Thursday, December 10, 2015

Ms. Fein's and Mr. Jacobs' Students Make Worm Salad and Learn About Vermiculture

Looking for worms!
On December 7, Mrs. Vander Veen taught Ms. Fein's and Mr. Jacobs' 2nd grade students about vermi-composting which is composting with worms. We have red wriggler worms living in our school worm bin.  The students first learned about rot and the process of decomposition that occurs with the food that is placed in the worm bin for the worms to eat.  They then contributed to the chart that listed what worms can and cannot eat. After writing in their journals, the students made worm salad with fruit and vegetable scraps which they fed to the worms. They had carrots for a snack in the garden and their teachers were given gummy worms to pass out later.
Ingredients for worm salad

A listing of some things you can and cannot add to the worm bin

Friday, December 4, 2015

5th Graders Save Heirloom Tomato Seeds

Today some of Ms. Conn's and Mr. Lantos' students learned how to save heirloom tomato seeds. We used open-pollenated heirloom tomatoes, not hybrid tomatoes. Seeds from open-pollenated plants will result in the same plant whereas a hybrid one could result in one of the parent plants.

We are fermenting the seeds by saving the seeds in a container with approximately 1/4 c. of water. We'll separate the seeds and dry them on a paper plate next week.

The students have planted heirloom seeds from Monticello in their Jeffersonian Garden. We are following practices that have been used by gardeners there and elsewhere to duplicate plants that the like.

Some students also planted radish and kale seeds in the Jeffersonian Garden.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Art project with pressed flowers

Here's an art project to do with older children that I found on a website, Let me know if you try it!

Decorate candles with flowers and foliage that you've grown and pressed yourself. Place small flowers, leaves, and vines between paper towels, and weigh down with a heavy book overnight. Pieces should be limp but not moist or crispy. Use a glue stick to tack them into place on candles. Mix and match colors, or use white candles to highlight the colors of the flowers and leaves. In an empty coffee can tall enough to hold the candle, melt six cakes of paraffin by setting it in a pan of boiling water. Dip the candle, with its tacked-on flowers and leaves, into the liquid paraffin, and hold it or set it upright until it's cool. Dip again if a thicker coating is desired.  

Friday, November 13, 2015

Ms. Palo's Class Makes Succotash, Learns about Deer Grass and Votes for Favorite Vegetables

Today Ms. Palo's 4th graders made succotash. This was a follow-up to their planting a Three Sisters Garden as 3rd graders. Succotash normally contains corn, squash and beans. Today's recipe contained corn, squash, peppers and onions. The recipe below contains all of the above ingredients.

All of the students participated in the cutting of the vegetables which we then cooked in an electric skillet. The food was delicious and the students had seconds.

Ms. Palo suggested that the students make this dish as part of their family's Thanksgiving meal. Both she and I will do this! This would be appropriate as this is Native American Heritage Month.

The traditional succotash recipe is just beans, corn and squash. We added a few more ingredients to make it more colorful.

Marquez Succotash Recipe


1/4 cup olive oil
3 T. unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 medium onion, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 medium yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
3 medium zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 package frozen lima beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 package frozen green beans or 1 c. fresh green beans
3 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels (4 ears)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 T. fresh thyme leaves


In a large skillet, heat oil and butter over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onion; cook about 4 minutes. Add peppers, zucchini, beans, and corn.  Use any combination or type of beans that you wish. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in thyme and enjoy.

The students also learned that Deer Grass was used by the Chumash and Tongva to make baskets. We are currently growing this native plant in our Native American Garden.

The class voted for their favorite vegetables. Corn was the most popular.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

4th Graders Eat Succotash

Today Ms. Gardner's class and Ms. Chaides' class ate succotash.  Ms. Gardner's class also worked in the garden. This "lesson" is a follow-up to the Three Sisters Garden that they planted as 3rd graders last spring. We reviewed the plants from that garden-corn, beans and squash. Since this is Native American Heritage Month, the experience was well timed.

In the garden Ms. Gardner's class reviewed white sage and also learned about Cleveland sage and purple sage. Some students planted purple sage seeds, others amended a raised bed and planted parsley seeds.

The traditional succotash recipe is just beans, corn and squash. I added a few more ingredients to make it more colorful.

Marquez Succotash Recipe


1/4 cup olive oil
3 T. unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 medium onion, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 medium yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
3 medium zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 package frozen lima beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 package frozen green beans or 1 c. fresh green beans
3 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels (4 ears)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 T. fresh thyme leaves


In a large skillet, heat oil and butter over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onion; cook about 4 minutes. Add peppers, zucchini, beans, and corn.  Use any combination or type of beans that you wish. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in thyme and enjoy.

Ms. Connor's Class Graphs Vegetables and Plants

In today's garden lesson, Ms. Connor's class discussed their favorite vegetables and made a colorful bar graph. They reviewed the parts of the vegetables that they eat, e.g. flower and stem of broccoli, root of carrot.  They wrote about the graphing in their journals. They then planted seeds of radish, lettuce and carrots in the Peter Rabbit Garden. They observed that lettuce seeds are tiny. We discussed that we cover tiny seeds with just a little bit of soil.  The children then watered their seeds. The lettuce seeds should germinate in 7-14 days. We finished the lesson with tastings of carrots and tomatoes. (As always, we taught half the class at a time.) Thanks to Mrs. Vander Veen for volunteering.

Recording a favorite vegetable during the lesson

Room 40's Favorite Vegetables

Friday, November 6, 2015

Ms. Schwartz's Class Plants

Ms. Schwartz's 3rd graders planted cool season seedlings in the garden today. They planted broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and lettuce.  We covered the brassicas (all the above except lettuce) with row covers to protect them from the cabbage moth. In addition they planted pansies in the butterfly garden. Thanks to Carolyn H. for volunteering today.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Ms. Wilkinson's Class Makes Salsa

This week Ms. Wilkinson's 3rd grade class made salsa. This was a follow-up to their planting of tomatoes, cilantro and peppers in the Salsa Garden when they were in 2nd grade. The student chefs did excellent work and the salsa was delicious with tortilla chips. We had used two heirloom tomatoes and discussed the meaning of heirloom. One girl answered that the seeds had been saved from tomatoes that people had eaten in the past.  I told the students that they can plant the end of the green onion and grow another one. The salsa was colorful due to the use of yellow and red tomatoes, cilantro and jalapeno peppers. Thanks to Gelson's for providing the ingredients. Thanks to Kelli Swartz and Karen Shaw who volunteered.

Salsa Recipe

8 tomatoes (plus extra if desired)
1-2 jalapeno peppers (cut in small pieces and seeded)
2 green onions
1/2 bunch cilantro
3 T. olive oil
3 T. lime juice
2 garlic cloves
salt and pepper to taste

1. Cover the tables with plastic tablecloths or newspaper. Give each child a serrated plastic knife and a plate.
2. Write recipe on the board and discuss.
3. Pass out laminated directions for each center, e.g. tomato, garlic, olive oil, lime juice, jalapeno pepper, onions and cilantro.
4. Pass out ingredients. I give each student a cherry tomato to cut in addition to their other jobs.
5. Adults supervise the "centers", especially the jalapeno pepper one where children wear plastic gloves.
6. Save the stems for the compost bin.
7. Combine ingredients and distribute salsa and chips.
8. Enjoy!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Ms. Yoshida's Class Plants and Makes a Graph

Today Ms. Yoshida's class made a bar graph of their favorite vegetables.  Corn was the most popular vegetable. We discussed that corn, tomatoes, peppers and some other of their favorites were warm season vegetables. This month we're planting cool season vegetables that like cooler temperatures. The children planted lettuce, carrot and beet seeds in the Peter Rabbit Garden after they wrote in their garden journals. Thanks to Lindy and Laurie for volunteering today!

A graph of their favorite vegetables

Planting in the Peter Rabbit Garden

Mrs. Fein's Class Plants in the Peter Rabbit Garden

Mrs. Fein's class visited the edible garden on Monday, October 26. During the first part of the lesson we reviewed the parts of the plant that we eat of certain vegetables-carrots (roots), lettuce and kale (leaves), celery (stem), broccoli or cauliflower (flower) and corn (seed). Next we talked about planting cool season crops in the Peter Rabbit Garden.  After writing in their garden journals the students planted lettuce and carrot seeds.  They learned that we cover small seeds with just a bit of soil and larger seeds with more soil. They had carrots for snack.

We're growing lettuce in the Peter Rabbit Garden.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Mr. Jacobs' Class Plants in the Peter Rabbit Garden

On Monday, Mr. Jacobs' class visited the garden for the second time. We reviewed the lesson on plant parts that we eat.  We highlighted lettuce and kale (leaves), broccoli (flower), corn (seeds) and carrots (roots).  The students planted lettuce seeds in the Peter Rabbit Garden. Thanks to Laurie Vander Veen for laminating the picture of Peter Rabbit. The students had either carrots or chives for their snack.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Ms. Keller's Class Makes a Kale Salad and Gardens

Ms. Keller's Class Makes a Kale Salad

Ms. Keller's class made a kale salad this week and learned about the white cabbage moth whose caterpillars eat kale leaves. In addition, some students planted Brown Dutch Lettuce from Monticello in the Peter Rabbit bed and others took home red buckwheat seeds. Brown Dutch was the most frequently planted lettuce crop by Thomas Jefferson.

Kale Salad

  • 1 bunch kale , stemmed and finely chopped or torn
  • 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*
  • feta cheese (our addition)
This recipe is adapted from a Whole Foods recipe. Mix everything together and let it sit if you want the kale to be softer. We did not use sesame seeds or soy sauce but added the feta cheese. The students made individual servings.


Ms. Palo's Class Learns about Cabbage Moths

Ms. Palo's Class Studies White Cabbage Moths

This week Ms. Palo's class learned about the white cabbage moths that lay eggs on kale, broccoli and cabbage. The resulting green caterpillars have infested Ms. Palo's class bed and eaten holes in every leaf. The students picked caterpillars and chrysalises with and without caterpillars inside. They looked at them with magnifying glasses. Several students found eggs on the white sage, however there were no holes on the sage. 

We discussed ways to get rid of the caterpillars including organic spray, picking them and using row covers. Row covers will keep out the moths but should be used when there are no caterpillars or eggs.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Ms. Connor's Class Visits the Garden for the First Time

On October 19, Ms. Connor's class visited the garden for the first time this year. We reviewed the parts of a plant, named the vegetables that we had on display and identified what parts of a plant we ate of each. Roots: potatoes, beets, carrots, onions; stems: celery and broccoli; leaves: lettuce, kale, chard, arugula; flowers: broccoli; seeds: corn, edamame; fruit: tomatoes, cucumber, peppers.

The children then wrote in their journals. The topic was "Parts of a Plant". They illustrated a plant and labeled the parts. They also wrote "My favorite vegetable is...".

They enjoyed a fresh vegetable salad for snack. Thanks to Gelson's for donating the organic vegetables.

Ms. Yoshida's Class Visits the Garden

On October 19 Ms. Yoshida's class visited the garden for the first time. We discussed the parts of  a plant after which the students discussed what parts we eat of vegetables that I'd brought. These included roots (potatoes, beets, carrots, radishes and onions); stems (celery and broccoli); leaves (lettuce, kale and swiss chard); flowers (broccoli); fruit (tomato, pepper, cucumber) and seeds (corn). During journal writing time the students drew the parts of a plant and labeled the parts. They also wrote about their favorite vegetable.

They voted for their favorite plant. The results may be graphed later...corn (7); carrots (3); broccoli (2); tomato (2), pepper, edamame, beets and lettuce (1 each).

They enjoyed a fresh vegetable salad for snack.  Thanks to Laurie Vander Veen, Caron Lewis and Sara Drake for volunteering today.

Thanks for a Great Garden Workday!

Over 25 people joined in to help in the garden on October 17. Special thanks goes to Zach Eastland who picked the edible garden for his Eagle Scout project. He designed and installed a large raised bed cover with removable panels that will keep the squirrels out of the vegetables. In addition, he coordinated volunteers who painted the garden shed a lovely shade of blue.

Other garden improvement done by other volunteers included moving heavy bags of soil, installing weed barrier fabric and new soil in two beds, painting signs, planting seeds, weeding and pruning.

Thanks to the Wahling family, the Burch-Roby family, the Eastland family and others for helping!

If you're interested in helping but couldn't help on Saturday, please email Ms. Marie at There's always something to be done. Next on the agenda is emptying bags of xerimulch and weeding in the next phase of the Native American Garden (to the right of the staff driveway).

Friday, October 16, 2015

Ms. Bihari's Class Makes Salsa

Today Ms. Bihari's class made salsa. The students remembered that they'd planted a salsa garden in the spring. One of the chilies in the salsa was from that garden. The rest of the ingredients were donated by Gelson's. The students liked the salsa so much that they wanted seconds but there were none-we'd given them generous servings after they'd done their cutting of tomatoes, chilies, onions; measuring of olive oil and lime juice and pressing of garlic.

Thanks to Laura for assisting!


8 tomatoes
1 bunch cilantro-torn into small pieces
3 T. olive oil
3 T. lime juice
1-2 jalapeno chilies-cut
2-3 green onions-cut
2 cloves of garlic-pressed and cut

Basically, cut everything into small pieces and mix together. Wear gloves when cutting peppers. Add salt and pepper to taste if desired (we didn't). The salsa was very colorful due to the colorful heirloom tomatoes. (We discussed the meaning of heirloom and heirloom seeds).

After eating, the children and Ms. Bihari voted for their favorite vegetable. They'll plant seeds of the most popular. Cucumber was the most popular so they can plant that in the spring. Since some students like lettuce and carrots, they'll plant those and also some peas and radishes.

Ms. Gardner's Class in the Garden

Today's Ms. Gardner's 4th grade class visited the Native American Garden, planted some kale seeds and ate kale. In the Native American Garden we discussed how Chumash made flour from the acorns of the coast live oak. The students planted California poppy seeds. They also learned that students who did reports on the native plants last year had their reports linked to the plant signs via QR codes. They'll have the opportunity to do this later this school year.

The students chose between kale smoothies and kale chips for their snack.

Kale Chips

1 bunch of kale
1 T. olive oil
sea salt

Pre-heat oven to 350. Take off center rib of kale and tear remainder in small pieces. Wash kale and dry well. Put in bowl and mix with olive oil and salt. Place on baking sheet that's lined with parchment paper. Cook for 10-15 minutes. Remove from sheet. Add parmesan cheese if desired. Eat!

Kale Smoothie

8 oz. liquid (almond milk, apple juice, orange juice) we used almond milk at school
½ c. frozen mango chunks (or any other frozen fruit)
1 medium banana
1 c. curly leaf or lacinato kale

Blend and serve.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Mr. Jacobs' Class Visits the Garden

Today Mr. Jacobs' 2nd graders visited the garden for their first lesson. We reviewed the parts of plants using a broccoli plant as the model.  They then examined various vegetables, named them and discussed which part of the plant we eat. We eat more than one part in plants, such as green onions, celery, broccoli and beets.

They also voted for their favorite vegetables. The results: potato (4), corn and celery (3), onion and tomato (2), carrot, zucchini and spinach (1).  Perhaps we'll graph the results next time.

After writing about their favorite vegetable (s) or the parts of a plant, the students enjoyed a vegetable salad.

Thanks to Laurie Vander Veen for assisting and to Gelson's for donating the vegetables.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Ms. Farrell's Class Makes Salsa

Last Friday Ms. Farrell's 3rd grade class made salsa. This was a follow-up to the salsa garden that they planted as 2nd graders. The tomatoes and peppers from that plot were harvested over the summer. The ingredients for the salsa were donated by Gelson's. We used heirloom tomatoes and discussed the meaning of heirloom.

Thanks to Grandma Linda for helping!

Salsa Recipe

8 ripe tomatoes
2 green onions
1/2 bunch cilantro
2 cloves garlic
2 jalapeno peppers
3 T. olive oil
3 T. fresh lime juice
salt and pepper to taste

Each group of tables prepared a different ingredient. The ingredients were cut into small pieces with plastic knives and or measured and then combined in a large bowl.  The students that cut the peppers wore gloves to protect their skin ( and were instructed not to rub their eyes)! Other students used a garlic press and a small juice squeezer.

The students were good chefs and the salsa (with the chips) was very tasty!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

National Kale Day at Marquez School

Marquez students celebrated National Kale Day and Walk to School Day on October 7. Several students including Sophie, Taylor and Bailey served kale smoothies to parents, students and Councilmember Mike Bonin.  The smoothies were so popular that children even asked for seconds!

Mr. Bonin enjoys smoothies and shared his recipe with us. We'll be making it soon! The ingredients include apple, cucumber, celery, kale, parsley and ginger.

The recipe for today's smoothie:

3-4 leaves of kale torn without stems
1 banana
1\4-1/2 c. frozen mango (or other frozen fruit)
1\2 c. almond milk (can substitute orange juice)

Put all ingredients in a blender. I use a Blentech. If using fresh fruit add ice cubes. Adjust amount of liquid to your taste. Enjoy!!!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Ms. Fein's Class Learns about Vegetables

Today Ms. Fein's 2nd graders reviewed parts of a plant. We discussed what parts we are eating when we eat the following vegetables
- leaves: lettuce, chard and kale;
- stem: celery
- roots: beets, radish, carrots, onions and turnips
- flowers: broccoli
- fruit: tomato, cucumber, peppers, squash (e.g. zucchini)
- seed: corn

The students wrote about or drew the parts of a plant in their Garden & Nutrition Journals. They also completed the sentence "My favorite vegetable is...".

The children enjoyed a vegetable salad consisting of lettuce, corn, celery, tomatoes, beets and broccoli for snack.  The favorite dressings were lemon juice/olive oil and olive oil. Thanks to Gelson's for donating the food.

An upcoming lesson on cool season vegetables will include planting lettuce, carrots or radish.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Alice Waters and National Farm to School Month

October is National Farm to School Month. In honor of that, here's a quote from Alice Waters, the amazing chef behind the Edible Schoolyard and the farm to table movement:
"And we don’t teach farming and cooking, we teach math in the garden and English in the kitchen. We use those food spaces as labs. Every course is connected to the garden, the kitchen or the table in some way. That way it is an interactive pedagogy, so that kids can learn by doing. This is what John Dewey wanted and Maria Montessori preached and what I believe. When kids grow it and cook it, they all want to eat it."
The last sentence represents the goal of the Marquez Edible Garden and how it and other garden programs can work to encourage healthy eating and counteract the obesity epidemic.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Ms. Keller's Class Plants Peas and Learns about Thomas Jefferson

Ms. Keller's class had their first lesson in the Jeffersonian Garden unit last week. 1/2 of the class came at a time. We reviewed that Jefferson was the 3rd president. The students learned that he had a plantation called Monticello and that it was in Virginia. Other facts: the vegetable garden was 1,000 feet long, Jefferson grew many fruits and vegetables, his favorite vegetable was English peas. We are planting heirloom vegetables this year. We purchased most of the seeds from Monticello. One of the students acted as scribe and took notes.

Ms. Schwartz's Class Makes Salsa

Today Ms. Schwartz's 3rd grade class made salsa. Some of the ingredients came from the salsa garden that they had planted in 2nd grade. Students were assigned to stations based upon ingredients. The young chefs did a good job cutting and measuring!


8 tomatoes
1 bunch cilantro
2 garlic cloves
4-5 green onions
3 T. Lime juice
1-2 jalapeƱo peppers
3 T. Olive oil

Note: when cutting the pepper, use gloves and/or avoid touching eyes. Combine all ingredients and serve with tortillas.

Thanks to the parent volunteers Michelle Ross, Steve Regen and Sam Evans. Thanks to Mia for harvesting the peppers.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Ms. Conn's Class Plants in the Jeffersonian Garden

This week Ms. Conn's 5th graders began their study of Thomas Jefferson the president and horticulturist. An application to social studies was that they learned that he was the 3rd president, had a plantation called Monticello and that it was in Virginia and that he asked Lewis and Clark to bring back plants and seeds. They also learned that the garden was 1,000 feet long and that it has been restored.

We are planting heirloom seeds from the Center for Historic Plants at Monticello in the 5th grade Jeffersonian garden. At this time we're planting cool season vegetables. The students voted to plant kale, radishes, lettuce and cabbage. They planted Lacinato Kale, China Rose Winter Radish, Tennis Ball Lettuce and Early Jersey Wakefield Cabbage.

As always when planting a new crop, we amended the soil with compost. In this case we used Worm-Gro that was donated by Kellogg's Garden Products.

Lacinato or dinosaur kale that was grown last year. 

Tennis ball lettuce that was grown last year.

Zoe was the scribe for the class and wrote down salient points including new vocabulary such as restored and heirloom. We discussed the meaning of these and other terms. One student, in explaining the meaning of heirloom, mentioned that she had an heirloom Christmas ornament. We also discussed the meaning of heirloom seeds and seed saving.

New donation of seeds

Thanks to Seed Savers Exchange for donating 50 packages of seeds to the Marquez Edible Garden. We'll plant cool season lettuces such as slobolt, bunte forellenschluss and mascara in October. For tips on planting and seed saving, visit Seed Savers donates seeds to 501 (c) 3s that encourage gardening and seed saving.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Can you help us get ready to plant?

Volunteers are helping to get the edible garden ready for fall planting. Today three 5th grade girls sorted seeds. In the next two weeks we will be lining the raised beds to keep out weeds and we'll also be adding some new soil and compost.

In the next two weeks, volunteers are needed for the following tasks: adding weed barriers to the beds this requires digging down 12-18",  adding new compost and soil, planting flowers in the butterfly garden and replacing a broken removable panel in one of the beds.

Also, we'll start fall garden lessons and harvest cooking lessons the last week of September. Please let your teacher/s know if you'd like to help with your child's class.

Our harvest cooking lessons will be courtesy of Gelson's Markets and Gibson International Realty.

Please let me know if you'd like to help with general gardening, watering, teaching and/or cooking. I can be reached at

Ms. Marie

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Mr. Lantos' Class Plants

Today Mr. Lantos' class learned about Thomas Jefferson and planted in the 5th grade garden. Facts learned included: Jefferson was the 3rd President of the US., his plantation was named Monticello and it is in Virginia. They also learned that he was a horticulturist, his garden was 1,000 feet long, he enjoyed eating vegetables and had a celebration with his neighbors to celebrate the harvest of English peas, his favorite vegetable.  We discussed the meaning of heirloom (something passed down) and seed saving since we are planting seeds from the Monticello garden. Caden was the scribe.

After amending the soil with compost the students planted Champion of England Peas and Tennis Ball Lettuce.

The garden program in 5th grade complements the social studies unit on Colonial America. The seeds which we plant are purchasedfrom the Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Ms. Palo's Class Plants

Today Ms. Palo's class planted broccoli and kale in an upper bed.  Before planting the students mixed in some compost. We organized the bed with the square foot gardening method which involved  measuring with the yardstick and marking with tape. We put one broccoli plant in a square foot and two kale plants in a square foot.

This bed also contains a 2 year old white sage plant that we will transplant to the Native American Garden later when it's cooler. Each student got a leaf to smell. We discussed how our local Native Americans, the Chumash and Tongva, burned white sage as part of ceremonies.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Parent Garden Workshop on 9/1/15

Ms. Marie, Marquez volunteer garden teacher and UCCE Master Gardener, invites all Marquez parents/grandparents to a fall garden workshop on Tuesday, September 1 in the staff lounge from 8:30 am to 9:30 am. Come to learn about growing cool season veggies, what warm season veggies you can still grow, sample some food from the garden including kale smoothies, learn about the garden program and some ways you can assist e.g. helping kids plant or cook; painting; watering; adding or moving soil; etc. RSVPs appreciated to

Sunday, August 16, 2015

August 14: What's happening in the garden

What's Growing: The passion fruit vine has bloomed and we have one green passionfruit. The salsa garden and three sisters garden have been replanted. Milkweed is flowering in the butterfly garden.

On-going Upkeep: The garden shed is all organized, potting soil has been moved, new plants are planted in the butterfly garden and the tables are clean, thanks to Rachel, Elena, Kira and Gaby. Mulch has been moved to the Native American Garden by Zach Eastland and his friends.

Volunteer needs: Contact Ms. Marie if you or your children wish to sort and alphabetize seeds, add compost to a raised bed and remove weeds, assist in planting or cooking during class gardening time.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

End of Summer Garden Update

We're looking for some help: someone to paint a "Welcome" sign for the garden that we can attach to one of the gates; some people to install weed cloth or hardware cloth in one or two of the beds (and move soil to make this possible; assistance in organizing the shed. Ms. Marie will be in the garden on Friday, August 14 at 9 am. Contact her re helping then or one day when school has started.

What's growing in the garden: the salsa garden and the 3 Sisters Garden have been replanted. We should have some vegetables to harvest in a month or so. Lemon verbena is growing in a bag on the gate and milkweed is doing well in the butterfly garden. We'll be planting some seedlings in the butterfly garden as most plants there died over the summer.

Most of the plants in the Native American Garden are doing well with their once a week watering. The hummingbird sage is especially happy!

I look forward to seeing the kids soon!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Mr. Lantos', Ms. Smith's and Ms. Keller's 5th Graders Eat Like Thomas Jefferson

The Marquez 5th graders concluded their study of Thomas Jefferson the vegetable loving president and horticulturist by preparing a vegetable-based meal. Thanks to the Wahlings, Vizoni's and Patty Wong Smith for coordinating the cooking lessons!

The students in Mr. Lantos' class enjoyed cutting the vegetables which were then cooked in an electric skillet and combined with pasta. The students loved the meal and had seconds!

In Mr. Lantos' class the cooking experience followed a discussion of facts about Jefferson's gardening led by parent Michele Wahling. She used information from the Monticello website.

In 1819 Thomas Jefferson wrote, "I have lived temperately, eating little animal food, and that ... as a condiment for the vegetables, which constitute my principal diet."

His 1,000-foot-long kitchen garden terrace was an experimental laboratory where he cultivated seventy different species and 250 varieties of vegetables and was Jefferson's chief horticultural achievement at Monticello. Here, Jefferson himself sowed peas, cabbages, and okra , lettuce, etc 

The English or Garden pea is usually described as Jefferson's favorite vegetable because of the frequency of plantings in the Monticello kitchen garden, the amount of garden space devoted to it (three entire "squares"), and the character-revealing playfulness of his much-discussed pea contests: according to family accounts, every spring Jefferson competed with local gentleman gardeners to bring the first pea to the table; the winner then hosting a community dinner that included a feast on the winning dish of peas. He documented 19 pea varieties. 

Jefferson's butler, Lemaire, however, only recorded purchasing peas for the President's House six times in 1806 for the elaborate state dinners Jefferson hosted. (Parsley, by comparison, was purchased on 79 different occasions). There is no record Jefferson or his family members purchased peas from slaves at Monticello. Perhaps Jefferson enjoyed growing peas more than he liked to eat them.

Jefferson would plant a thimble full of lettuce seeds every week during the growing season.

However, Lettuce was the most common vegetable purchased in the Washington markets for Presidential dinners; Lemaire purchased it over ninety times in 1806. Lettuce was planted an average of five or six times annually in the Monticello garden between 1809 and 1824. 

Salad oil was a perennial obsession for Jefferson. He referred to the olive as "the richest gift of heaven," and "the most interesting plant in existence." 

Jefferson was a pioneer grower of "tomatas." He mentioned how tomatoes were virtually unknown ten years earlier, but by 1824 everyone was eating them because they believed they Akept one's blood pure in the heat of summer."

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Purple Sage

purple sage
Common Name: Purple Sage. Named for its light-colored, lavender-pink flowers which appear in early spring, this plant is also called Gray Sage for its light-colored foliage.
Botanical Name: Salvia Leucophylla
Where found: Common in areas with coastal influence. Native to the coastal foothills from San Luis Obispo to Orange County.
Use by Chumash/Tongva: Leaves were eaten; also used as hair ointment/wash because of its fragrance. Used in ceremonies and as medicine. Smoked.
Use by wildlife: Its flowers provide nectar for hummingbirds, butterflies and bees
Information researched by Grade 4 student 2015 Logan.

Some native plants in the Native American Garden that attract wildlife

The native plants in the Marquez Native American Garden are popular with wildlife. They would also be good choices for drought tolerant home gardens as they don't require much irrigation. We are watering our new plants deeply once or twice a week. The area around the plants is mulched, therefore the ground stays more moist.  Here are some of the plants:

Bush Anenome: flowers attract hummingbirds and other pollinators
Cleveland Sage: attracts hummingbirds
Coffeeberry: pollinating insects and birds like the flowers and berries;
Deer Grass: provides nesting material for birds
Hummingbird Sage: hummingbirds like the pink flowers;
Island Alum Root: attracts hummingbirds
Mugwort: attractive to butterflies and birds;
Narrow Leaf Milkweed: attractive to monarch butterflies;
Pink Flowering Current: hummingbirds love the flowers and birds like the fruit;
Purple Sage: butterflies such as Painted Lady and Checkerspot like the flowers;
Yarrow: flowers attract butterflies
Island Alum Root: attracts hummingbirds
White Sage: hummingbirds like it. Pollinated by native bees
Black Sage: birds like its seeds; butterflies and hummingbirds are attracted
Coffeeberry: attracts small pollinators
Yankee Point Ceanothus:

Sources of information about these and other native plants: "Flowering Plants of the Santa Monica Mountains, Coastal and Chaparral Regions of Southern California" by Nancy Dale; "California Native Plants for the Garden" Carol Bornstein, David Fross and Bart O'Brien; California Native Plant Society,

Purple Sage

purple sage
                                                                                   Purple Sage  

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Dedication of the Marquez Native American Garden

On May 7 we dedicated the Marquez Native American Garden.  This garden in front of school has been cleared and then planted by all of the 4th grade classes.  It is a teaching garden for lessons on Chumash and Tongva, pollinators and drought tolerant planting.

We thanked representatives from the Pacific Palisades Garden Club for their generous donations. Betsey Landis from the California Native Plant Society donated four copies of Nancy Dale's book, "Flowering Plants of the Santa Monica Mountains, Coastal and Chaparral Regions of Southern California" to the 4th grade. These guests and Dr. Hananel each received a booklet about the garden which included some reports on the plants as well as a pressed monkeyflower done by the Kissane girls.

Many 4th grade students have researched the native plants in the garden. Twelve of them spoke at the dedication about their plants. Many of the plants in the garden have QR codes attached to the plant signs. Visitors can use the QR code app on their smart phones to access information written by the students that's posted on the Marquez website. (

The dedication concluded with tours of the garden given by 4th grade students to parents and other guests.

A California Poppy, our state flower

Some 4th grade garden tour guides

Diane Goldberg, Barbara Marinacci, Ms. Marie and Betsey Landis

Friday, May 1, 2015

Ms. Soo's Class Plants on May Day!

On May 1, Ms. Soo's 1st grade class planted in their raised bed. They planted a zucchini seedling, melot lettuce seedlings and marigold seedlings as well as radish seeds. They'll be able to harvest the lettuce and radishes before the end of the school year. After a discussion of their favorite vegetables, we determined that cucumber and carrots would be good to add to a salad of lettuce and radishes!

Each child planted a seedling and seeds. They used trowels and learned that trowels are used to dig small holes while shovels are used to dig large holes.

The children wrote stories about planting when they returned to the classroom.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

On Monday, Ms. Yoshida's class celebrated Earth Day by planting seeds in biodegradable pots and having an organic snack. As last year, Whole Foods provided fruit and vegetable platters, seeds and organic potting soil. The children had their choice of fruit and vegetables. Next, they planted either radish, lettuce or kale seeds in pots which are made of peat moss and wood pulp and are 100% biodegradable.  The students were told to keep the soil moist and other directions will be sent home via their teachers. The children enjoyed looking at the worms and watering plants after they planted.
One of the students had the bright idea of collecting the water that overflowed from the drinking fountain and watering plants with it!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Using QR Codes to Learn about the Edible Garden

Salsa Garden
Hello! We planted a salsa garden at Marquez Charter Elementary School.
We planted onions, tomatoes, cilantro, peppers, and garlic.
We will make salsa next year in 3rd grade.
There are two types of salsa that we will be making, salsa verde and salsa rojo.
Verde is green in Spanish and rojo is red in Spanish.
There is another kind of salsa.
It is sweet and has fruit.
We love gardening with our garden teacher Miss Marie.

By Eleanor and Coco, 2nd grade students

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Sticky Monkey Flower

Sticky Monkey Flower
Scientific name: mimulus aurantiacus

     The Sticky Monkey Flower is found mostly by the Californian coast and partially in the Sierra Nevada. Its name comes from the fact that the flower part resembles a monkey's face and it has a gluey substance exuding from it. It's wavy petals are red with yellow in the middle, yellow with white in the middle, cream colored, salmon pink, or brick red. It has long yellow and/or white pistils. It has a smooth stem with long slender dark green leaves and can grow from 6 to 48 inches. The Sticky Monkey Flower's stalks and leaves were eaten as salad, used as a salt substitute, and used to treat skin irritations, minor burns, and rope burns by the Tongva Indians. A root concoction was used for treating epilepsy, and a plant concoction was used as a wash to counteract poisons. The Sticky Monkey Flower is home to the Checkerspot and Buckeye butterfly's larva. They eat the flowers as food and the Checkerspot butterflies lay their eggs on them. Also, in the Spring, baby birds need protein, and so they eat the larva. The Sticky Monkey Flower usually blooms from January through May.

Report by Samantha, Grade

Friday, April 24, 2015

2nd Grade Earth Day Celebration with Whole Foods

Today was the second annual Earth Day celebration for the 2nd grade. As last year, Whole Foods provided fruit and vegetable platters, seeds and organic potting soil. Mrs. Fein's class, Mr. Jacobs' class, Ms. Connor's class and Ms. Abrams' class each visited the garden. The children had their choice of fruit and vegetables. Next, they planted either radish or kale seeds in peat pots which are made of peat moss and wood pulp and are 100% biodegradable.  The students were told to keep the soil moist and other directions will be sent home via their teachers. Thanks to Victoria Polakoff of Whole Foods Santa Monica and a former Palisadian, for her contributions!

Volunteer Laura S. waters seeds in biodegradable cups

Victoria from Whole Foods and Carolyn H. serve fruit and veggies from Whole Foods to the kids.

Ms. Abrams' Class Plants in the Salsa Garden

On April 22, Ms. Abrams' class learned about the ingredients in salsa and planted in the salsa garden. They planted cilantro seeds and onions to join the tomatoes and peppers that are already there.  We discussed that they will harvest the tomatoes, onions, garlic, peppers and cilantro at the beginning of 3rd grade and make salsa from them.

Today they tasted chips with three types of salsa-salsa rojo, salsa rojo with peaches and mango and salsa verde. They learned that rojo means red in Spanish and verde means green. Several students already knew this! Salsa rojo was most popular!

Thanks to the 3rd grade Brownie troop

This week the 3rd grade Brownie troop replanted the butterfly garden. They planted milkweed, calibrachoa, penstemon and zinnias.  They join other butterfly and hummingbird loving plants in the garden such as parsley, chives, sage, rosemary and butterfly bush. Thank you, girls and their leader, Leah Herndon!

Ms. Connor's Class Plants in the Salsa Garden

Ms. Connor's class planted in the garden on April 20. Some students planted cilantro or onions in the salsa garden and others planted lettuce, basil or carrots, companion plants of tomatoes. Some plants that are companions of tomatoes include basil, asparagus, beans, carrots, celery, dill,
 lettuce, onions, melon, parsley, peppers, radishes, spinach and thyme. We discussed that companions are friends, that go along together!

The students ate salsa and chips. The three varieties of salsa were salsa rojo, salsa rojo with peaches and mangos and salsa verde. We discussed the meaning of rojo (red) and verde (green) in English.

Ms. Yoshida's Class Plants in the Salsa Garden

Ms. Yoshida's students planted in the salsa garden on April 20. Half of the class came at one time, which is how we split the class for small group classroom instruction.First we discussed the ingredients in salsa-they offered such names as tomato, onion, garlic, cilantro and pepper. I also showed them a lime. We're growing everything but lime in our garden. We also discussed what salsa rojo and salsa verde meant and that salsa means sauce in Spanish. The students wrote in their journals before planting.

We had three groups for planting-one with Ms. Marie, one with Ms. Carolyn and one with Laura, a parent. The children planted cilantro, carrots, lettuce, onions and basil. Carrots, lettuce, onions and basil are companion plants for tomatoes. We discussed that companions are friends or people or things that go along together. Other companion plants for tomatoes include asparagus, beans, celery, dill, melon, parsley, peppers, radishes, spinach and thyme.

After planting and watering the students tasted three varieties of salsa with tortilla chips-verde, plain rojo and rojo with peach and mango.

The children will make salsa with vegetables from the salsa garden in August when they return to school.