Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Ms. Palo's class plants a pollinator garden and more

Today Ms. Palo's students planted a plant and some seeds in the upper mini-pollinator garden. They planted a California fuschia and several types of seeds including California poppies, cosmos and zinnias. There are already butterfly bushes there. Hopefully we'll see butterflies soon! They then went to the lower garden and chose seeds that they planted in biodegradable pots to take home. They should keep the pots moist and transplant the pots into the ground when there are three sets of leaves. Tear off the bottom so roots can go down and cover the top lip of the pot or tear it off so the pot is planted at the level of the soil in the pot. Happy growing!

California Poppy, our state flower

Saturday, April 26, 2014

A good day for a garden tour

Today was a beautiful day for the garden tour. Marquez's garden had quite a few visitors, most of which were shown around by our student tour guides. The visitors included some children who planted seeds in biodegradable pots, drew pictures of plants and make potpourri from Cleveland sage. Thanks to Sophie,  Zach, Taylor, Samantha, Sophia and Angie and their parents for helping. We also displayed signs in the front of the school that showed the plan for our Native American Garden. The visitors really liked the drawings of the native plants done by Ms. Farrell's class and Ms. Reeve's class. The kindergarten teacher from Canyon came and really liked our garden. We discussed doing a Palisades School Garden Tour next spring.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Ms. Reeve's students planted and drew

This afternoon we reviewed how some of the local plants were used by the Chumash. The kids looked at the hummingbird sage,  white sage and black sage plants in the sample pot. They learned that chia seeds were crushed in a mortar with a pestle, combined with water and made into something like oatmeal. Then some kids drew their a local plant e.g. monkey flower, hummingbird sage, California poppy or chia.  Other kids planted seeds in biodegradable pots and took them home.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Whole Foods' Garden Party for Marquez 2nd Graders

Elaine Pham and Jennie from Whole Foods on Montana Avenue gave a wonderful garden party to the Marquez 2nd grade on April 23. Each class, accompanied by their teacher, came to the lower garden for 45 minutes.

Each child decorated a biodegradable pot with Sharpe markers, planted either basil or lettuce seeds and had a snack of fresh fruit and vegetables. In addition to donating the above food and planting ingredients, Whole Foods donated two mushroom growing kits.

Before the kids started working, we discussed why we put seedling mix in the pots instead of other types of soil--the pieces are fine and then the roots can grow easier. We also discussed the meaning of the word biodegradable. At least one child in each class knew that the pot would decompose in the earth! The kids loved decorating the pots and carefully planted their seeds. They knew to plant the seeds in four different spots from prior planting experience in our garden.

To take care of the seeds: keep the soil moist-it will dry out in this pot. Put the pot in a warm spot and cover with plastic wrap.   After the plant has 3 sets of leaves, you can leave it outside during the day and bring it in at night. Do this for 3 days. Then you can plant the pot. First take off the bottom of the pot so the roots can grow down. Next take off the top part of the pot so the soil is level with that in the garden. Enjoy your plant.

Both types of seeds will germinate in 5-10 days.  The kids wrote today's date on their pots. Hopefully they will keep track in their classrooms of the number of days until the seeds germinate. The teachers and I also discussed making graphs of the number of kids who planted each seeds.--math applications of a fun morning!

The kids enjoyed their snack of vegetables and fruit. I hear that many don't eat the fruit and vegetables from the cafeteria. They certainly eat them from our garden and from Whole Foods!

I'm posting some photos here and will post more later. 

Photos of Ms. Yoshida's class on the Whole Foods Day

Photos of some of the proposed plants for Native American Gardens

Black Sage (it has white to light blue flowers)



Hummingbird Sage


Ceanothus (some of our flowers will be white and others blue)

Cleveland Sage-used to make potpourri
Deer Grass

White Sage

Monkey Flower

California Poppy-our state flower

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

What to plant now in your garden

Harvest Most but not all Cool Season Veggies

I harvested most of my broccoli plants but left a few to flower and form seeds. The yellow flowers taste good and attract pollinators.

In the Marquez Garden we have pulled some but not all of the sugar snap pea plants. When they turn brown, it's time to do this.

Also, if your lettuce stalk becomes thick, it is bolting. The lettuce will taste bitter.  It's time to pull this plant and plant new lettuce or some of the warm season plants. We have pulled some but not all of the lettuce that was planted a few months ago.

We have harvested our beets in the school garden.  These are another cool season veggie.

Plant Warm-Weather Veggies and Herbs but Lettuce and Arugula are Still ok to Plant

Now is the time to sow or transplant vegetables and fruits that prefer very warm weather to mature. These include beans, corn, cucumbers, eggplants, melons, peppers, pumpkins, squash and tomatoes. They will do better when they have consistently warm soil and air temperatures.  There are two types of tomatoes-determinate and indeterminate. Determinate tomatoes grow to a specific height and tend to give their fruit all at one time. Indeterminate plants give fruit over a longer period of time and are not compact. If you are growing in a container you may want a determinate plant, however I've had great luck growing a Sungold (indeterminate) cherry tomato in a container. We are planting mostly cherry tomatoes at Marquez because they give fruit over a longer period of time and do well in our climate.
You can still plant lettuce and arugula.
You can also plant these herbs: basil, chives, dill, fennel, parsley, sage and thyme. We are planting basil and parsley at Marquez. We already have chives and thyme.


Ms. Yoshida's and Mrs. Fein's students discuss Earth Eay and plant

Today the children discussed Earth Day, planted ingredients for salsa and studied the red wriggler worms in the worm bin. 

Since Earth Day is tomorrow, we discussed what Earth Day is and some ways to take care of the earth. Many children mentioned recycle and pick up trash, others had reduce, reuse, recycle down.
Some other comments: use trash for crafts' projects, carpool, turn off the water when brushing your teeth, take shorter showers. The children wrote in their journals choosing the comments that they wished or composing their own entries.

Here's what Luca wrote on my laptop: "Today is earth day. You can throw trash away. You can also save water. If you want to save water you can try to  leave the sink water and bathtub water off.  You should also not kill animals or drink from Styrofoam. Styrofoam can spread in the ocean and kill animals ! It breaks up into tiny pieces and never breaks up . On earth I am going to do everything I can to protect the earth . Be good for earth day !!!"

Here's what Rastin wrote about their garden time: "Today Jordan, Rastin, Mira, Jocelynn, Henry and Golden planted tomatoes. Today Kevin, Makena, Golden,  Isabel,  Kayla worked with worms."

We discussed how to plant tomatoes: pinch off the bottom half of the branches and plant half of the tomato stem under the soil. The places where the branches were taken off and the small hairs on the stem will grow into roots.

Next fall, when they are in 3rd grade, the children will get to make salsa from the tomatoes, onions, peppers and cilantro that are being planted this spring.

Thanks to Dana and Ashley for helping in the garden today.

These kids aren't afraid of worms!

Ms. Yoshida's students are planting tomatoes

Placing a tomato deeply into the soil after taking off the three bottom stems so they grow into roots.

Mrs. Fein's children are checking out the red wriggler worms

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Marquez Native American Garden

Forest & Woodland- Marquee Area (First Phase)  
width- 16 ft.
length- 24 ft.
Perimeter- 80 ft.
Area- 384 sq. ft.

Inline image 2
Coastal Natives Area- Located to the right side of the driveway (First Phase)

width- 19 ft.
length- 27 ft.
Perimeter- 92 ft.
Area- 513 ft.

Inline image 4

Inline image 1
Pollinator Garden (Rose Garden) Second Phase of Project:
width- 24 ft.
length- 30 ft.
Perimeter- 108 ft.
Area- 720 sq. ft.

Note: design for this area to be revised to include some non-natives (such as roses and other plants) as well as the natives that Ryan recommended. We are aware that Emily wishes to keep boxwood or something that functions like boxwood to keep people from sitting on ledge and also keep skateboarders off of it. 

We will not add plants to this area in the first go-around. We are fertilizing the roses.

Inline image 1

What kids are saying about the garden

This small sample from Marquez students highlights one of the most important benefits of the garden: the kids like to eat the vegetables!! 

"The thing I like about Marquez's garden is that we take the plants we grow and make them into salad or pesto." - Sophie M

"... I like to eat the food. My favorites are the carrots & strawberry guavas." Taylor G.

"I like planting seeds and watching food grow." Logan H.

"I like the garden because it has edible plants in it. The butterfly garden has a lot of pretty plants and flowers in it. I like touching the worms." Kaylie H.

We have fun planting and then picking the food and the fruit that we like. It doesn't take long for the plants to grow."

"I like that the garden looks pretty. I like that we can grow really beautiful flowers and also that we can get food from a garden" - Tanner

"The garden is a fun place to go." - Samantha K.

 "The garden is a great place to learn about fruits and vegetables and plants." "I love that we can pick guava fruits in the garden." "I love that we make potpourri with the garden herbs." - Sara S.

"I think that the garden is a great place and it's much better and more special than anything else on the yard." - Phoebe S.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Whole Foods is coming to Marquez

 On Wednesday, April  23, Elaine Pham from the Whole Foods on Montana Avenue will be visiting the Marquez Garden. In honor of Earth Day, they will do a planting project with the 2nd grade. The kids will plant seeds in biodegradable pots and eat snacks of organic fruit and vegetables.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Marquez garden on 4/26 tour

On April 26, Marquez School will be one of 20 LAUSD school gardens to be on the Wildside School Garden Tour. This is an opportunity for people to see what's going on in our garden program and those of other schools all over LA. Several of the schools are in Mar Vista.

The garden will be open from 10 to 4 pm.  Invite your neighbors and friends to see the garden. What's happening on that day: seed planting, explanations and viewing of the various gardens e.g. salsa, butterfly, 3 sisters, mini-Native American, Jeffersonian, container gardens; as well as "tour" of the worm bin. More stations may be added.

We still need volunteers to help during the day and also to get the garden ready. Please contact Marie at info@palisadescares.org if you and your child wish to take a one hour shift to be docents.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Preparations for the Marquez Native American Garden

Today some small plants and small rocks were cleared at the site of the future Marquez Native American Garden. It will be in the marquee area and also in the area to the right of the driveway. This garden is funded by a grant from the Pacific Palisades Garden Club to the Friends of Marquez.
We should have a plant plan by next week. Then, upon approval by LAUSD, we should be able to remove large plants and plant some of the plants that the 3rd and 4th graders have been studying this year in the garden such as sages, monkey flowers, California poppies and others. This will be used to teach the children, Marquez families and the wider community about the usage of plants. The area will include signage that shows what plants are in the area. We'll also have an online list of plants and uses by Chumash and Tongva.  Children will be supervised when visiting this area during school.

Ms. Connor's class harvests carrots and spinach, amends soil and plants seedlings

Today Ms. Connor's second graders reviewed some garden vocabulary before working in the garden and eating. We reviewed the following important terms: harvest, amend, transplant, trowel, seeds, seedlings. Easy meanings: harvest means to pick, amend means to add, transplant means to take from one place and plant in another, trowel is a small shovel, a hand shovel, seedlings are tiny/small plants.
The kids then amended the soil in their bed and transplanted seedlings. Other children planted some seeds and harvested purple carrots for the salad.

They really enjoyed the salad of golden and red beets that Mr. Jacobs' class had harvested, their carrots and other carrots, spinach that they'd harvested and lettuce. They are big fans of the lemon juice olive oil dressing, too!
Our salad!

The purple carrot is orange inside

Two purple carrots

Mr. Jacobs' class harvests beets

Today Mr. Jacobs' class reviewed garden terms, harvested beets and spinach, and planted radish seeds.
We reviewed the following terms: seed, seedling, harvest, transplant, amend, and trowel. We also discussed the relative prices of seeds and seedlings. The kids agreed that buying seeds was cheaper. I explained that I (and we at Marquez) plant both seeds and seedlings. One child said you could eat the seedlings (and that was true for the lettuce seedlings that were the demo!)

We also reviewed root vegetables-we eat the roots of the plant (although you can also eat beet greens).  The beets and carrots that were in today's salad are both root vegetables. We also reviewed that you can tell the color of the beet by looking at the color of the vein in the leaf.

The children turned the soil where the soil amendment was added and then planted radishes.

At the end of class they ate a beet salad with the beets and spinach that they'd harvested along with some carrots and lettuce.

Golden and red beets.

Beet and carrot salad

Ms. Schwartz's class makes potpourri from cleveland sage

As part of our unit on native plants used by the Chumash, Ms. Schwartz's students made potpourri from cleveland sage on April 4. They learned that potpourri is made from dried leaves and flowers. Several of their parents use potpourri already in the house. They liked the smell of the sage and were happy to take home to their parents. We also shared the potpourri with Ms. Schwartz, Ms. Williams, Mrs. Miller and the ladies in the office!

The children then told me about their great field trip to Tumbleweed where they learned some more about the Chumash. They learned about the burning of white sage (which we had covered in the garden), about grinding acorns and more.

The children enjoyed their snack of either sugar snap peas, lettuce, purple broccoli or mint, all from the garden!

Cleveland sage potpourri

Ms. Buckner's class plants "z" for zinnias

Today the children in Ms. Buckner's class planted zinnias and violas in the kindergarten yard bed. When I sat with them and said the words, zinnia and viola, they knew that zinnia started with z and viola started with v. :')

We discussed the following things:
- they were planting seedlings which are seeds that have grown;
- the children dug holes with trowels which are small shovels. You use shovels to dig large holes and trowels to dig small holes;
- gloves are worn to keep hands clean;
- the white things around the seedlings are roots. Roots get the food and water for the plant. We loosened the roots when planting the plants;
- zinnia starts with z;
- viola starts with v;
- after you plant a seedling, you need to water it.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Mr. Lantos' class and Ms. Conn's class learn about Jefferson's favorite vegetable

Recently, Mr. Lantos' class and Ms. Conn's class studied Thomas Jefferson's favorite vegetable, the English pea. They learned that President Jefferson had contests with his neighbors about who would harvest the first pea of the season. We also discussed the meaning of heirloom seeds, of which we have planted several in the Jeffersonian garden.  We tied the discussion into social studies by discussing that one of the goals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition was to bring back new plants. The students have learned that Jefferson retired to his plantation at Monticello in Virginia. The children remember that his vegetable garden was 1,000 feet long because they measured that distance in the fall!   The class sessions ended with a tasting of linguine made with English peas and parmesan cheese.

Ms. Fein's class plants salsa garden

On April 1 some of Ms. Fein's second graders planted the ingredients for salsa. They planted tomatoes, cilantro and jalapeno peppers. They'll plant some onions soon.  The class also brought their ipads to the garden and took photos!

Ms. Bihari's class makes potpourri

On April 1, Ms. Bihari and her class visited the garden. The students made potpourri from Cleveland sage. The Chumash made tea from it.  This is part of their study of native plants used by the Chumash and Tongva, our local Native Americans.

After a discussion of what potpourri is, the children stripped off the leaves and flowers of the Cleveland sage and put them in cups to take home. They all enjoyed the scent!

Today's "taste of the garden" consisted of lettuce and purple broccoli.

Later four students helped to plant some mint and California poppies in the upper yard "mini" Native American garden.