After 2 years of hay bale gardening, we decided to upgrade our garden at Widener Library to a more permanent structure! With some funding from the library’s Grassroots Funds and the Words at Play Initiative, we had two great build sessions this unseasonably warm November. We received some help from former Maker Mentor and current employee of the Central Library’s Teen Center Bobby and from Widener’s LEAP leader Ms. Kathy.
First we used the library’s wheelbarrow to move the hay out of the way. We will mix it into our dirt through the winter to compost and use some for another raised bed we have plans to build in the spring! Then everyone learned how to safely use the drill and got to drill holes in the wood boards for the bolts that were to hold them together.
We then lined up our boards, bolted them together, and used a ratchet to tighten the nuts onto the bolts.
Anytime we build something or use tools, the program feels like a success. Everyone stays engaged and focused for extended amounts of time, and generally people avoid conflict and work well together. Being outside is also helpful for those who have a lot of energy – unlike inside the library, outside it’s OK to release this energy by running around and being loud.
We had attached some rigid straps to the inside of our garden frame to hold PVC pipe hoops, which will serve as the basis for a plastic cover that we’ll put over them in early spring. We will use the structure as a greenhouse which will allow us to get our plants started earlier than in past years! Everyone’s already very excited about this and asks regularly when we will be starting to plant things.