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.