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EcoKids Report #16

Worms, Planting & Reporters February 27, 1999 

On February 27 we met at Rockhill Baptist Church. First we worked on our scenery flats. We finished gluing the 1X2 battens to the back sides. We used the weight of folding tables to hold the center batten in contact with the cardboard flat while the glue set. 

After 45 minutes we moved on to seed planting for the spring garden. For this we used another kind of flat- plastic trays with compartments in rows. In each compartment, several seeds were planted.

We planted broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and lettuce. These are all colder weather plants. By starting them indoors, we allow them to grow protected from freezing.

When we put the seedlings out they will be strong and tall to take advantage of the cool spring weather before the hot Midwestern summer sets in.

The trays with compartments nestle down into other trays without compartments that forms a reservoir to hold water so that the soil and plants can draw up for moisture needs.

After they germinate and grow some, we will choose the healthiest in each compartment and pull the others. We will need lights but we will set those up next week.

Organic gardener Jim Carter showed the kids how to fill the trays with soil and make it firm. Then he demonstrated that a pencil eraser would make a perfect hole about 1/4 inch deep to hold the seeds.

Artist and teacher Regina Compernolle brought a 16 foot Mother Earth face that she had created for Earth Day 1993. We looked her over (the sculpture) to assess what we will need to restore her for use as part of our background staging. Reuse is better than recycling, when it is possible. 

Trying to wiggle another subject into our tight schedule, we looked at a worm population that was housed in a plastic storage bin. The EcoKids were offered instruction sheets, soil and containers for starting their own colony of these useful pets. The idea is to feed them your vegetable food waste while making the best fertilizer known. We can keep food out of the landfill and make our plants healthier at the same time. 

While all this was going on, Kansas City Star reporter, Mike Mansur and photographer, Susan Phannmuller were working on a story for the paper. They fit in very well and seemed to enjoy themselves. At one point Mike and Susan were sitting with the kids on the kitchen floor. I appreciated their flexibility and the value they place in seeking rapport with the EcoKids. 

Thanks to volunteers Jim Carter, Joel Kraft, Ellie Dawson and Regina Compernolle. Thanks also to Mike Mansur and Susan Phannmuller for doing a thorough job. The story without the photos (was) online at the Kansas City Star. 

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