine around everything. The corn was stout enough–it would have been fine without me. The beans were in a twirling fight they might have won. But the squash, the third sister, was the last thing planted, so she’s small. I tried yanking at the bindweed, but ripped one Hubbard seedling right out, and didn’t get the weed at the root. To be safe, I had to unravel the little vines and pinch, over and over.

I will see them again tonight as I fall asleep, I’m sure. I’ll close my eyes and see their arrowhead leaves, and turn, and toss, and probably curse.