The Prairie Patch is a community garden with 40 fabric pots or raised containers that are used to grow a variety of vegetables, herbs, fruits, and flowers. The Prairie Patch season starts with a Community Planting event in April and lasts through the end of harvest, generally in October.
The Prairie Patch benefits the community in three major ways:
- It builds community, bringing people together and creating a connection and a sense of belonging.
- It provides kids and teens with an outdoor, hands-on classroom where they can play while learning natural science concepts and basic STEM skills.
- It feeds people. All of the food grown in the Prairie Patch is given to families in our community.
Watch for more information on our annual Garden Giveaway.
Become a Garden Lab Volunteer
The History of the Prairie Patch
In 2016, we installed 20 “patches,” or raised beds, at the library. The first summer, the garden was maintained through our Garden Buddies classes and by volunteers from Good Worx. The Garden Buddies met twice a week throughout the summer. Kids in grades 1-6 were paired up with teen volunteers, and together they watered and cared for the garden and learned about photosynthesis, the water cycle, composting with worms, and more. Families were able to pick up fresh produce from Good Worx or from the local food pantries that Good Worx delivers to.
In 2017, we expanded the garden from 20 beds to 40 beds. We also expanded our programming at the library. The Garden Buddies class became our Garden Lab, and we had kids and teens working and learning in the garden every week. They dissect seeds, test soil for various minerals, measure and chart growth, and more.
Since then, we have continued to add classes in the Prairie Patch. We’ve offered Science Lad, Math Lab, Art Lab, and a Pollinators Lab. We’ve also added additional interactive components to the garden, including the Sensory Garden, the Play Patch, and an insect garden called Bea’s Garden. Because of the current situation with COVID-19, we have not offered the range of hands-on programming as we have in previous years.
Experience the Prairie Patch through our Sensory Garden. We’ve highlighted plants and attractions to help you interact with the Prairie Patch using each of your five senses.
Our Play Patch is a hands-on play place for children visiting the Prairie Patch. Visit anytime to dig and play with sand, shovels, and buckets. We also introduce rotating themes and toys throughout the summer, including insects, a tea party, dinosaurs, ice cream shop, and trucks.
Visit Bea’s Garden, a special home for insects in the Prairie Patch, which includes a large, handmade insect hotel, several bee habitats, an observatory to watch the bees working, and pollinator plants to attract butterflies and bees.
Bea's Garden was created through a generous donation from the Lawrence family in loving memory of Beatrix.
We have also expanded our composting program. There is a compost bin in the library's staff break room to collect food scraps. Volunteers can bring their own compostable materials to the garden. We mix it all up in our Envirocycle composter so that we can make our own soil.
Whenever possible, as weather allows, the garden is watered using the rain barrel system that was installed by the Eagle Scouts of Boy Scout Troop 101 in Darien.