Sunday, July 27, 2014


We suckered the tomatoes today.  Learning that the plant's energy gets divided too much if every stem is allowed to grow and bear fruit.   The fewer the suckers, the bigger each tomato will get.  Pretty exciting to see our baby tomato plants getting flowers and even some tiny tomatoes!

Today we also started our programming games.  Technology aside, the ideas of computer interfacing can be boiled down to a game of telephone.

Next we played a game of "computer" developed by our tech experts Isla Hansen and Dakotah Konicek.  One person played the human, one person played the computer and translated the human's questions and orders into a computer language.  Two people played signals that relayed information from the computer to the sensors and actuators, and finally one person played a moisture sensor, a person operated a hose, a person played a "camera" and a few were planters. We got cucumbers planted and watered, and learned how complicated computers make things while getting to run around and take on very specific jobs. It was surprisingly fun and we got a lot done.

How The Braddock Youth Project Inspires Us

 Every Monday, the garden team from the Braddock Youth Project (BYP) summer program has been coming and working hard in Gardweeno.  Doing some heavy lifting a bulk of hands makes lighter, and showing the younger kids what it looks like to really get stuff done.
This week they finished the second garden bed,

and added an extension on the first one.

Their hard work inspires us.

Thank you BYP!!!

The birth of a sign! And our garden is officially a public space.

It was an off day, but the Gardweeno sign was too enticing to not work on.

So when we met again we painted,

and painted,

picked "wildflowers",


and then we had a sign!

Second Week

Mr. Kevin has been building this shed for us.  With old pallets and a salvaged door, he's making the framework for our outdoor classroom and storage space.  Yay!

One bed down, another just beginning.  It starts with wood collected from the back area of the lot.
There may be poison ivy back there. Billy is checking himself out in his haz-mat suit.  Lookin' good Billy!   

On Wednesday, kids help spread the dirt pile out into a bigger bed.  

Then everybody drew their ideas of how our sign should look.

Looks like we need some more seating!
Good thing we've got so many hands to sand and finish our first bench.

Painted so thoroughly, it's practically waterproof!
Then we identified the plants in the beds and made markers for them.

Tomatoes, Peppers, Basil.   So much more to come.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

June 14, our first workday, we learned how to carefully pull the tomato and pepper starts out of their pots, and plant them deep in the ground.

We pull the leaves off the stem and plant them deep so the where the stem is buried it will grow new roots.  Those stem cells can turn into anything, so burying them makes more roots.  More roots make more fruits!

 Tomatoes, peppers and basil now ready to grow in our first bed.  Things that taste good together often grow together well too.

And Jania scores a major win for the garden - pulling out a huge Burdock plant and most of it's tenacious tap root (which we learned is edible - though we'll try that another time).


Our groundbreaking event resulted in the amazing construction of a recycled palate bench,

and making our first Huglekultur bed.  Hugulkultur is a permaculture technique where the use of logs (which we pulled from the back of the lot) as a base layer for the bed acts as a sponge, retaining moisture as it turns into dirt.  These logs are "pre-dirt" and will add organic matter and beneficial micro-organisms, fungi and bacteria,  to the soil as they decompose.  Check out this link for more info on hugulkulture:

Man those kids really worked.  Moving new soil into place to make our lovely planting ground.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Yes! Gardweeno!

Welcome to Gardweeno!  Check in to see photos and videos from our weekly work sessions, community events, and ongoing reflections from the youth participants.

Gardweeno is a garden project located at 1014 Bell Ave. 15104 for middle school aged youth to design, build, learn, grow, and eat together through the creation of a garden. Funded by the Sprout Fund and in full support of North Braddock Cares and the Borough of North Braddock, this program will provide opportunities for youth to grow as leaders and decision makers; as learners getting hands on experience with Science Technology Engineering Art and Math (STEAM), as well as positive strategies to cope with stress and failure, and boundaries for positive behavior. Gardweeno will be an inspirational site for youth to experience constructive engagement with their surroundings.

Except for a demonstration bed, the garden will be designed and maintained by tweens working together. This is their garden, and the fruits of it are theirs too. We are only here to help them succeed.
We are going to be learning technology in the garden using sensors connected to mini computers. Kids will have the chance to try out lots of activities, not only digging and gardening, but graphic design, photography and videography, computer programming, building, and teaching other community members about their work.

Program Dates:
June 14 - August 25: Mondays and Saturdays 10am - 4pm
The summer will include lessons from project team members and community experts; mentorships with community volunteers and teens from the BYP; field trips to visit local gardeners in action; and experiments youth will perform as each develops his or her own gardening practice. 

Sept 6 - Oct 25 Mondays and Saturdays 3p - 5pm
As school begins, the program staff will take on more responsibilities in the garden. Tweens will come after school to harvest and learn recipes to share with their families.

Community Events:
Second Saturdays of July (12), August (9), and September (13) 3pm - 5pm
Once a month, we will have community demonstrations and cook-outs, where the participants can share their knowledge with their community, and where they can work and celebrate with neighbors.
Oct 26 The project ends with the North Braddock Cares Fall Festival on October 26. We will prepare food from the garden, and make a contribution like a popcorn machine or bounce house funded by the income we make through produce sales.