Back To School!

Intercom Voice: (SQUELCH) All students in the garden club please come to the auditorium immediately. BEEP!

It’s Tuesday at Nolan Elementary-Middle School and Bonnie Odom-Brown (BE Culturally Exposed) and I (Arthur Littsey/Project Sweet Tomato) are meeting with our student gardeners for the first time. They are a rag-tag bunch that covers at least 4 different grade levels. For the first time since the move to Nolan, Planting the Seeds has an abundance of students. There are almost 20 kids of varying ages and for another first, we have strong representation from the young males of the school. 8th graders too? Yes, I am very surprised.

As you would expect, this has brought a few more challenges for the team, but we are starting to get a grip on things, with the help of some recent advice from our sponsor, Maura Ryan-Kaiser. She helped create a plan for managing so many students. One can tell that she never forgets that she is dealing with kids (I think she has the camp counselor gene) and in spite of that they can be managed effectively. And she had an immediate affect on them. She grabbed their attention and held it throughout the gardening session. They performed very well for her. And I can tell you from previous experiences that’s not a very easy thing to do.

We’ve got a lot of vegetables in the ground with more on the way, courtesy of Keep Growing Detroit. New this year will be watermelon, a new variety of sunflower, peas, strawberries (they are surviving so far), onions and sweet potatoes. We are also growing many of the standard summer vegetables, like tomatoes, green and yellow beans, garlic, zucchini, greens, cabbage, kale, broccoli, lettuces, basil, parsley, peppers, radishes and potatoes (Yukon Gold and red skins). There’s a lot going on and it would be difficult to manage without the help that we get from the Snelling Staffing Services volunteers. They are a great bunch…easy to get along with; supportive (for me that means young and strong)…that takes their volunteer work seriously and has fun doing it. It’s a lot of fun to watch them learn a few things about gardening too!

There has been a change outside the garden as well. Sandra Tomlin, the former Vice President, Community Relations, of Michigan First Credit Union, retired. She was a wonderful advocate for our little program and we thank her for her support. She has said that now that she is retired, she might pay the garden a visit. So, now would be a good time to welcome Mark Guimond as our new contact at Michigan First Credit Union. Mark’s title is Assistant Vice President – Business & Community Relationships. MFCU is active with several schools in and around Detroit and I hope that we continue to earn their support.

Pictures? Yes, here’s a few…

Getting ready to plant some onions!

Getting ready to plant some onions!


Lettuce, Cabbage and Greens

Lettuce, Cabbage and Greens

Prepping the big bed!

Prepping the big bed!

Putting the kids to work!

Putting the kids to work!

Is this a weeding party?

Is this a weeding party?

Our first peas...ever!

Our first peas…ever!

Thursday's Garden Angels!

Thursday’s Garden Angels!

Well, I’ve got to get back to work. Between home and here, there’s a lot of work that needs to get done.


This story is dedicated to one Jack Kaiser. He’s a great guy to be around and to have around. Thanks Jack…for what you do, the way you do it and for who you are!



Thanks To…


BE Culturally Exposed

MIFCU logo and tagline



And a Special Thanks to the gang at…

Keep Growing Detroit



4 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Nancy Bowman said,

    Another productive year in the making. Keep up the good work. It will surely be worth it in the long run. So glad you’re growing. It’s the start of something BIG…a lesson that will last a lifetime.

  2. 2

    Thanks for the good cheer! By the numbers, the kids really want a garden this year.

  3. 3

    Judy Pelton said,

    I do so envy you your gardening. How wonderful. Especially getting the kids involved and learning. So rewarding.

  4. 4

    That’s the plan!

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