Friday, March 22, 2013

The First Day of Spring with Second Grade

What a great way to celebrate the first day of spring! Several kids in each class knew that it was the first day of spring. We discussed that many people identify spring as a time to plant and then reviewed the other three seasons.

The kids did garden maintenance, transplanted plugs and planted seedlings and bulbs.  Maintenance consisted of watering, weeding and adding some greens to the compost bin. Some kids removed arugula that had gone to seed from bed #1 and added it to the compost bin. Several kids transplanted very tiny seedlings, called plugs, to larger containers. I obtained the free plugs from a monthly give-away at John Muir Middle School in Pasadena organized by Master Gardener Mud Baron. Other children planted more sugar snap pea seedlings. The kids love to eat these peas so I thought we needed to plant some more!

What's new in the garden? The radish seeds that were planted last week have already sprouted.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Thanks to recent donors

Thank you to two members of the Palisades Village Green Committee who have made donations to the Marquez School garden. Marge Gold generously donated several bags of potting soil. Betsy Collins donated some tomato seedlings which she had grown. We'll use the potting soil to transplant plugs that I got from the monthly Plug Mob at John Muir Middle School run by Master Gardner Mud Baron. The tomatoes will be planted after Spring break.

Donations of soil, seedlings (warm season), selected flowers and potting soil and soil amendment are always welcome! Please contact Marie or Sara regarding specific plants.

Ms. Gardner's class starts gardening

Today Ms. Gardner's class started gardening. They were enthusiastic learners! We discussed composting: what does into the compost (greens, browns), what else is needed (air and water), what decomposers do the work (they volunteered names of decomposers that they had learned in science-earthworms, fungi, bacteria, pill bugs), that heat is generated by the decomposing process and that the outcome is humus which we add to soil to enrich it.

The kids then had the choice of two jobs: adding greens to the compost bin or weeding an area where the fourth graders are planting seeds of our state flower, the California poppy.  They tore the greens into small pieces so they will break down easier. They all should recognize what the poppy looks like since one is blooming in the bed.

Finally, they looked at the earthworms and bugs in the sample of compost which I brought from home. At the end of the morning, some kids added my compost and worms to the 4th grade bin.

It would be great if fourth graders could bring items for the compost bin on the days that they garden. They know what they can bring: vegie and fruit scraps, coffee filters, coffee grounds, tea bags, paper towels, newspaper. I forgot to mention egg shells to them, but they can bring those as well. When adding to the bin, we need to keep an equal balance of greens and browns and keep the bin moist.

Second graders in the garden on March 13

The groups this week learned about more about edible flowers, planted some tomato plants and marigolds, planted radish and lettuce seeds, composted and weeded. 

Most kids didn't know what a marigold is but now they do! Some thought it was a sunflower, and actually it looks like a mini-sunflower... I did a hangman technique to help them guess the name...
_ _ _ _ gold. We discussed three reasons to plant them: 1) aphids (bugs that eat our plants) don't like them; 2) they smell good; 3) they are pretty. We planted the marigolds near our tomato plants and also near a milkweed plant that had aphids.

Thanks to the families that are sending in vegetable and fruit scraps for the composting bins. The worms thank you! The kids still enjoy looking at the worms. In one or two months, we'll have humus and worm castings to add to our garden at Marquez.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Kindergarteners are busy learning about composting and planting on March

On March 12 kindergarteners in Rooms 5 and 7 showed up with a terrific amount of food waste brought in from home!  We examined worms at work in our compost bin and set up another new home for more to come (hopefully) with greens and browns.  We also planted clovers to take home for St Patrick's Day with parent volunteer, Jenny Lee.

On March 13, Rooms 1 and 2 did the same regarding composting, garden journals, and planting seeds with parent volunteers Elsa Wolthausen and Laura Salinas. Grandpa Lenny helps often.

In prior gardening times, these kindergartners have also spent time prepping and watering beds in the lower yard; working in their garden journals; harvesting and tasting arugula from the upper yard; making seed bombs; learning about composting.

Ms. Abrams class starts composting

We worked with Ms. Abrams class on March 11. We discussed decomposers (which they had studied in science), composting, and what vegetables we will start growing in the raised beds.  The kids had a good grasp of the types of decomposers and enjoyed looking at the worms and pill bugs in the compost which I brought from home. They learned what goes into a compost bin and the started putting greens and browns in one of them.

In addition some kids prepared areas for planting.  One area has a California poppy and we reviewed that this is the state flower and that it was used by local Indians.  The most exciting thing was the discovery of a strange bug in one of the raised beds. It was a Jerusalem cricket.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Second graders in the garden on March 6- flowers, worms, planting and eating

We were welcomed to the garden by blooming bulbs and violas. The violas are edible!

This week the 2nd graders continued to look at worms with magnifying glasses, added greens and browns to the compost bin, planted seeds and planted some plants. After they finished writing in their garden journals they could choose a snack from the garden.

Today's guest bloggers are three girls in Ms. Fein's class who wrote this on my laptop without assistance:

"Today we went into 3 different groups .  In the first group we explored worms . In the second group we planted lettuce .  And in the last group we fed the compost and got to see a baby worm hatch .  We found a bunch of pill bugs and we had lots of fun today in the Garden . And at the end we will get to choose to eat something . We think that it will be arugula or lettuce . We saw a lot of worm eggs and a lot of worms eating . We learnd that when worms have fat bulges on them they are eating . And that when worms are thin they are not healthy and when they are energetic they are healthy . And now we are learning about the pea plant . And that was what we did."

Some children planted edible flowers and herbs. They planted yellow marigolds, lavender, rosemary, lemon thyme and mint.  

I'm making two auction donations for Friends of Marquez. 1) Edible Gardening Bucket.  It contains the following: a pair of kid's gardening gloves, a kid size trowel, lettuce and nasturtium seeds, a viola plant, a copy of "Roots, Shoots, Bucket and Boots". Value: $ 42.00 2) a Topsy Turvey Tomato Planter. Value: $5.00.  Please tell your friends! They'll be available at school this coming week.