Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Boy scouts make a raised bed cover

This past weekend, former Marquez student Nick Frey from Troop 223 and some fellow scouts finished making a new raised bed cover in the lower garden to fulfill his Eagle Project. It looks great and will help keep squirrels away from the vegetables in this bed used by Marquez 3rd graders.

Ms. Gardner's class in the garden

On December 16, Ms. Gardner's class visited the garden. We reviewed recycling and what residents put in the blue, black and green bins provided by the city. We then discussed that we can compost items that currently go in the blue and green bins such as as paper, yard waste and food waste such as fruit, vegetables, coffee grounds and egg shells.

We layer the items, known as browns and greens and add water so the bin has a consistency of a damp sponge. After a few months we'll add this compost to the garden.

We also discussed root vegetables that we're growing in the garden. The kids should now be able to tell the difference between radishes and beets.

After the lesson the kids planted seeds, watered and composted items that I'd brought from home.

The kids enjoyed tasting arugula, mint, carrots, radishes and even golden beets!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Our Newly Painted Bench

Thanks, Heather and Kaylie!

Ms. Reeves' class plants

Today Ms. Reeves' class visited the garden. They learned about root vegetables, planted seeds, saved seeds and drew root vegetables. They can now differentiate between beets and radishes and know that they and carrots come in a variety of colors. They planted seeds of carrots, beets, quinoa and wheat. They learned about saving seeds and saved marigold seeds from dried seed pods. Some kids drew root vegetables. Finally, they got to eat-carrots and radishes from the "demo" as well as arugula, chives and mint from our garden.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

What cool season veggies to plant and when

We have planted many of the following cool season veggies this fall. You can also plant them in your garden. I plant lettuce, spinach and radishes in pots as well as in the ground. 

  • Beets ------------- Anytime
  • Broccoli ---------- Fall to early spring
  • Brussels sprouts -- Fall to early spring
  • Cabbage ----------- Fall to early spring
  • Carrots ----------- Anytime
  • Cauliflower ------- Fall to early spring
  • Chard ------------- Fall to early spring
  • Kale ----------------Fall to spring
  • Kohlrabi ---------- Fall and winter
  • Lettuce ----------- Fall to spring
  • Onions ------------ Fall and winter
  • Peas--------------- Fall to early spring
  • Radish ------------ Anytime
  • Spinach ----------- Fall to early spring
  • Turnips ----------- Fall to early spring
Also, herbs such as arugula (yes it's an herb), chives, cilantro, dill and parsley

Monday, December 9, 2013

Ms. Palo's class visits the garden on 12/9

Today Ms. Palo's class visited the garden, a half of the class at a time so she could have some small group instruction time. We had two other adults each time which made for more personal attention during the kids' "work" time.

Today's lessons dealt with recycling, seed saving and root vegetables. In preparation for the discussion of composting we discussed what the kid's put in the black, blue and green bins at home. I mentioned that composting is a way of recycling. A few kids do that at home. Simply put, composting is combining greens (fruit and veggie waste, fresh plant waste from the garden), egg shells and coffee grinds with browns (products from trees e.g. dried leaves, twigs). This mixture should be kept as moist as a damp sponge and after a few months of turning to aerate, the result will be compost which is a soil amendment that we'll add to the garden.

The kids saved seeds from basil, lavender and cilantro that we'll plant in the spring. Some kids volunteered that it's cheaper to save seeds then you don't need to buy them!
Drawing root vegetables

Mixing the compost after adding tomato plants.

We discussed carrots, beets and radishes-all of which are root vegetables. They discussed the different size and colors of beets and radishes. They should be able to identify beets by the veins in the leaves.

Later we'll eat beet and arugula salad. Today the kids sampled arugula and mint.

Thanks to today's helpers: Peg and Carolyn.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Ms. Bihari's class plants quinoa

On Dec. 3, Ms. Bihari's class planted quinoa and sugar snap peas as part of a unit on nutrition. Another 3rd grade class will plant wheat. We discussed that peas are legumes as are beans. We will harvest these cool season crops in the spring.

The children first amended the soil with planting mix and compost. Thanks to Russ for volunteering.

Mrs. Fein's class plants

Today Mrs. Fein's class planted seeds, transplanted kale seedlings and saved seeds of cilantro. In addition, we we discussed radishes, carrots and beets, all root vegetables that will be growing in their bed.  The kids planted seeds of Easter egg radishes, mesclun lettuce, beets and sugar snap peas.

In addition they transplanted kale seedlings into larger containers.

After they wrote in their garden journals they got to eat! Today's tasting included arugula, lettuce, mint and chives.
Transplanting kale seedlings

Planting sugar snap pea seeds

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Ms. Yoshida's class plants and saves seeds

On December 2 Ms. Yoshida's class visited the garden. We discussed root vegetables, the different colors of carrots and radishes and seed saving.

The root vegetables that we focused on were beets and carrots. (They are so called because we eat the roots of the plant, though many people eat beet greens.) We discussed that there are different colors e.g.- golden and red beets; yellow, red, white carrots.  We can tell the color of the beet by looking at the color of the veins in the leaves.  I showed them Easter egg radishes. The kids told me why the radishes had that name. (Next time we meet I'll ask them if radishes are root vegetables and see if they can deduce that--they are)!

The children planted Romeo carrots. These carrots are orange, but small and round unlike the ones we usually purchase at the supermarket.

(One benefit of growing your own food or purchasing from the farmers' market is that you have more variety!)

I introduced seed-saving to the kids by bringing parts of a marigold plant and showing them the seeds inside the seed pod. The kids enjoyed pulling apart the pods and "saving" the seeds. They placed them in a paper bag. We'll be able to plant them in the spring.

Finally, the kids enjoyed tasting arugula and lettuce from the garden.

Thanks to Amy Barranco for volunteering!
Saving marigold seeds

Planting Easter egg radishes and Romeo carrots

Mesclun lettuce that was planted from seed.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

3rd grade gardening: garden club and Ms. Schwartz's class plants in the garden

Yesterday half of Ms. Schwartz's class planted in one of the third grade plots. They added beet and lettuce seeds. In addition, several of the boys planted seeds of bachelor buttons in the butterfly garden. The boys were especially interested in planting while the girls enjoyed looking at the worms in the worm bin.

I brought several types of vegetables for them to identify-beets, carrots (easy), radishes, scallions and kale.We discussed that carrots and beets are classified as root vegetables because people eat the roots, however people can also eat the beet greens. You can tell which kind of beet (yellow or purple) by looking at the veins in the beet leaves. Many kids liked the smell of scallions. We discussed that people often add chives and scallions to potatoes.

The kids enjoyed tasting chives and mint from the butterfly garden.

At recess, some girls planted more lettuce in the third grade plot.  Thanks to Veronica Kissane for volunteering during lunch recess and the class garden time!

Mr. Jacobs' class and Ms. Connor's class plant again

The kids in Mr. Jacobs' class and Ms. Connor's class had their second planting session in the garden on Monday. Jacobs' students planted more beet seeds and carrot seeds and Connor's class planted scallions and carrots.

The seeds that they planted on 10/14 are growing well but we planted more to fill the beds.

We discussed that beets and carrots are root vegetables and also that there are different colors of both vegetables. We can identify which beets are golden or purple by looking at the veins in the leaves. Also, we can identify which plants are carrots by looking at the leaves.  People can also eat all of the beet plant-greens as well as roots.

During the lesson I had the kids identify several plants including golden and purple beets, carrots, scallions, radishes and kale.  Some kids guessed that beets are radishes but they have learned that the size and leaves are different.

We discussed worm composting and that the compost helps create healthy soil. Several kids enjoyed feeding the worms after they planted.

The kids gave thumbs up to the kale smoothies which we served them!

Thanks to Heather Haggenmiller and Carolyn Haselkorn for volunteering and sharing their enthusiasm with the kids.
Also, thanks to Heather for decorating the shade structure!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Thanks to our donors

The garden would be barren without the financial support and product gifts of several organizations this year. Raw Inspiration, the operator of the Pacific Palisades Farmers' Market, is a valuable partner, funding cooking opportunities and more. The garden soil is getting healthy thanks to Malibu Compost's generous donations of compost and compost tea. We are using the donation from Scott Gibson of Gibson International Real Estate to maintain the infrastructure of our raised beds. Finally, we are looking forward to planting a Native American garden using plants from the Tongvas and Chumash, thanks to the Pacific Palisades Garden Club.  All of these donors supply critical supplemental funding to the funding we receive from Friends of Marquez. It's a team effort and the kids certainly appreciate it!

Ms. Farrell's class visits the garden

This week Ms. Farrell's 3rd graders visited the garden.  We reviewed cool season vegetables and discussed which ones they'd plant. In addition, we reviewed vermiculture and some kids fed the worms. The students planted purple broccoli seedings and seeds of carrots and onions. We had discussed that one benefit of growing your own food or purchasing from a farmers' market is that you have increased variety-e.g. not only green broccoli but also purple broccoli and not only orange carrots but red, yellow and purple ones. The kids also learned that broccoli and onions are companion plants-i.e. "friendly" and like to grow together! One of the boys found a monarch caterpillar in a garden bed and put it back in the butterfly garden. After planting, the kids had the option of drawing a carrot with crayons.  We'll use them for a crayon resist project later.

I enjoyed seeing the kids again. We had fun in the garden last year when they were in 2nd grade. This is a great class!

Thanks to (Grandma)Vi for volunteering to help!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Gardening with Ms. Smith's 5th graders

This week Ms. Smith's class visited the lower garden and also started their study of Thomas Jefferson's garden.  In California we are lucky to be able to grow vegetables year round. We discussed that we are now planting cool season vegetables such as lettuce, broccoli, kale, radishes, beets, cabbage, cauliflower and peas. (Tomatoes are a warm season veggie.)

Thomas Jefferson, the 3rd president, retired to his plantation at Monticello, VA in 1809.  His vegetable garden there is 1,000 feet long. We discussed that Jefferson was a horticulturist and seed saver. I demonstrated how I am saving seeds and explained that we will do that at school. We are planting heirloom seeds that come from the 19th century. We discussed that heirlooms are something that has been passed down from prior generations and this is what's happened to the seeds that I purchased from the Monticello store.  We discussed that growing your own vegetables or buying them at the farmers' market can lead to more variety. I showed them red and yellow beets. At first some kids thought these were radishes and indeed they look like big radishes. This class is planting early Siberian kale. I also introduced the kids to worm composting and they enjoyed investigating the worms that are eating vegetable and fruit scraps. The kids enjoyed tasting mint and chives from the butterfly garden!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Gardening with Ms. Gardner's 4th graders

Today Ms. Gardner's class learned about seed saving, worm composting and amending the soil. In addition, they planted some native plants to attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Several kids gave examples of seed saving such as saving seeds from flowers and vegetables. Some kids had propagated plants after saving seeds. I showed them the seeds that I am saving from a red buckwheat plant.  One group of students investigated the red wriggler worms in the worm bin. Kids of all ages seem to enjoy the worms! The kids planted a red butterfly bush and two red lipstick salvia plants that will attract hummingbirds.  They planted their "butterfly garden" near the raised beds to attract these popular pollinators.  The plants in this bed will be drought tolerant once established. The kids spotted two caterpillars in the lower garden and a lizard and a Jerusalem beetle in the upper garden. Thanks to Cory and GG for assisting today.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Conn's class and Ms. Keller's class learn about Thomas Jefferson the horticulturist

This week the 5th grade students in Ms. Conn's class and Ms. Keller's class began their study of Thomas Jefferson, the horticulturist. They learned that Jefferson, our third president, retired to Monticello, VA. where he had a 1,000 foot long garden that was taken care of by slaves.  Even as president, Jefferson was interested in horticulture. We discussed the concept of heirloom seeds and seed saving. The kids are currently studying Lewis and Clark and I told them that Jefferson asked them to bring back seeds from their explorations.

Ms. Conn's class has planted Marrowfat Pea seeds and Ms. Keller's class has planted China Rose Winter Radish seeds. These are heirloom seeds. Jefferson grew marrowfat peas during his retirement, 1809-1826. The radish is similar to what Jefferson planted.

Today Tyler, Exie and Jamie measured 1,000 feet on the lower yard. They determined that it is over twice the length of the distance from the garden fence to the end of the yard. This was similar to the results from Ms. Keller's measurers.

The kids enjoyed looking at the butterfly garden in the lower garden area. There are many herbs as well as other plants to attract butterflies.  Some kids saw a monarch butterfly caterpillar and others saw a lizard. They also enjoyed tasting from the garden. They ate strawberry guavas, mint and arugula.

We also reviewed the concept of composting.

Note: I purchased the seeds for this study from the Monticello website. It has lots of useful information.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Recess helpers in the garden

Today we had several helpers at recess. Third graders Sofi and Elula worked in the third grade plot and planted lettuce seeds.  Second graders Sophia, Jada, Isabel and Taylor watered the plants. Sophia showed some first graders the plants in the butterfly garden.

Lanto's 5th grade class starts Jefferson garden study

Today the 5th graders in Mr. Lantos' class began their study of Thomas Jefferson the horticulturist.
They learned that the 3rd president's garden at Monticello was 1,000 feet long and had over 250 varieties of vegetables.  We discussed heirloom seeds and compared them to family heirlooms as something that is handed down from generation to generation.

Children from each of the two groups assisted by volunteer Gretchen Arnold measured 1,000 feet with the tape measure to get an understanding of just how long Jefferson's garden was. Roger, Ollie and Kai measured in the first group and Archie, Zoe, Evelyn and Hudson measured in the second group. Mayla was the scribe for the first group.

The kids amended their bed with planting mix and Malibu Compost. I discussed the fact that we garden organically at Marquez and do not use chemical fertilizers or pesticides.

They then planted Brown Dutch Lettuce seeds. This is an actual variety that Jefferson himself planted 27 times back in the 19th century. (The second group from the class also discussed that the 1800s are in the 19th century).

Some of the children added material to the garden compost bin and others planted poppy seeds and watered.
Planting Brown Dutch Lettuce seeds

Monday, October 21, 2013

Mrs. Fein's class and Ms. Yoshida's class plant in the garden

Today children from Ms. Yoshida's class discussed their favorite vegetables, their favorite cool season vegetables, wrote in their garden journals, looked at the red wriggler worms in the compost, looked at the strawberry guava tree which has fruit on it and planted. Their garden journal contained the following: "Today in the garden I  (which they finished) and My favorite vegetable is ..."  They planted onion seeds, sugar snap pea seeds and sugar snap pea seedlings.  Thanks to Dana, a parent, and Ms. Ashley for helping.

After recess, Mrs. Fein's class also visited the garden. They discussed cool season vegetables, planted onion seeds, looked at at the fruit tree and harvested basil. I videoed them saying what they did in the garden and will send that to Mrs. Fein.

We also discussed other vegetables such as celery, swiss chard, kale, red and yellow beets, purple broccoli and arugula. Part of the fun of growing your own food or purchasing food at the farmers' market is the increased variety. We'll have some different varieties in our school garden.

Vocabulary presented today: harvest, sow, red wriggler worms, composting, all the names of the vegetables and fruit above plus other vegetables such as brussels sprouts and radish. Concepts discussed included: cool season and warm season vegetables, the fact that you don't plant small seeds very deeply, companion planting (onions, carrots and broccoli are good companions-you can plant them together).

Approximately 20 children visited the garden during the two recess periods. At lunch recess the third graders amended the third bed which they are in charge of planting. At lunch recess, the second graders planted johnny jump ups and sweet pea seedlings in the butterfly garden and California poppy seeds alongside the fence.

Planting onion seeds.

Harvesting basil.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Ms. Gardner's class harvests basil and makes basil pesto

Today students from Ms. Gardner's 4th grade class visited the garden. They harvested basil, tasted basil and helped prepare basil pesto which they then ate on top of a slice of baguette in the classroom.

Terms that we discussed:
- Propagate- to grow a new plant from the seeds of the plant.  We will be saving seeds of basil, cilantro and strawberry guava to see if we can grow new plants. The cilantro in the butterfly garden is self-propagating already.
- Harvesting - to pick the crop. They harvested the basil.
- Composting- recycling green (veggie, fruit and herb) and brown (from trees-e.g. paper, leaves) waste that will become nutritious material for our soil. We will deal more with the details of composting soon. The children added the basil stems to the compost bin.

In addition, the children observed ladybugs, aphids and a monarch caterpillar in the butterfly garden. Some of the children learned about the different varieties of herbs in the garden. We have lemon verbena, mint, chives, rosemary, thyme and cilantro.

Here's the pesto recipe. I mentioned to the kids that they could make it for dinner with pasta.

Basil Pesto

3 c. basil
1/2 c. olive oil (we discussed that liquids are measured in clear containers)
2 cloves garlic minced (we also discussed what minced means)
1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese (we added a bit more today)
pinch of salt and pepper
drop or two of lemon juice

In a food processor or blender, mince the garlic. Add basil, cheese, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and olive oil. Blend.

Basil is a warm season herb but it can also be grown inside.

Thanks to volunteers Paul, Corey and Gigi for assisting today!

Thanks to Gibson International Realty's Scott Gibson

Thanks to Scott Gibson of Gibson International Realty for his recent generous donation to the edible garden. Scott and his wife Suzy were active parents when their three daughters attended Marquez in the 1990s. They helped to build the garden. Scott said, " I am so very appreciative to have such a fine school in our community!"

Monday, October 14, 2013

Ms. Connors' class and Mr. Jacob's class plant in the garden

Today Ms. Connor's class and Mr. Jacobs' class visited the garden. We had four sessions. Half of each class came for 45 minutes each. This allows small group instruction time for the rest of the class.

Today we discussed their favorite vegetables and the concept of cool season and warm season vegetables. Cool season vegetables are grown in the fall and winter when the temperature of the air and soil are cooler than in the summer. Some of their favorite cool season vegetables included broccoli, peas and carrots. I showed them some props of cool season vegetables that we'll be growing: broccoli, lettuce, carrots and beets.  Ms. Connor's class planted carrot seeds on the border of the broccoli bed. Mr. Jacobs' students sowed both carrot seeds and beet seeds.

One benefit of growing your own food is the increased variety. Today the children planted seeds of two different types of carrots-one is reddish purple (cosmic purple) and the other is orange. They also planted two types of beets-red and golden.

I wrote down the crops planted and the dates so we can see how long it takes for the seeds to germinate.

The children also saw three types of animals in the garden-a lizard, some ladybugs, some aphids and two monarch butterfly caterpillars. I introduced the word chrysalis to them. Hopefully the caterpillars will survive to this stage.

Thanks to Heather H. for volunteering with Mr. Jacobs' class. Please let me know if you'd like to also volunteer. My email is harty3@gmail.com.

Here are some photos:

Planting carrot seeds.

Planting carrot and beet seeds.

Cosmic Purple Carrots

Why We Need School Gardens

Dear Friends,

Please click on this link to read Amelia Saltsman's article on "Why We Need School Gardens". Amelia is a local chef and the author of The Santa Monica Farmers' Market Cookbook. She has been an inspiration to me and many others. Those of you who garden or whose children have gardened know that gardening is not just playing in the soil.  It teaches cooperation, appreciation of nature, knowledge of where food comes from, openness to new foods, enjoyment of healthy eating, science, math, vocabulary, social studies and more. I hope that your children and you will have the same memories of gardening that Amelia and her mom had.


Thursday, October 10, 2013

The new chrysalis at Marquez

Yesterday the caterpillar in Ms. Yoshida's class became a chrysalis. The kids are watching to see how many days it takes to emerge!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Ms. Palo's 4th grade class harvests basil

Today Ms. Palo's 4th graders visited the edible garden, harvested basil, tomatoes and peppers and observed the butterfly garden. They also learned about mint, cilantro and thyme. The children also visited the class hummingbird/butterfly garden area where they planted two California fuchsias near a loquat tree.

I promised them a pesto recipe. Here's one without nuts.

Basil Pesto Recipe

3 cups basil leaves
2 or 3 cloves of garlic (minced)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
very small amount of salt
very small amount of pepper
(a splash of lemon juice-didn't add that today)

Note: this pesto would be great with pasta! Let your kids help you make it!

Friday, September 27, 2013

The discovery of a monarch caterpillar in the butterfly garden

On Thursday Eva Herndon from Ms. Yoshida's class found a caterpillar on a strawberry plant in the butterfly garden. Eva is really observant! The caterpillar is now visiting Ms. Yoshida's classroom. We hope that the kids can watch it develop into a monarch butterfly. Think of the potential science lessons generated by this one caterpillar!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Chef Johnny Prep Visits Ms. Smith's Class and Ms. Conn's Class on 9/18

On September 19, Chef Johnny Prep, John Prepolec, visited two fifth grade classes. He made a marinara sauce using ingredients grown in the Marquez Edible Garden and then served it on some pasta.  Along the way he shared a bit of cooking knowledge! The sauce was delicious! We're looking forward to his next visit to Marquez. Meanwhile, I'll visit www.johnnyprep.net to see if there are any other recipes that use ingredients from our garden!

Prep's Light Marinara Sauce

2 Tbsp. olive oil
3/4 cup onions, diced
1 Tbsp. garlic clove, chopped
4 cups tomatoes, large dice
1/2 cup fresh Basil leaves, thinly sliced
1 cup chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 tsp. sugar (or to taste to balance the acid in the tomatoes)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat.  Add the onions and garlic and sauté. Stir occasionally.  Season lightly with salt and pepper.  Cook until onions are clear and translucent.  It is ok if they are a little brown but don’t burn the garlic.

2. Add the tomatoes and the basil and season again lightly with salt and pepper.  Continue to cook until tomatoes start to break down into a sauce, about 5 minutes.  Stir occasionally.

3. Add the chicken and the sugar and continue to cook for 10 minutes ( or more if tomatoes haven't broken down enough) over medium heat.  Stir occasionally and press down on the tomatoes to help them break down into a sauce.  At this point you can use a stick blender or food processor to puree the mixture if you want a smoother sauce.

4. Taste the sauce and adjust the salt, pepper, and sugar to balance the flavor properly. Add only in small portions.

More Second Grade Cooking: Ms. Conner's Class and Mr. Jacobs's Class Harvest Basil and Make Pesto!

Today Ms. Conner and Mr. Jacobs brought their students to the edible garden. The children learned the names of the vegetables and herbs in the raised bed. Each child harvested a basil leaf, smelled it and broke off a part to taste. The remainder of the leaves were washed and became part of the pesto.

In the classroom we discussed the ingredients for pesto.  Children went to the cooking table to pick out the ingredients to show them to their classmates. Then children took turns measuring the various ingredients and adding them to the food processor.

They liked the pesto which was served on a small piece of baguette!

Here are some vocabulary words from today's lesson: baguette, pesto, basil, garlic, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, minced, food processor, chef, spatula. Vocabulary from the garden: tomatoes, peppers, basil and cilantro. The children also measured liquid and dry ingredients.

Note: Extension to the lesson. Pesto originated in Northern Italy. The word pesto comes from an Italian word, pestare, which means to crush or pound. The ingredients in pesto are traditionally crushed with a mortar and pestle.

Basil Pesto Recipe

3 cups basil leaves
2 or 3 cloves of garlic (minced)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
very small amount of salt
very small amount of pepper
(a splash of lemon juice-didn't add that today)

Note: this pesto would be great with pasta! Let your kids help you make it!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Second Graders Make Pesto from the Marquez Garden

Today Ms. Fein's class and Ms. Yoshida's class visited the edible garden for the first time and then returned to the classroom to make pesto.

In the garden, they investigated the plants in one of the beds and learned their names--one of which was basil. They picked some basil and smelled it. The basil had been planted by last year's second graders in May. Some kids also saw a lizard and a ladybug!

Back in the classroom, children participated in making pesto by measuring the grated parmesan cheese, olive oil and basil and putting them in the food processor. They also added minced garlic to the mixture. (This was a recipe without nuts). They then ate bread topped with the pesto.

The children thought the pesto was delicious and several said that they would make it at home. The recipe follows:

Basil Pesto

3 cups fresh basil leaves
2 - 3 cloves garlic
1/4 c. parmesan cheese, grated
splash of lemon juice
1/2 c. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

1. In a food processor or blender chop up the garlic until minced. (You can also mince by hand).
2. Add basil leaves.
3. Add cheese.
4. Add olive oil.
5. Squeeze in 1-2 drops of lemon juice and add touch of salt (very little) and pepper to taste.

Note: the kids can help "cook" by measuring, picking basil and taking the leaves off the stem, taking the skin off of the garlic, placing the garlic in the food processor, measuring the cheese and operating the food processor by pushing the button.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

First day back in the Marquez Edible Garden

Today we weeded and otherwise cleaned up the garden. The highlight of the morning was the visit to the butterfly garden of two monarch butterflies! They loved the purple flowers of the butterfly bush.

The two beds that were planted with tomatoes, basil and peppers are doing well. The basil is ready to be made into pesto and the tomato and pepper plants are still growing. Thanks to Kurt for "squirrel-proofing" the beds this summer.

The butterfly garden is amazing! Lots of herbs and flowers! The butterfly bushes and milkweed are especially colorful. What a nice "legacy garden" from last year's second graders to this year's class.

We are looking forward to planting some cool season vegetables with the second graders as soon as we can.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

A summer poem by a Marquez School second grader

One of last year's second graders wrote the following poem as part of the Palisades' library summer reading program. It's another example of how gardening reinforces the academics! Maybe other young gardeners will write poems about the garden. If so, feel free to email Ms. Marie and I'll post them!

Good job, Sara!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Edible Gardening at the Library

Storytime and vegetable planting at the Palisades Library on July 20

Children will hear a story about growing vegetables. They will also make pots out of newspaper and plant seeds in them to take home.  Appropriate for K-3rd grade children. This will take place on the library patio from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm.  Marie Steckmest, Master Gardener for Marquez School will lead this activity. Contact info@palisadescares.org for further information.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

This week's harvest

Today I harvested some tomatoes and herbs from the garden bed that has a squirrel-proof cover.  Kurt will be squirrel-proofing some other beds this summer! Please email me if you want some of this summer's harvest.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Planting and sprouting bean seeds-a summer activity

To speed up your planting, you can sprout the bean seeds one of two ways:
1) Soak seeds in warm water for 8-12 hours and plant immediately.
2) Pre-sprout the seeds before planting.  Soak seeds overnight, drain, and place on damp paper towel which you fold over it. Keep seed in warm place eg. top of refrigerator til sprouted, plant as soon as sprouted with root down. In this case, don't water again until you see the seedling.

In either case, plant seed one inch deep in moist soil and then water.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Thanks to the "Garden Team"

Last fall the Marquez Edible Garden was just six empty raised beds and a circle area, all with poor soil. Thanks to help of the Garden Team (and of course the students) it became a productive and attractive teaching area. Special thanks to my "co", Sara Houghton, the Garden Co-ordinator, for asking me to volunteer at Marquez and for her invaluable assistance and hard work! Thanks also to fellow Master Gardener, Jack Sanders, and to fellow gardener Gretchen Arnold, aka "Gigi" for their patience and their willingness to share the love of gardening with the children at Marquez.

Gardening certificates, smoothie recipes and photos

On Tuesday I passed out gardening achievement certificates and the smoothie and salad recipes to all of the second graders.  Thanks to Ms. Yoshida for helping with the design of the certificate. Yesterday numerous children and some parents said that they'd already made the smoothie-some made several variations! I'd bet that a smoothie day at school would have a lot of fans....

This week I'll be giving the teachers a DVD of the Marquez Edible Garden to share with their classes. The children love seeing themselves!

I'm posting more photos from our banquets. If you're a parent and wish some of your child, please email me at info@palisadescares.org.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Things to do this summer

Here are some ideas to continue the children's love of growing and eating organic food:

Farm Tour
-McGrath Family Farm, mcgrathfamilyfarm.com, is open for "u-pick" and drop-in tours of less than 10 people any day. This would be a fun place for the kids to visit. Produce from this certified organic farm is sold at many farmers' markets including Santa Monica.  The farm is located at 1012 West Ventura Blvd, Camarillo, CA 93010
Phone 805-485-4210

-Windrose Farm, windrosefarm.org is open for tours on Saturday. They are located at 5750 El Pharo Drive, Paso Robles, CA 93446. Their produce is available at the Wednesday Santa Monica Farmers' Market.

Garden Workshops
-I will be giving a free kids gardening workshop at the Palisades Library. Email me at info@palisadescares.org for details.

Garden with Your Kids
-Books with product ideas include: Roots,Shoots, Buckets and Boots; The Book of Garden Projects for Kids; and others that can be found at your local library. In addition, www.kidsgardening.org has some project ideas.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The last second grade banquets of 2013!

Today market the official conclusion of gardening class for second graders. Before eating our "banquet" we reviewed the menu-describing the appetizer, main courses and dessert.   The children tasted the ingredients in the smoothie (kale, mango and banana) separately before drinking the smoothie. The children also tasted kale with and without lemon juice to see the effect on the taste. Chef Elisa taught the children how to cut correctly with a serrated plastic knife, saying that all chefs need to know how to use a knife! They could eat all or part of the tomato broccoli basil salad. What they didn't eat went into the compost pot to be fed to the worms in the compost bin.

Besides eating, the children helped harvest onions, wrote in their journals, planted seeds in paper pots and watched the slideshow that I made about this year's young gardeners.

Note: yesterday the volunteers enjoyed listening to a group sing Madalina Catalina!

The recipes from the banquet are in the prior post. I'll be sending home copies of them to all of the second grade next week.

Thanks for a great year!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Recipes from the 2nd grade end of the year garden banquet

Note: Elisa used apple juice in the smoothie that she made for the Marquez students.

End of the Year Banquet and a visit from Raw Inspiration

On May 22 one half of the second graders had an end of the year banquet in the garden. Mr. Jacobs' class also met Melissa and Brittany from Raw Inspiration, the operator of the Palisades Farmers' Market. The children also planted seeds!

Elisa Hunsiker, a former Marquez parent and a chef, organized the feast with assistance from the garden team.  The menu was based upon food we had grown or are growing in the garden. The appetizer was sugar snap peas, the main course consisted of a kale/banana/mango smoothie and a broccoli-tomato-basil salad, and dessert was a strawberry. Elisa had the children taste the individual components of the smoothie before they tasted the smoothie.  Most children loved the smoothie! As usual, most children wanted more broccoli for their broccoli salad! We served the salad with a choice of dressings-Ranch and a vinaigrette that Elisa had made. Recipes are in the next blogpost. Copies will be sent home with each child.

Melissa and Brittany from Raw Inspiration visited the garden and donated $2,000 to Friends of Marquez as part of their Gardens into Schools program.  Their mission is to bring organic gardens to schools in the communities served by their farmers markets and to help the children learn about growing and harvesting the fruits and vegetables. The Marquez garden team will use the funds to expand our program by planting more and teaching more of the students at the school. We look forward to our partnership with Raw Inspiration.

We had  two planting activities. The children planted seeds in paper pots that they made with the help of Jack Sanders, a Master Gardener volunteer.  Prior to planting we discussed why it was a good idea to use newspaper for the pots.  Children also planted sunflower seeds in the butterfly garden, which is a Legacy Garden, their gift to the incoming second graders in the fall.

Photos from the day can be seen on the Marquez Charter School Facebook page as well as below.

The children assembled their own salads.

A paper pot!
Children making paper pots.

The butterfly garden with the rock from Raw Inspiration. The rock states that this is a Jennifer McColm Certified School Garden!

Chef Elisa pours seconds of the kale-mango-banana smoothie!