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.