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,, 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, 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 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, 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!


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Blogs by 2nd graders on May 15

My Favorite Things in the Garden
By Sara M and Isaiah

My favorite thing about garden is planting with room 6. I also like to pick grubs from the soil. I like to plant vegetables, beans and flowers and after they sprout we enjoy eating them. We learned a lot! 


                                         By Sofi F and Natasha

                 I like planting a lot of stuff in the garden. I like planting sugar snap peas, broccoli, and lettuce and carrots. In the garden we do a lot of fun stuff like compost and transplanting and a lot of other things. We had fun in the garden!

Super Vegetables
        By Logan, Troy, and Manny
Troy likes the garden because we get to eat.  Manny likes gardening because it is fun. Logan Likes the garden because we get to eat food.

Making Earth-friendly Paper Pots and More

Today the kids made paper pots and planted bean seeds in them. They are earth-friendly because you are reusing newspaper instead of recycling it and instead of using peat or other kinds of pots. This "recipe" is from "the book of Gardening Projects for Kids" written by Whitney Cohen and John Fisher of Life Lab. (This is an easy to use guide of fun projects that parents and kids can do together).
1) Cut newspaper into strips 3" x10";
2) Wrap newspaper around a frozen juice can, spice container, etc, leaving about 1 1/2 " on one edge for the bottom of the pot.
3) Fold in the part hanging over the bottom. (Use tape if you wish, but it's not necessary).
4) Fill the pot with either seed-starting mix or potting soil.
5) Plant seeds according to packet directions. Label the pots.
6) When seedlings are ready to transplant, you can peel away the paper or plant the entire pot in the ground-just bury all of the paper.

Note: the kids planted bean seeds so they can just keep the pot outside but don't forget to keep the soil wet. The plants should be watered as soon as they get home.  It'll take about 10 days before the plant will emerge.

Other things we did today: we observed the garden and saw what had changed. The kids liked the "new" seats that two second grade moms, Rachel and Christine, had sanded and polyurethaned. The kids also liked the newly painted vines on the shade structure! They also observed the wood chips, mulch, that had been added to the paths. They learned that mulch keeps plant roots cool, helps people water less often and prevents weeds from growing.

The kids also planted pumpkin and sunflower seeds as well as tomato and pepper plants that were donated by Life Lab.
One of the boys brought a caterpillar that his mom had found and let it go in the butterfly garden.

Finally, they learned what a banquet was--a feast--which is what we'll have next week!

Thanks to community volunteers Jack Sanders and Gretchen Arnold. Thanks to parent volunteers Hiroko and Jaylene.
We were happy to have a visit from Yvonne Savio, Common Ground Program Manager for UCCE.

Blogs from some of the kids follow in the next post.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Thanks for the new paint!

Thanks to Christine Bennett and Rachel Burch for the new paint on our shade structure in the garden. The green ivy looks great and the kids will appreciate the polyurethaned seats!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

A successful workday on May 5

We had a successful mini-workday on May 5, Big Sunday. In the edible garden, Christina, Rachel and Elena painted the trellis overhang while others mulched pathways and planted. Randy Ritchie of Malibu  Compost taught us about biodynamic compost and gave us suggestions for improving our soil. We added some Malibu Compost to our beds and sprayed with compost tea.
Elsewhere at school parents and kids were busy weeding and planting!