Man, WV Raised Bed Garden Project
We arrived to an elementary school in Mann, West Virginia through an intense drive sandwiched between the oncoming traffic and the guard rail protecting us from the river.
The task was simple, build four raised garden beds, and use the riverbed dirt to fill them on the elementary school property.
What we found was that wasn’t exactly easy. The rocky, rooty terrain by the river made excavating the dirt extremely difficult. We tried shovels, pick axes, rakes and crowbars. What was more was that when we filled the wheelbarrow with dirt, the steep hillside between the riverbed and the school made it a two to three person job to get the dirt to its proper place. We ended up scrapping that idea for later and decided to work on the raised garden beds.
I’ve always been intimidated by power tools. None the less, I learned how to use an electric drill. Savannah seemed to take a lot of pride and joy into her work with the saw. And Rich found his niche working with the drill and screwing in screws. Rich was the fastest driller on our team. I later found my place being a “professional board sitter” as Dexter liked to call it, as he was one too, until they were built. I pulled by weight by fastening the four boards together with another piece of wood and screws. (It was much smaller, so I was less intimidated).
We picked a school day to do the work on, and in hindsight, I believe that was most impactful to the kids at the school. Through their classrooms, I could see them looking out the window, or at recess a few would come up to us and ask what we were doing. “Ya’ll building a cabin!?” one asked. A few times when we replied, “A garden”, they couldn’t wrap their heads around why we were building a garden at a school. “I hate vege-tubles!” another boy said
I say it was impactful f0r them for this reason. It was likely, they thought vegetables were something their parents bought at a store and something they knew they were supposed to eat. A few were amazed we had built them as quickly as we did. Others seemed to either dread or get excited about the future of the gardens at their school. But what was important was that they saw the process, how quickly we started and finished, but most importantly, we got them to think. By them seeing us build these garden, a few began to think about the possibilities of what could go into the gardens- even if it was just flowers.
We ended up buying dirt, realizing how difficult our riverbed dirt idea was.