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Charlotte Amalie
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Cancryn Garden Rolls Forward

April 18, 2009 — The budding Addelita Cancryn Junior High School garden project took a turn in dimensions this week: It will now be a garden in the round — round tires, that is.
Initially, it was to be a conventional 20-by-10-foot plot, but time has become a critical factor. The garden advocates decided the tire garden would be more practical at this point.
"Basically, we don't have the time to prepare the ground right now," said Chloe Beyer of Grow V.I., one of the project's sponsors. "We want the students to be able to harvest in the fall, and see the fruits — and vegetables — of their labors."
The project was inaugurated early this month by Richard Pluke, Fintrac agronomist, who has worked hand in hand with local farmers for the last four years implementing sustainable technologies, along with Wendy Diaz, long-time geography teacher, author and activist, and Byers of Grow V.I., a new not-for-profit group working to bring together farmers, restaurants and consumers to promote sustainable agriculture. (See "Garden Takes Root at Cancryn Junior High.")
Twenty-five students of Diaz's after-school program, Tshwane, will tend the garden this summer, along with the Cancryn School Improvement Committee students and adult volunteers — who are in short supply as yet.
Two professionals from the University of the Virgin Islands Cooperative Extension Service — Carlos Robles and Albion George — are lending their expertise to the project. They are bringing the seedlings, donated by UVI and the Department of Agriculture, next week.
"The students will plant cabbage, eggplant, beets and cucumber for now,"George said Friday.
The group is already garnering donations. Best Tires is donating 50 tires, Beyer said.
"Each of the 25 students will get two tires to stack and use for containers," she said.
The students will label each of the tires with their names and tend them throughout the summer. Community activist Lynn Utech of Island Horse Welfare Foundation is donating an essential garden ingredient — manure.
This week the students, under Robles' guidance, measured, calculated and marked the garden area. Robles is as enthusiastic as a student, himself.
"This is a wonderful idea," he said. "It will be beautiful."
The tire planters will be placed in the site in rows, with space between to be able to tend the plants.
"There is a pile of soil that is currently on the school property that will be mixed with manure and potting soil," Beyer said.
The project needs supplies.
"When school resumes in September, we will need to do a fundraiser and ask for donations for the use of a bulldozer to level the land for new planting," Beyer said. "Right now, we need 10 large bags of Promix, a variety of sizes of garden gloves, wheelbarrows and buckets, lots of buckets."
Irrigation is very basic.
"Water will have to be carried by bucket from the cistern located on the front side of the school property along Veterans Drive to the back of the school to be stored in drums," Beyer said. "The school will purchase two plastic 55 gallon drums to be placed near the site."
For more information, contact Beyer via email.
Editor's note: The Source is monitoring the progress of the garden with a running account of what's needed, as well as the problems and the successes in the students' and volunteers' efforts.
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