Friday, June 2, 2023

CMS Garden Blooms Again Thanks to Emerald Keepers and the Coronado Public Library

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Coronado Middle School (CMS) garden was not getting much attention. The garden was overgrown with weeds, no useful plants were growing, and the toolshed was in disarray. As a whole, the garden was more than a bit lackluster. A few years prior to COVID-19, the garden had a club of students and teachers that would take care of it during lunch or other occasions. Unfortunately, that activity has died off. The Emerald Keepers and the Coronado Public Library were ready to change that.

Emerald Keepers is a local non-profit that hopes to make Coronado a model for sustainability and environmental awareness. The Coronado Public Library is a partner with the Emerald Keepers organization by helping share environmental knowledge and multiple resources for sustainability with the Coronado community.

These two groups help nourish the two gardens at the middle and high school. The Coronado Public Library supports the two garden clubs by providing leadership and education. The Emerald Keepers group has purchased supplies for the school gardens. These supplies range from soil, seeds, and some of the infrastructure of the CHS garden.

“As the teen librarian, I serve as the garden advisor for both sites, overseeing the meet-ups, organizing the garden efforts, and teaching students about horticulture and composting,” says Tara Davies. As the garden advisor and teen librarian, Davies felt compelled to help at both school gardens, not just CHS, to help foster more students’ love for the environment and provide further lifelong education.

In addition, Davies is equipped for her duties at both gardens with extensive knowledge about plants, composting, and more. Davies adds, “Every time I’m at one of the gardens, students tell me they’ve never seen a particular vegetable grow before or they learned something new.” 

An “after” photo of one of the bins at CMS.

On the morning of Saturday, March 18th, volunteers met at the CMS garden to start refurbishing. The volunteers were some high school Emerald Keepers club members and library volunteers as well as Davies.

The layout of the garden is a great space. The middle school garden has four large bins that will soon be full of flowers, fruits, vegetables, and herbs. There is a shed that houses garden tools, like rakes and a variety of colored gloves. Additionally, the Emerald Keepers have signs about how to compost hanging on the fence of the CMS garden, as well as the CHS garden. Speaking of compost, the middle school has a bin that the volunteers put the torn up weeds in and will continue to use during the gardening process.

Volunteers started tearing up the weeds that had infested the bins. After a few hours, the majority of weeds were gone and forty-five bags of fresh soil filled the bins. The soil was courtesy of Emerald Keepers and a large delivery of the soil had been unpackaged that morning at CMS. Pounds of soil was lugged by the volunteers from the basketball court and poured into the bins. Now with the fresh soil, plants can thrive at the CMS garden. Next, volunteers utilized the hoe and the rake to smooth the dirt out into flat surfaces to be ready for planting. In one of the bins there were a few heads of lettuce, so the volunteers left them alone so they could continue growing.

Next, came the planting stage. Davies was ready with a supply of a blend of items to plant. First, the volunteers planted marigold flowers to line one of the bins. A small tomato plant found a new home in the far right bin. Six strawberry plants now sit in a neat patterned fashion with the marigolds in the bin by the tool shed. Finally, the herbs were planted. Sage, thyme, and lavender were the ones that Davies brought this time. All of this freshly planted greenery took a nice long shower from the watering cans of the junior volunteers.

The student volunteers hope to expand their group and get more people to help out at this soon-to-be blooming garden. The Coronado Middle School students were very excited about this project and are looking forward to seeing the garden continue to bloom and grow in the near future.

Coronado Middle School

Maria Laguna
Maria Laguna
Maria Laguna is student at Coronado High School and has lived in San Diego her whole life. She is an officer to numerous clubs on campus, including: Feminist Club, Creative Writing Club, and Activism Book Club. Maria is also very involved with community service. Her passions include fashion, reading, writing, and travel. She shows her love of literature by being a Coronado Public Library volunteer in her free time and working on her own novella. She has always loved doing activities that let her express herself creatively. Maria plans to study fashion and writing after graduating from Coronado High in 2024. Have a story for The Coronado Times to cover? Send news tips or story ideas to: [email protected]