Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Ms. Fein's class and Ms. Yoshida's class learn about composting

On Jan. 27, these two second grade classes learned how to compost. The book, "Kids Can Compost" by Wen Chia Parker, was the basis for the lesson. The two basic components of compost are greens and browns. Composting is recycling. Vegetable and fruit waste (the greens) isn't put in the disposal or in the trash can. The browns (things from trees, e.g. shredded paper, newspaper, paper towels, leaves) aren't put in the green bin. Instead, they are combined 1/2 and 1/2 with water and a small amount of soil, turned, and become food for the soil.  At school we have a black square compost bin where we put greens and browns. We also have a worm bin for vermiculture, where only greens are added. The first bin has a bottom to encourage earthworms to migrate upward. The second bin uses special red wriggler worms.  We will look at the worms with magnifying classes during a subsequent lesson.

The kids wrote about composting in their journals and also illustrated their pages. The message of the morning was "compost is good for the soil".

We looked at Jacobs' class bed and the children identified the vegetables that were growing: beets, carrots and sugar snap peas. (Both Fein's and Yoshida's beds have been ravaged by squirrels and will need to be squirrel-proofed with the assistance of parents before they are planted again.)

At the end of the lesson the children had a choice of arugula or chives to taste. (A couple of kids also had ripe strawberry guavas).

Thanks to Dana who volunteered with Ms. Yoshida's class. We are still looking for a volunteer for Ms. Fein's class.

At home I collect my vegetable waste, coffee grounds, egg shells in a small container and then place the contents daily in my compost bin.

If you wish to compost at home, you can purchase one of the above bins or make your own. LA City Dept. of Sanitation sells bins at a site in Griffith Park. This is their schedule: http://www.lacitysan.org/solid_resources/recycling/composting/bin_sales_events.htm. LA County has Backyard Composting Workshops and sells bins such as the worm bin that we use at school. The local schedule is here: http://dpw.lacounty.gov/epd/sg/wk_scheds.cfm.

At recess we had approximately 10 children who came to help compost and water in the garden. See photos below.
Adding vegetables to the compost bin

Watering the plants in the butterfly garden

Chives in the butterfly garden

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