Friday, September 15, 2017


On September 14 Ms. Palo's students made succotash. The main ingredients for this vegetable dish are corn, beans and squash. These are also the Three Sisters, the plants that the many Native Americans throughout North American planted and that most of these students planted when they were in 3rd grade. (The corn stalks are still visible in the edible garden).

We reviewed the names of the tribes that the students had studied that planted the Three Sisters. The Iroquois is one. There were many varieties of corn, beans and squash used. The squash kept the ground cool, the beans provide nitrogen to the soil and the corn provides the stalk that the beans grow on.

Children worked at their seats preparing the corn, zucchini, beans and other ingredients cutting them into small pieces. The ingredients were then cooked in an electric skillet.

Thanks to Gelson's market for donating the ingredients!


1/4 c. olive oil
3 T. unsalted butter
1 onion
2 garlic cloves
1 yellow pepper
1 red pepper
4 ears of corn
3 zucchini
1 c. green beans
1 package lima beans thawed
salt and pepper to taste
1 T. thyme (not used in class)

The olive oil and butter were first heated in the skilled, next the garlic. Everything else was added together.  Cook approximately 10 minutes. Can be served al dente or more fully cooked.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Ms. Connor's Class Studies Parts of a Plant

Today Ms. Connor's 2nd graders reviewed parts of a plant- roots, stem, leaves, flowers, seeds and fruit. They then matched the part of a plant to selected vegetables and herbs after identifying them.

Leaves: arugula, lettuce, beet, basil,cilantro, kale
Stem: broccoli, green onion, beet celery, asparagus
Flower: broccoli
Fruit: tomato, cucumber
Seeds: corn, peas
Roots: onion, beet potato (really a tuber)

They also wrote in their journals before having a snack of carrots.

Yay Salsa!

Today Ms. Farrell's 3rd graders made salsa. Many of the students had planted the ingredients last year as 2nd graders. Two of the children harvested tomatoes from plants in the edible garden though the majority of the tomatoes, as well as the other ingredients, came from Gelson's. (Gelson's has donated a gift card to be used for purchasing food for our cooking projects).

Each child cut a tomato into small pieces and then helped get the cilantro, onions, garlic, olive oil or lime juice ready for the salsa. We used heirloom tomatoes to make the salsa colorful.

The recipe below has jalapeno pepper but we didn't use it today.

Thanks to Alyssa Gallagher, Jenny Lee, Carla Davidson and Joyce Wong Kup for helping!

Monday, September 11, 2017

The Parts of a Plant that We Eat

Today Ms. Gardner's 2nd graders reviewed the parts of a plant, naming them on an illustration on the white board.

They then matched vegetables to the categories: roots, stem, leaves, fruit, flower and seed.
Roots: onion, carrot, beets, radish
Stem: celery, asparagus
Leaves: lettuce, kale, chard, spinach, arugula
Fruit: tomato, cucumber, zucchini
Flower: broccoli, cauliflower
Seeds: corn, peas, beans

They wrote in their garden journals and had a snack of carrots-they all like this veggie!

Eating Vegetables

Today Ms. Yoshida's 2nd grade students reviewed the parts of a plant and discussed what parts of a plant some vegetables came from-roots, stem, leaves, flower, fruit or seed. Ms. Marie drew a plant on the white board and labeled it.

We organized the vegetable names under the parts.
Roots: onions, carrots, beets, radish
Stem: celery, asparagus, beets
Leaves: lettuce, arugula, chard, kale, beets
Flower: broccoli, cauliflower
Fruit: tomato, cucumber, zucchini
Seed: corn, beans, peas

The students wrote in their garden journals and then had a snack of baby carrots.

Thanks to Gelson's for donating the vegetables!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

What Parts of the Plant Do We Eat?

Recently Ms. Fein's students reviewed the parts of a plant.  They then looked at several vegetables and organized them by what part of the plant they ate: roots, stem, leaves, seeds, fruit and flowers. Afterwards they ate samples of the vegetables, some with ranch dressing.

The vegetables and the parts:

Roots: carrots, beets, radish, onion
Stem: celery, broccoli, stems
Leaves: lettuce, arugula, basil, swiss chard, kale, beets (also spinach)
Fruit: apples, tomato, cucumber, zucchini
Flowers: broccoli
Seeds: beans, corn

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Fall Marquez Parent Garden Workshop

What to do in the garden now?

- Harvest early in the day. Plants have more water content and are sweeter

-Water in the morning

- If warm season plants are finished, pull them out, compost them and prepare soil for planting.

- Preparing soil- add layer (about an inch) of coffee grounds (for nitrogen), compost and manure (if desired).  Add a bit of either Dr. Earth fertilizer or other general purpose fertilizer. Dig in with top inch of soil. Do this 2-3 weeks before planting.

- Start cool season seeds in trays-lettuce and radish germinate quickly.

-Replant tomato seedlings. Plant cherry tomatoes or others that have shorter period to fruit- approximately 60 days.

Cool season vegetables to plant: Sow beets, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chard, chervil, chives, collards, endive, garlic, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce , green onions, short-day bulb onions, parsnips, peas, white potatoes, radishes, spinach, and turnips.

Benefit of planting seeds: greater variety than from nursery. More fun for the kids.

What kind of help do we need in the garden:
- watering in edible garden (Monday is open)
- watering the Native American Garden
- adding soil to beds
- assisting in children's classrooms
- cooking assistance
- grant writing assistance

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

3rd Annual Marquez Garden Celebration

The 3rd annual Marquez Garden Celebration on June 6 was a huge success! Over 20 students from grades 2-5 shared what they'd learned during the year and toured guests around the edible garden. 2nd graders talked about the salsa garden, 3rd graders talked about the Three Sisters Garden, 4th graders gave reports on native plants and Ms. Chaides' class gave tours of the Native American Garden and 5th graders acted as tour guides.  Ms. Chaides handed out an iBook with reports on native plants that were done by her students. Students also planted seeds in reusable pots. 2nd and 5th grade students prepared salsa, salad and kale smoothies for the refreshments which were served by the 5th graders. These are some of the favorite foods that we prepare as part of our seed to table program. Music was provided by three members of the Marquez jazz band who played "Watermelon Man".

Ms. Marie thanked honored guests and other donors for supporting the garden program. Honored guests included Erick Hansen, Instructional Director Elementary of the West Region for LAUSD, Diane Goldberg of the Pacific Palisades Garden Club, Carolyn Haselkorn-community volunteer, Susan Pasco Editor of the Palisades News and Ben Meritt, Principal of Marquez School. Donors not present included Kellogg's Garden Products, Gibson International Realty and Gelson's. We also thanked the 3rd grade Girl Scouts and 7th grade Girl Scouts who decorated pots in the garden and 5th grade Girl Scouts who planted geraniums around school.

Parent participation is an essential part of a successful school garden program. A special thanks goes to Laurie Vander Veen who taught gardening to many 3rd graders this year and helped coordinate the program and to Sharon Agabra who taught two of the 2nd grade classes. Many thanks to all of the parents who have watered the beds this school year.

Last, but not least, thanks to the teachers, staff and Friends of Marquez for supporting the garden program. Five years ago, just the four 2nd grade participated in the garden program. This year, 13 classes from grades 2-5 participated in the program.

A Three Sisters Garden

Making kale/banana/mango smoothies

Making Salsa

Salsa (with heirloom tomatoes)

Marquez Native American Garden
Making salad

Thursday, June 1, 2017

3rd Graders Plant Three Sisters Gardens

Third graders in Ms. Schwartz's class, Ms. Farrell's class and Ms. Bihari's class have been planting corn, beans and squash in their Three Sister's Gardens. Today Ms. Schwartz's students added corn seedlings and pumpkin and bean seeds to their bed. The bean seedlings were donated by Seed Saver's Exchange earlier in the year. They are heirloom seeds. We soaked them before planting. In addition, the students planted some sunflowers. Hopefully the plants will do well over the summer vacation1

Friday, April 7, 2017

Ms. Chaides' 4th Graders Learn More about Native Plants and Drought Tolerant Planting

This week, Ms. Chaides' 4th graders learned more about native plants. They identified deer grass, white sage, monkey flower, California Poppy and California Sagebrush. They liked the smell of California Sagebrush.  We discussed that these plants, used by the Chumash, are also adapted to our climate and need little water once established.  These plants and others in the Native American Garden attract our local pollinators.  The Margarita BOP Penstemon and red salvia are also attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds.

Ms. Marie made a bundle of white sage which we'll make into a smudge stick once the leaves are dry. The Chumash use such a stick in ceremonies. We reviewed that deer grass is woven into baskets.

The students also learned about scientific or botanical names, which come from Latin.  These names can be understood by people all over the world. Here are some examples: the botanical name for White Sage is Salvia apiana, Black Sage is Salvia mellifera, California Sagebrush is Artemisia Californica and Cleveland Sage is Salvia clevelandii.

The students helped weed the garden again. They are very industrious! We will be putting down cardboard and  Kellogg's Xerimulch to keep the weeds from growing back.

Deer Grass

White Sage being dried 

Native plants require less water and attract wildlife. Many of the plants in our garden were and are used by Chumash and Tongva.

Hummingbirds like this penstemon and it's tubular flowers.

Ms. Schwartz's 3rd Graders Plant a Three Sisters Garden

This week Ms. Schwartz's 3rd graders planted a Three Sisters Garden in the edible garden. The three sisters are corn, beans and squash. The have been planted for generations by indigenous peoples in America. By the time Europeans came to America in the 1600s, Iroquois had been growing the “three sisters” for more than 300 years!  This is a good example of companion planting.

The three plants help each other. The corn is the support for the beans which climb up the stalk. Beans provide provide nitrogen for the soil. The squash keeps the ground cool during the warm summer.  We planted heirloom Brinker Beans which we got from Turtle Tree Seed Initiative. We also planted Hjerleid Blue Corn, an heirloom corn which was donated by Seed Savers Exchange.

Different tribes plant different types of beans or corn or squash depending upon where they live.

Here is a link to an Iroquois Three Sisters legend:

Thursday, March 30, 2017

An Early Earth Day Lesson for Ms. Yoshida's 2nd Graders

This week Ms. Yoshida's 2nd graders learned about planting in reusable containers in preparation for Earth Day. Egg cartons, paper pots, milk cartons, toilet paper rolls and plastic tomato containers can be reused for starting seeds. The Scrapkins website as well as Life Lab has information regarding this.

Here is the link for the project if you want to share:

Today the children planted seeds in cardboard egg cartons. The egg cartons will decompose once they are planted in the soil. The children can either keep the seeds growing inside until they sprout and have three sets of leaves or they could immediately plant them in the ground.  In either case, the soil needs to be kept moist to aid germination.  If inside, the carton can be put on a small tray or plate. When the carton goes outside, make a hole at the bottoms so the roots can grow down and cover all of the cardboard with soil.

Today the children planted lettuce and carrot seeds. They planted two seeds in each section. During our lesson time we counted by 2s to determine the number of seeds each child would plant. The lettuce seeds were donated to the school from Turtle Tree Seed. They are open pollinated seeds.

After planting, the children wrote in their garden journals, watered in the garden and checked out the worm bin before eating a salad.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Ms. Chaides' Class and Ms. Palo's Class Weed in the Native Garden

Last week both Ms. Chaides' and Ms. Palo's 4th grade classes weeded in the Native American Garden. The weeds like the recent rains.  This garden contains plants that are native to our local area, many of which were used by the Chumash and Tongva, our local indigenous peoples.

They were careful to avoid the California Poppy seedlings, the top of which looks something like carrots, while the weeds look like grass! The California Poppies are starting to bloom and we are eager to see more of our state flower.

We've applied mulch (small pieces of wood chips) to the area to keep the soil moist underneath and suppress the weeds. It will also eventually decompose and improve the soil.  Finally, it gives a nice clean look to the area. We'll finish mulching this week.

Ms. Chaides' class enjoyed touching the California Sagebrush and then smelling their hands. One student said that it smelled like mint.

We had to replant the garden last year after moving locations and still need to add more plants. Over the next few weeks we'll try to add more plants including white sage, ceanothus and more monkey flowers.   Here are some of the current ones which will hopefully bloom this spring:

Sticky Monkey Flower
A Monkey Flower in bloom at another location at school

California Sagebrush

Deer Weed

Cleveland Sage

California Poppy

Pink Flowering Current

Narrow Leaf Milkweed

Black Sage 

Monday, March 27, 2017

Ms. Connor's 2nd Graders Planted in Recycled Egg Cartons

Today Ms. Connor's students learned about various methods for planting seeds that use recycled pots instead of plastic pots. We also discussed other ways to be good to the earth in preparation for Earth Day. Some choices besides egg cartons include toilet paper rolls, paper pots, recycled plastic 6 packs from the nursery, and plastic tomato containers.

We used a project from Scrapkins that Ms. Marie learned about from the Whole Kids Foundation. The Foundation gave the Marquez Garden a grant two years ago. The website is This recycled art project is fun and easy to do.

Basically, cut an egg carton in half, fill the holes with potting soil or seedling mix, plant 2-3 seeds in each hole, water and then transplant the entire carton in the ground or pot when there are 2-3 sets of leaves. The cardboard will decompose. Place the carton on a tray for drainage. Cut a hole for the roots to go through when planting. The students planted carrot and lettuce seeds.

After planting the children planted some more peas where they'd planted previously. Some peas and onions have sprouted. They also watered and checked out the worms in the worm bin.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Ms. Conn's 5th Graders Save Seeds Like Thomas Jefferson

This week Ms. Conn's 5th graders saved open pollinated seeds. We are saving seeds of plants that we like just as Thomas Jefferson did. The students planted open pollinated heirloom peas from Monticello earlier this year.

They saved arugula seeds from the Marquez Edible Garden and broccoli, red buckwheat, marigold and poppy seeds from Ms. Marie's garden.  The tiny seeds of broccoli, arugula and poppy are in seed pods.

Each student chose which seeds to save and labeled their envelope(s) with the name and planting instructions. Some illustrated the front of the envelope as well. They took the seeds home to plant later.

Some students weeded the Jeffersonian Garden so the the sugar snap peas, nasturtiums and marigolds have more room to grow.

Arugula seeds

Ms. Keller's Students Save Seeds and Make a Salad

This week Ms. Keller's 5th grade students learned about seed saving as part of their study of Thomas Jefferson the horticulturist. Thomas Jefferson saved the seeds from plants that he liked. Earlier in the school year they planted open pollinated seeds from Monticello in the Jeffersonian Garden. We discussed that plants grown from open pollinated seeds will be identical to the plant from which the seed came. Plants grown from hybrid plants will not necessarily be the same since they have two parent plants.

 They saved open pollinated seeds of broccoli, arugula and marigolds. They carefully took the tiny seeds of arugula and broccoli out of the seed pods. They wrote the common name and botanical names on the envelopes and directions for planting and then took them home to plant later. 

The students enjoyed a rainbow salad of yellow peppers,  tomatoes, carrots, broccoli and sugar snap peas. They like to serve themselves so they get the ingredients that they prefer. Some like the olive oil lemon juice vinaigrette dressing, others plain lemon juice or olive oil. 

Each student took home open pollinated heirloom Brinker Carrier beans donated from Seed Savers Exchange

Broccoli seeds

Arugula seeds

Salad bar

Yummy salad

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Ms. Timmerman's 5th Graders Learn about Seed Saving

Recently Ms. Timmerman's 5th graders learned about saving seeds. We discussed that open pollinated seeds will have the same characteristics as the plant that they are harvested from. Heirloom plants are open pollinated. Hybrid plants are not open pollinated and will not have the same characteristics as the parent plants because they are a result of cross breeding.

The students had the opportunity to save seeds from broccoli, arugula and red buckwheat plants harvested from Ms. Marie's garden. They took the envelopes home so they can sow the seeds in their gardens.

Each student also took home a bean seed from the open pollinated seeds donated by Turtle Tree Seeds.

They then made individual salads using blueberries, carrots, broccoli, peas, lettuce, tomatoes, apple and yellow peppers. We made a lemon oil oil vinaigrette salad dressing though some kids preferred lemon juice and others used olive oil.  The kids loved the salad!  (I think they'd like a salad bar)

Thursday, March 16, 2017

2nd graders Learn about Companion Plants for Tomatoes

This week Ms. Fein's and Ms. Connor's 2nd graders learned about companion plants as they planted tomato seedlings and seeds of companion plants in what will become a Salsa Garden. Ms. Connor's students also planted sugar snap pea seeds in another bed.

Companion plants are "friends" that grow well together. We planted seeds of onions, carrots, basil and marigolds as well as garlic cloves in the bed with the tomato seedlings. Nasturtiums are also companions and we already have some in the bed.

To plant the tomatoes we took off all but the top three stems of leaves and planted the seedling deep in a hole up to the leaves. All of the short hairs on the tomato plant will become roots and the plant will thus become stronger.

The kids wrote about companion planting in their garden journals.

We also reintroduced some worms to our worm bin and fed them veggie scraps. Some kids also weeded in the butterfly garden and one girl caught a lizard (which she later released)!

After planting and writing, the kids enjoyed a rainbow salad with lettuce, yellow peppers, red tomatoes, green broccoli and green peas and purple blueberries. It's important to our bodies to eat these colorful fruits and vegetables! The kids enjoyed an olive oil, lemon juice salad dressing.

Thanks to Carolyn Hasselkorn for assisting and also Ms. Yoshida and Ms. Connor. Ms. Connor took some arugula seed pods back to her class to dry the seeds for future planting.
Salad ingredients

Planting a tomato seedling