Friday, June 3, 2011

3rd Grade Gardening

We had a fun and productive year in our school garden !  Each Thursday Ms Lau & Ms Merrills 3rd grade students spent time cultivating food, flower's & herbs in our Phoenix Farm, (aka the Big Raised Bed Garden).

The students learned about cool weather & warm weather vegetable's, flowers & herbs.  They also learned how to amend soil, plant, stake, fertilize & harvest food & seeds.  More topic's included, plant life cycles, plant adaptations, companion planting,beneficial & not so beneficial insects, applying scientific method, vertical growing, seed germination, decomposers, compost cycles, raising chickens, monarch butterfly life cycles,irrigation techniques, building supports, farmers markets, and farm to table cooking classes.

We were so busy working and having fun, that we only have a few pictures to represent all those wonderful days in the garden.  Here are a few highlights !

The students measured, planned & hung the Woolly Pockets

Then planted them with strawberry's

Sign Painting
Journal making with recycled paper

It was the year of the Snail Invasion

Which provided tasty treats for our Hens

Time to Harvest Cabbage, who is that head !

Ms Merrill, WE LOVE YOU !

 Time to cut and cook then eat !!! Thanks Michelle

Fava Beans and Cabbage Art

Thanks to all the parent volunteers, our fabulous 3rd Grade Teachers, the Curious and Capable 3rd Graders, and of course Mother Nature !

Friday, December 17, 2010

Wunderland Kitchen

“Wonderland Kitchen”
The 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students’ ASB Garden Committee refurbished a child-sized picnic table and wooden kitchen to give to their youngest schoolmates in the kindergarten and multi-age classes. This activity served to connect the upper grades with the primary grades and to create a connection for the older students with the garden. I am so impressed with the creativity and enthusiasm the ASB students showed for this project! They seemed genuinely excited to be creating this gift for their youngest schoolmates. The actual painting design they came up with also took me by surprise. “Wonderland Kitchen,” as they have dubbed it, was uniquely their idea!

Monday, October 25, 2010

...All that and a Chicken Coop Too!

Our Annual Fall Garden Work Day was very productive! It's remarkable how much gets done in such a short time with our dedicated parents, teachers and kids!

In the "Kindergarden" a berry trellis was erected, beds were cleaned out, herbs were planted, a new sink was installed and more of the chain link was covered in reed fencing for privacy and to beautify. We accomplished everything we wanted to in that area!

Over at "Phoenix Farms" a tee-pee and a tunnel were built for peas, beans, nasturtiums and other climbers. We planted passion vines and wisteria to cover our outdoor classroom.
The plan is to turn this area into a working kitchen. We have added picnic tables and we are working on a sink and counter top area with a cook stove. As the food is harvested we can wash prepare and eat all in one place!

And, did we mention the chicken coop?
Yes, after a bit more work from a handful of very dedicated parents with chicken raising experience, we will be welcoming 4 chickens to our school!

It is really amazing what can be done in just 4 hours at SDCCS.
Thanks to everyone involved and we hope to see you soon in the garden!

The Kindergardeners in Natures Classroom

Kathy and Claudia (two volunteer parents) have been spending time with Jacob's kindergarten class out in the garden with great ideas and lots of motivation! They harvested pumpkins together, and read a book about how many seeds the pumpkin's might have inside them. They also cut open the pumpkins, roasted the seeds and learned about decomposition. So many opportunities for learning that came from just a few seeds !

Morgan's kinder class got together with help from a volunteer Grandmother to make a very creative scare-crow. Stop by and see it in person !

This is what our school is all about and
the kids love it!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Off to a Great Start!

We returned to school this year with the gardens looking beautiful and within days we had teachers, kids and parent volunteers working to clean out beds and replant for fall. So much has
been accomplished in just a few weeks.

This will be the 4th year since the SDCCS garden projects began and it is wonderful to report that almost every child is spending time working and learning in our growing spaces. Most classrooms have weekly plans to spend time outside.

Weekly Schedule (so far...)

Tuesdays: ~Erica and Bernie's Multi-age classes, in small groups, 45 minutes each.

Thursdays: ~Gardening Day for all the Third graders !
~Jacob's Kindergarten class

Fridays: ~ 5th grade classes garden day.
~ ~Jennifer Kelly's nutrition class
~Kate and Anthony's Multi-age classes,
in small groups, 45 min each.

~Morgan's Kindergarten class

SO, if you are interested in spending time in the garden with your class on a regular basis, Mondays and Wednesdays are available and there is always work to do. We can teach parents to take kids out and we have wonderful garden curriculum books with lots of ideas.

Upcoming Projects :
The 4th grade classes will be starting a brand new California Native Garden! (in this corner of the blacktop)
The 7th graders were given a wrought iron pergola and have planted passion fruit vines in that area!
Water Saver Barrels are in the works.
We will be welcoming a chicken coop and, soon after, CHICKS!!!

AND, mark your calendars....

OCT. 16


Also be sure to check out all the smaller gardens and the school beautification projects going on around campus. We still need wooden picnic tables, chairs, umbrellas and benches to extend and expand our classrooms to include the outdoors!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Garden Volunteer Opportunities for the 2010/2011 School Year

Its a new school year, and we have lots of plans to make our school gardens more productive and beautiful. In addition we would like to see more students & teachers learning, exploring, cooking & working in the gardens. This takes a whole community effort to achieve !

Please take a look below at what you might want to do, then email Amy Zink,, with your choice, name, number & grade/grades your children are in. We will announce a meeting in the next few weeks via email to get started !

If you would like to get your hands dirty right away, we will be having a Garden Clean Up Day this Thursday, from 8:30 till Noon, come for as little or as long as you can ! Meet in the Kinder Garden after drop-off.

Below we have put together four different area's of volunteer opportunities based on levels of commitment for our parents, grandparents, & family friends at SDCCS.

1)Open Volunteer Days (Super Flexible) *come anytime Monday or Thursday mornings to help water/weed (1/2 hour - 1 hour time commitment per week). *Note - if you are available other days, please let Amy know *

2)Weekly Water & Weed (Super Simple) (20 minutes per week on your time schedule)
*pick one or more area’s below*

☐Native plant bed, (next to the storage/janitorial room)
☐Succulent’s & potted plants (gardens around the auditorium)
☐Newly planted trees
☐Fruit Trees, Berries, Grapevine
☐Compost Care
☐Quick tidy of gardens (rake leaves, pick up trash etc.)
☐Creating & Maintaining signs for plants & garden

3)Garden Guides (Most involved) (2 times per month)

☐ Work directly with children in the garden. We will take beginners in these areas, you don’t need to have any knowledge here, and we can teach you! Its super fun! We will have quarterly meetings to plan accordingly. We need volunteers in all grades !

4)Construction/Building (Great for Handy Folks). We do have some simple design plans for all of these projects for you to follow.

☐Benches & Tables (outside 3rd,4th & 5th grade classrooms)
☐Rain Barrels

One last thing, we will be having Saturday workdays in the Gardens, which are great for working parents to attend. We will announce those in the next week or two.

Any questions, please contact Amy Zink at

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Summer Garden Care 2010

There are 11 weeks in summer and we hope to have 2 people/families per week to "adopt" our gardens. It will involve coming in on Monday and Thursday of that week during business hours to water. It will take about 1 hour to accomplish this. (That's only 2 hours the whole summer to put towards your volunteer hours!!) Your kids will enjoy helping or playing at the K-2 playground while you tend the garden and you are welcome to bring a picnic and enjoy the grass and shade...

If you are interested in helping us out, e-mail Amy at with the week you can sign up for and your phone number.

Meet Amy in the Kinder-Garden for a walk-through on
Thursday June 17th from 11:15 to 12:30pm just before school lets out, to go over a care checklist. Its important that you attend in order to help out for the summer. Thanks !!

June 21 and 24....1)Susana A 2)Shannon J
June 28 and July 1....1)Susana A 2)Chelsea W
July 5 and July 8....1)Lydia/Caroline 2)Julie
July 12 and 15...1)Thomas M 2)Susana A
July 19 and 22...1)Susana 2)?????
July 26 and 29...1) Susana 2)Chelsea W
August 2 and 5...1)Michelle 2)Joan G
August 9 and 12..1)Shannon J 2)Joan G
August 16 and 20..1)Amy/Annie 2)Marilyn
August 23 and 26...1) ????? 2)?????
August 30 and September 2...1)Tim B 2)?????

Friday, March 12, 2010

"Pickings" from the SDCCS School Garden

We hosted our very first SDCCS Farmers Market this week at school ! It was a huge success . We raised money to give back to our PSA for the past 3 years of funding our Garden Education Program. All year long the 3rd grade students along with their committed Teachers have spent at least a hour each week learning the skills of farming. Yesterday it came full circle as we harvested, washed and bagged our bountifull harvest of winter vegetables and herbs.

A big heartfelt thanks goes out to the parents behind the scenes who helped set up the table, wash the harvest, and work with the students at the market. Of course thank you to the families who purchased our produce, it was lovely to see all you just as excited as we were to share in the joy of what we have worked hard on all year. I think it finally resonated with the 3rd graders that they are real farmers. Thats what its all about ! Thanks to all.
We plan to have more "Pickens" in the future so stay tuned for the announcement via email.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Giving Garden!

November 12th in SDCCS's 3rd grade class, a wonderful thing happened!
It began as an idea to celebrate the completion of the kid's service projects. Each student had been given the assignment to somehow make the world a better place.... and there were so many great projects. Really wonderful. (Check out this video by Bidane !!!)
But then to top it all off it was decided, with the inspirational direction of 3rd grade teachers Merrill and Dmitry and help from art teacher Allison Bell, that the "project completion party" should become its own service project.
For $10, family and friends were invited to a feast. We each received a handmade pottery bowl made by the kids filled with classroom-made vegetable soup and school grown salad (lettuce, radishes and herbs picked that morning from 3-8th grade raised beds) and fresh bread. Desert was delicious... apple bars (made by Cindy, Dmitry's wife) from the apples picked by the kids on the field trip they went on last week.
And all the proceeds went to Food Not Bombs.

It was a lovely meal...and one the kids deserved more than any other as they grew it, nurtured it, and put thought and love into it.
There were over 100 people there!
It felt like thanksgiving.
It was inspiration for all the many future events where we can incorporate the fruits of our garden labor combined with the cooperative spirit of giving!