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

    Thursday, October 16, 2014

    Square Foot Gardening at Marquez

    Square Foot Garden

    This year we will be using the square foot gardening method in several beds. Currently the bed closest to the teaching area is being planted in this intensive method. The garden is divided into foot wide sections. The size of a vegetable and the spacing of the seeds determines how many seeds or seedlings are placed in each square.

    The beds will have the following plants and number:

    Beets - 9 per square foot
    Broccoli - 1 per square foot (planted)
    Cabbage - 1 per square foot (planted)
    Carrots - 16 per square foot
    Celery - 1 per square foot (planted)
    Lettuce - 4 per square foot (planted)
    Onions - 9 per square foot
    Peas - 8 per square foot (seeds are planted)
    Radishes - 16 per square foot
    Spinach - 9 per square foot

    To do this at home, look on the seed packet for plant spacing. When suggested spacing is:
    3" or less, plant 16 per square foot; 4" plant 9 per square foot, 6" plant 4 per square foot, 12" apart plant 1 per square foot.

    We are planting cool season vegetables at this time. They like cooler growing temperatures which we will hopefully have! Warm season vegetables will be planted in the spring.

    When planting vegetables, whether seedlings or by seeds, I recommend planting some of your child's favorite vegetables and let them pick out the plants and/or seeds. You might also try a new vegetable. This week many kids liked carrots and broccoli, however they tried the beets in the salad and discovered that they liked them! For quick results, plant lettuce and radish seeds. When planting peas, soak them overnight before planting.

    Monday, October 13, 2014

    The 1st Visit to the Garden for Ms. Connor's Class

    Today Ms. Connor's class visited the edible garden for the first time. They introduced themselves and gave the name of their favorite vegetables.

    We next reviewed the parts of a plant using an illustration that I'd made of a broccoli plant. The parts are roots, stem, leaf, fruit, seeds and flower. Using food donated by Gelson's, the kids identified the vegetables and stated what part of the plant is eaten. (We discussed that beet roots are most commonly eaten but that stems and greens are also eaten. We also discussed that the stem and flower of broccoli are eaten.) Since children in other classes had mistaken beets for radishes, we compared the two.

    The children copied an illustration of a plant and labeled it or made their own illustration and labeled it. Afterwards they enjoyed a salad that volunteers had made with corn, lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, broccoli, celery and beets. The salad had a lemon olive oil vinaigrette.

    The children enjoyed watching a monarch butterfly caterpillar that was on a milkweed plant in the butterfly garden.

    Ms. Yoshida's class and Parts of a Plant

    Ms. Yoshida's 2nd graders visited the garden for the first time on October 13. We introduced ourselves and stated our favorite vegetables. Then we reviewed the parts of a plant and identified which parts we'd be eating of some vegetables that were provided by Gelson's Market.  We observed the difference between radishes and beets. Both are root vegetables. The kids ate a salad made from roots of carrots and beets, leaves of lettuce, flowers of broccoli, seeds of corn, stems (or stalk) of celery, and fruit of a tomato plant. The recipe for the lemon olive oil dressing follows.

    The children copied an illustration of a plant and labeled the parts before their snack. (We discussed the meaning of illustration and label.)

    Some of the children saw the monarch butterfly caterpillar in the butterfly garden!

    Our vegetable salad


    Lemon Juice and Olive Oil Vinaigrette

    1/4 c. olive oil
    1/3 to 1/2 c. lemon juice
    2 cloves garlic
    salt and pepper to taste
    grated parmesan cheese if desired (we didn't add this due to potential allergies)

    Tuesday, October 7, 2014

    Mrs. Fein and Mr. Jacobs' Classes Learn about the Parts of a Plant

    Today second graders in Mrs. Fein's class and Mr. Jacobs' class reviewed the parts of a plant.  I asked them what their favorite vegetable was. We then discussed which part that we eat of specific vegetables. We also identified some vegetables which the children later ate in a salad. I held up the vegetables and asked the children what they were. Thanks to Gelson's for donating all of the organic vegetables that we used for this lesson!!

    The vegetables and the parts that we eat:
    - lettuce--leaves (we used red leaf lettuce)
    - beets--all but roots are eaten most often. Most children guessed that the plant was a radish.  This is a common reaction the first time most children see a beet. This isn't far off since they are both root vegetables and similar in color. This sample which was red.
    -celery--stem (though we call it the stalk); people also put leaves in soups to add flavor
    -broccoli--all but the flower is most commonly eaten

    The children wrote in their garden journals.  Today's title was "The Parts of a Plant". All of them drew an illustration of a plant and labelled the parts. They also wrote one or two sentences.
    Most children tried the salad with all of the ingredients and with the lemon vinaigrette dressing.

    Several of the children visited the garden at recess to help water. Nice to have new volunteers!

    Thursday, October 2, 2014

    Gelson's Becomes a Sponsor of our Farm to Table Tasting Program

    This week Gelson's became a sponsor of our farm to table tasting program. This will enable us to expand the edible part of our curriculum.  The ingredients for the 3rd grade salsa, 4th grade succotash and 5th grade kale chips and smoothies came from Gelson's.  Ingredients for the upcoming 2nd grade unit will also come from Gelson's.

    Wednesday, October 1, 2014

    5th Graders Celebrate National Kale Day

    Marquez 5th Graders celebrated National Kale Day on October 1 by eating kale. Some classes ate kale chips while others tasted kale/banana/mango smoothies. Both the chips and the smoothies were made using lacinato kale which is also known as dinosaur kale. This kale happened to be Thomas Jefferson's favorite kale. (This year the 5th graders will plant kale seeds and other heirloom seeds that Jefferson planted as part of their study of Thomas Jefferson the horticulturist.) Thanks to Gelson's for the kale!

    Kale Chip Recipe

    1 bunch kale, washed
    2 T. olive oil
    sea salt

    Pre-heat the oven to 275 degrees. Remove the ribs from the kale and cut or tear into 1 1/2-inch pieces. Lay on a baking sheet and toss with the olive oil and salt. Bake until crisp, turning the leaves halfway through, about 20 minutes.

    Kale/Banana/Mango Smoothie

    2-3 cups kale, de-stemmed and roughly chopped or torn
    2-3 ripe bananas, fresh or frozen
    1 cup mango chunks
    1 cup water, orange juice, or almond milk
    1 cup ice (if using frozen mango, omit ice)

    Mix in blender.

    Ms. Reeves' Class Makes Salsa

    Today Ms. Reeves' 3rd graders made salsa using ingredients that they'd planted as 2nd graders last spring in the Marquez Edible Garden.  We supplemented the ingredients with some produce from Gelson's. These young chefs did a great job cutting tomatoes, garlic, onions, jalapeno peppers and cilantro, and measuring lime juice and olive oil. Many kids enjoyed seconds of the salsa! The class also shared some salsa and chips with Dr. Hananel.