Monday, December 29, 2014

Whole Foods' Kale, Carrot and Avocado salad

We're growing kale and carrots in the Marquez garden. Here's a recipe from Whole Foods that uses these cool season vegetables. We'll be making it at school soon.

Kale, Carrot and Avocado Salad

Serves 4

1 bunch kale, stemmed and finely chopped
2 cups grated carrots
1/2 avocado, peeled and pitted
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion

2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
1/2 teaspoon reduced sodium soy sauce

Instructions: Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl. Use your hands or the back of a large spoon to thoroughly mash avocado into kale. Set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving to allow kale to soften.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Ms. Palo's class plants again in the Native American Garden

On December 15 Ms. Palo's 4th graders planted yarrow, black sage, Douglas iris and mugwort in the Native American (Chumash inspired) garden.  We discussed that Chumash used yarrow leaves to stop bleeding and that black sage was made into tea.We reviewed the uses of some of the plants that had already been planted, such as hummingbird sage and Cleveland sage. One child in each group was a scribe and wrote down information about the planting.

We have only a few more plants left to plant in this woodland area of the garden.

Thanks to Reese's mom for volunteering. Thanks also to the LAUSD gardeners who helped take out some bushes today. We also appreciate the cooperation of our plant manager, Mrs. Miller!

Planting yarrow

Planting yarrow
 Busy gardeners!

Transplanting black sage

Friday, December 12, 2014

Ms. Gardner's Class plants in the Native American Garden

Today Ms. Gardner's 4th graders planted 12 plants in the Native American Garden.  1/2 of the class came at a time. They planted coffeeberry, purple sage, deer grass, hummingbird sage and yarrow. We reviewed the uses of the plants by the Chumash. Yarrow was used to clot blood, deer grass to make baskets, coffeeberry for medicinal purposes, hummingbird sage for tea, and purple sage attracts butterflies.  Coffeeberry also attracts birds.

To prepare the soil for planting natives, holes had been dug and then filled with water prior to the students coming to plant. The kids then dug the holes deeper, wet the plants and gently removed them from the pots before planting at soil level. Several kids discovered that we have very hard clay soil in that area!

A member in each group functioned as a scribe and wrote down information about the plants and what the kids did. Another member was the group photographer. The kids did a great job, helping to get the plants in the ground before the rain.

Thanks to Bob at Matilija Nursery in Moorpark for selling the plants to us at a generous discount!

Planting coffeeberry


Planting deer grass

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Marquez Charter receives a $1500 grant for the edible garden

Marquez was just awarded a garden grant of $1500 from the Western Growers Foundation. Western Growers Foundation (WGF) proudly partners with the California Department of Education (CDE) to award 100 K-12 schools $1,500 each—plus seeds and other materials to grow and sustain a fruit and vegetable garden. This program is made possible through a USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant, administered through California Department of Food and Agriculture, to WGF. We will use the funds to expand our edible gardening area and purchase cooking and gardening supplies for our seed to table program. Children in grades 2-5 get gardening enrichment class but all students in all grades 1-5 are able to visit the garden at recess. More details about our grant and how we're using it will be in another post.

Thanks to Rachel Burch for helping with the grant.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Ms. Chiades' class works in the Native American Garden

Today Ms. Chiades' 4th grade students worked in the woodland part of the new Native American Garden. We first reviewed of some of the native plants that they studied last year. They planted Cleveland sage and hummingbird sage plants. In addition, they sowed seeds of blue lupine. Most of the students remembered that the Chumash (and they) made potpourri from the leaves of Cleveland sage. The students that didn't plant measured the perimeter and area of the two 4th grade "adopted" beds in the front of school. One of the boys said it felt like math class and I reminded him that measuring and math are part of gardening.

We discussed that we have a landscape plan designed by a landscape architect and will plant the plants based upon the design. One of the students was the scribe and wrote in the class garden journal.

The temporary Native American Garden sign in the garden was painted by Ms. Bihari's son.

This is what our Cleveland sage will look like in a year!
The students planted three Cleveland sages and one hummingbird sage. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Ms. Gardner's Class Prepares the Woodland Garden for Planting

Today Ms. Gardner's class prepared the woodland part of the Native American Garden for planting. They pulled weeds and put them and pebbles in plastic bags.

One of the students in each group was the scribe, or notetaker, who recorded what the other children did.

One team of students in each group measured the area and perimeter of this part of the garden. The area measures 16 feet x 24 feet which is an area of 384 square feet. Angelica, a parent volunteer, worked with the students that were weeding.

Another team, with the assistance of Wendy W., a community volunteer, used the scale of the planting plant to determine where to place a yarrow, a coffeeberry and a hummingbird sage. We'll plant those after Thanksgiving vacation.

The kids were good workers!
Measuring the area and perimeter

Recording the progress

Weeding and reusing a potting soil bag for the weeds

Weeding and measuring the area

Ms. Smith's Class Plants in the Jeffersonian Garden

On November 20, Ms. Smith's class had the introductory lesson about Thomas Jefferson the horticulturist. We first reviewed the basic facts: Jefferson was the 3rd U.S. President; he retired to Monticello, Va, where he had a plantation.  When he was president he sent Lewis and Clark on a expedition. Part of their job was to bring back seeds and new plants.

We discussed the definition of horticulturist and plantation. A horticulturist is an expert in the science of cultivating plants (vegetables, fruit, flowers and ornamental plants). A plantation is a large farm with crops such as tobacco and in Jefferson's case, vegetables. Jefferson's plantation was farmed by slaves.

Information about Thomas Jefferson the horticulturist and vegetable lover: he enjoyed eating vegetables and when he was president he bought lettuce from local farmers to serve at the White House; his favorite vegetable was English Peas; he planted many different types and species of vegetables in his 1,000 foot vegetable garden; he took extensive notes about his garden, often making daily records.

Today the students planted heirloom seeds of Prince Albert Peas and Early Jersey Wakefield Cabbage that are from the Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants at Monticello. We also planted Tonda di Parigi heirloom carrot seeds from the 19th century. We discussed meaning of heirloom: something passed down, e.g. family heirloom. Heirloom seeds are seeds that are saved and passed down. Jefferson and others save seeds of plants that they like. We also discussed that seed packets have the Latin names of the plants listed under the English names.

One student in each group was the scribe and took notes of our discussion. He and she also recorded the weather and the number and type of seeds planted. In this way we are following in Jefferson's footsteps as he wrote in a garden journal.

Follow-up: 1) students can do further research about Thomas Jefferson by visiting www.monticello. org. 2) students can measure 1,000 feet to understand scope of Jefferson's vegetable garden; 3) students will monitor growth of their vegetables and record in the class journals.

The areas and vegetables planted by each class are now identified with markers.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Work Begins on the Marquez Native American Garden

LAUSD has approved our design for a Native American Garden at the front of school. It'll encompass the rose garden, the marquee area and the area to the right of the staff parking lot. The areas to the left of the lot will be cared for by the 4th grade and the area to the right of the lot by the 3rd grade. Many plants in the garden will be ones used by the local Chumash that the children study in 3rd and 4th grade. The garden in the rose garden area will be known as the pollinator garden.

This week Ms. Palo's class and Ms. Gardner's class have weeded and planted in the marquee area. There is lots more work to be done before more plants are planted in December or January. We need to clear away many bushes first! Parents who want to help prepare the soil or assist the children on planting days should contact Ms. Marie at

All 3rd and 4th graders will have an opportunity to plant and learn about some of the common plants such as Cleveland Sage, monkey flower, California poppy, purple sage, white sage, yarrow and black sage.  The children are introduced to many of these plants in their 3rd grade garden unit on Native Plants of the Chumash. As of Friday, California poppy seeds have been planted. We'll invite parents and community members to the kickoff of the garden.

The Native American Garden is divided into three areas: the Woodland and Pollinator areas will primarily be planted and maintained by the 4th grade. The Coastal will be planted and maintained primarily by the 3rd grade.

We're also looking for added donations to help purchase plants. Thanks to the Pacific Palisades Garden Club for the grant to start the garden.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Ms. Palo's Class Clears Native American Garden Area

Today, Ms. Palo's class cleared the area by the Marquez marquee for the first phase of the Native American Garden. They weeded the area and then planted some California Poppies. The Native American garden will contain plants that are native to our Santa Monica Mountains and that were used by the Chumash and Tongva. Thanks to Ryan Drnek of Sodder Studio Landscape Architecture+Planning who donated his time in making our landscape design.

Two bags full of weeds. Good job!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Edible Garden Workday

We had a successful mini-workday this weekend. Thanks to Tatiana, Ericka, Steve, Elsa, Robert, Henry, Kate and Sophia for helping! We readied the two remaining raised beds in the garden for planting.  They watered, added compost and potting soil and removed roots. Some of the helpers planted arugula seeds.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Ms. Keller's class learns about Thomas Jefferson the horticulturist

Today Ms. Keller's class began their study of Thomas Jefferson the horticulturist. They learned that he was the 3rd president, that he loved gardening and was a horticulturist-one who studies the science of vegetables, fruits and ornamentals (flowers); he had a 1,000 foot vegetable garden at his plantation at Monticello, VA. We defined plantation.  We are planting heirloom seeds that we obtained from Monticello's garden center. Thus, we defined "heirloom"-something that has been passed down or saved.

One student in each group was the scribe who wrote down important facts from the lesson. The scribe also wrote down how many of what type of seeds were planted. Most students planted radish seeds although a couple also planted peas.  These seeds date from the 18th and 19th centuries. Thomas Jefferson wrote extensive notes about his garden and crops and the students will learn about this habit by taking notes themselves.

Ms. Abram's Class and Mrs. Fein's Class in the Garden

This week Ms. Abram's class and Mrs. Fein's class visited the garden. They reviewed the names of some vegetables and what parts of the plants we eat, planted seeds and ate.

I gave them riddles and they guessed the veggie--e.g. "You eat the root of this plant and it is usually orange, but sometimes purple, red, yellow and white" Answer is carrot; "You eat the leaf of this vegetable and it's green and red." Answer is lettuce. "You eat the flower of this plant." Answer is broccoli.

The children planted various seeds including radish, carrots, sugar snap peas and lettuce. We discussed that soaking the pea seed overnight makes it softer and easier for the root to grow. They looked at the roots of some of the seeds. The children also wrote in their journals about planting seeds. Some children also searched for and found worms in the worm compost bin.

The children enjoyed eating celery, carrots, broccoli or sugar snap peas. The vegetables were supplied by Gelson's.

Journal writing

What is this vegetable? Is it a beet or is it a radish? What are the differences?

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Mr. Jacobs' Class plants in the garden

This week Mr. Jacobs' class reviewed the lesson about what parts of the plant we eat and then planted seeds in the garden. We reviewed lettuce, tomato, beets, radish, carrots and other vegetables by making riddles. Here's an example: You eat only the leaves of me and I am green--answer is lettuce; you eat my roots and I am usually orange--carrot (it can also be red, purple, yellow and white). The children wrote in their garden journals and then planted.

The children planted beet seeds, lettuce seeds and broccoli seeds and then watered. They enjoyed sampling chives and parsley before they left.

Thanks to garden volunteers Carolyn and Ellen for their assistance.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Ms. Conn's Class Plants Prince Albert Peas

Ms. Conn's 5th graders learned about Thomas Jefferson the horticulturist on Nov. 4. We discussed that he was the 3rd President, that his plantation was in Monticello, VA, and that his vegetable garden was 1,000 feet long. A student in each group took notes in the class garden journal. Jefferson himself also wrote in a garden journal. The students planted Prince Albert Peas which are similar to the English peas that were Jefferson's favorite vegetable. We defined "heirloom" as the kids are planting heirloom seeds. Heirloom is something passed down (and saved) from prior generations.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Ms. Yoshida's and Ms. Connor's classes Plant in the Garden

Today Ms. Yoshida's and Mrs. Connor's classes visited the garden. We reviewed the prior lesson about parts of the plants that we eat. I played riddles with them and encouraged them to play riddles with their teachers. Here are a couple of examples: "You usually eat the root of me but you can sometimes eat the stem and leaves,  I can be red, yellow or pink and white"-answer is beet. " You eat the flower of this plant and it's green"--answer is broccoli. We did the riddles with these vegetables, lettuce, tomatoes, radishes, celery, and carrots.

Today's lesson was on seeds. We looked at peas that had been soaked overnight in water  so the root would form. I drew a picture of the seed and they copied and labelled it.

The kids planted lettuce seeds, pea seeds, lettuce seedlings, kale seedlings and broccoli seedlings today.

Thanks to Carolyn, Ellen and Ashley for helping the kids in the garden.

Watering the butterfly garden

Planting kale seedlings

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Mr. Lantos' Class Starts the Jeffersonian Garden Unit

Today Mr. Lantos' class started their study of Thomas Jefferson the horticulturist. We reviewed some basic facts first: Jefferson was the 3rd president of the United States, his plantation was at Monticello, VA and he sent Lewis and Clark to explore Louisiana. The garden facts included: definition of horticulture-study of science of ornamental plants, vegetables, fruit and grains; definition of heirloom-something that has been passed down and saved, e.g. furniture and in our case, seeds;size of his vegetable garden-1,000 feet; favorite vegetable-English pea; and that Lewis and Clark brought seeds back from their travels.  After discussing the importance of healthy soil (we had amended the soil before with worm castings), the kids planted tennis ball lettuce seeds. The lettuce seeds are heirloom seeds purchased from Monticello. This was one of his favorite varieties of lettuce.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Monarchs at Marquez

We're a monarch butterfly nursery! What a difference a day makes! Today a monarch butterfly emerged from its chrysalis in one of our raised beds. We opened the bed to let it fly away. Also, the children at lunch recess saw five monarch caterpillars in the butterfly garden. The caterpillars move quickly around the butterfly garden and are eating a lot of milkweed. Maybe we'll have some more form chrysalises!

October 29

October 30

Ms. Gardner's Class Eats Succotash and Sees a Chrysalis

On October 29, Ms. Gardner's 4th graders visited the edible garden. Today's lesson was a review of the Three Sisters' Garden that 3rd graders planted last spring and also a review of local plants used by the Chumash and Tongva.

The students remembered many of the local plants including hummingbird sage, white sage, black sage, monkey flower, California Poppy and Cleveland Sage. We discussed that the Chumash made potpourri from Cleveland Sage and that the students had done that last year. Today each child took home a branch of Cleveland Sage.

The Three Sisters are corn, zucchini and squash.  Many Native American tribes planted them together, including the Iroquois. The Native Americans celebrated the corn (or maize) harvest at the end of summer. The children enjoyed eating the succotash made from corn, beans and zucchini. Several children enjoyed the zucchini even though they usually don't like it!

After eating the children worked in the garden planting seeds and seedlings, feeding worms in the worm bin and watering. They enjoyed looking at the monarch chrysalis and caterpillars.
October 30---Great news...the monarch emerged from the chrysalis on Thursday morning and we set it free in the garden!!

Thanks to JodiLynne and Ms. Gardner for helping in the garden today! Thanks to Gelson's Market for providing the ingredients for the succotash! Here's a comment from JodiLynne that illustrates the importance of our program: "We have seen a direct link between what kids taste from the garden and what they turn out to like. Just a moment before sampling the three sisters' succotash, children were convinced they wouldn't like it. Low and behold, a moment later, they were asking for seconds!"

Succotash Recipe

  • 12 ounces green beans, trimmed, cut into 3/4-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 2 large ears fresh corn, husked
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 small summer squash or zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 scallions, finely chopped

    1. Steam, microwave or cook beans in water ( 15 minutes) until tender.
    2. Cut kernels from corn cobs. 
    3. Heat oil and butter in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the corn. Stir to coat well, then add squash (or zucchini), the beans and 2 tablespoons of the bean- cooking liquid or water. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the corn and squash are tender, 8 to 12 minutes. 
    4. Garnish with scallions and or cherry tomatoes for color.

    Planting in the butterfly garden

    One of two caterpillars in the garden

    Planting beet seeds

    Monday, October 27, 2014

    Ms. Abram's Class Visits the Garden on October 27

    Today Ms. Abram's 2nd graders visited the garden for the first time. During introductions they and the parent volunteers shared the names of their favorite vegetables. Carrots were the most popular.

    We reviewed the parts of a plant and then discussed which parts of vegetables we were going to eat in today's salad. The children also identified the various vegetables. The salad contained the leaves of lettuce, the roots of beets, carrots and radishes, the seeds of corn, the stem (or stalk) of celery, the flowers of broccoli and the fruit of tomato.  The vegetables for the salad were organic ones donated by Gelson's Market. We are planting all of the above vegetables this fall except for corn and tomatoes which are warm season vegetables.

    The children wrote in their garden journals after the lesson. After writing a title, they drew an illustration of a plant, labelled the parts and then wrote a sentence about their favorite vegetable.

    Some of the children planted seeds of carrots and radishes while others looked for worms and rolly pollies in the worm bin.  Children from the class also visited at recess and saw some monarch butterfly caterpillars in the butterfly garden.

    Today we had two guests from Raw Inspiration who took photos of the garden,, the non-profit operator of California Certified Farmers Market. They manage the markets in the Palisades and Brentwood. In 2012 we became a Jennifer McColm Certified School Garden, a beneficiary of their gardens-into-schools program.

    Thanks to today's volunteers: Carolyn, Agnes, Lauren and Sharon.

    Salad anyone?

    Looking for worms in the composting bin.

    Planting seeds

    A monarch chrysalis in the butterfly garden