Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Best Book for Garden Curriculum and More!

This book is in the teacher's lounge
where a growing library of garden information
will be available.

This book, in particular, has so many
ideas for garden learning. It was re-
commended by the Life Lab, the best
garden inspiration around.

Check it out!
FRIDAY,FEB 8th, 3:30 Morgans rm.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Next Garden Meeting!

Feb. 8th, 3:30pm
in Morgan's Kindergarten Room

On the agenda so far:
*Spreading the Winter Harvest with the Whole School. (Ideas are welcome!)
*Classrooms Spring Planting Schedule with Garden Liaisons & Volunteers.
*Garden projects/Workday on the horizon.
*Upcoming Grant Proposals.

is when the real fun begins and everyone
wants to be outside...lets figure out how to make that happen for every classroom!

Please come and join us !!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Join In the Harvest

Fourth Grade Garden Harvest January 18, 2008:
It was truly amazing and rewarding to see 40 nine-year olds so excited about vegetables! So many proud faces as the veggies were pulled from the garden they had planted with seeds and buds just two months ago!We brought hummus, dried tomato spread, lemons, limes and salt. The children made wraps with the lettuce. "Delicious", "so good", "wow" is what the kids kept saying as they munched down every last leaf.
The parsley was bundled so that each child could bring home a bunch (including a radish or two) to their family. We hope you enjoyed it!

There is more harvesting to be had out there!! If you want your kids to experience a fresh, healthy and yummy snack with their classmates, just contact Amy or Annie.

Try for this week (22nd through 25th) while everything is still fresh!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Check this Out!!

UC Santa Cruz Life Lab...a very inspirational place. This website has wonderful pictures of garden classrooms and activities and is filled with ideas for planting, art in the garden and curriculum!

We Need YOUR Help!!

To all the Parents, Teachers and Families out there who might be unsure of what to do in the Garden lately...this Post is for You ! We have found plenty to do, and don't have enough hands to help !

Now that we have two working Gardens, we really need to get our kids out there doing some real gardening. Some of the classrooms have just jumped in and are really reaping the benefits! Talk with Dmitry, Merril or CJ to find out how much fun they have been having.

With all that needs to be done, we see an opportunity to get more Teachers, Students and Parents in the Garden. What we need are people to take the kids out to the Garden once a week to work, draw, map, compost, pull weeds, read names of plants, research about them, etc. We find that taking small groups of children at a time is best, the ideal amount would be 5, but if you need to take more, you can still have lots of fun! The opportunities for learning are endless and remember you don't need to have gardening knowledge to accomplish this ! If you need ideas please contact Annie or Amy, or better yet, come by the Garden on Thursdays, its going to be a regular work day and Annie takes a few kids at a time from Miss Kate and Mr V's class from 11:00 to 12:30. Those of you who are already Garden Liaison's, if you cannot get to school once a week, then see if you can find another Parent interested in helping ! Teachers.... we have some great books on Gardening Curriculum on Order and will set up a "Gardening Library" in the Teacher Lounge soon!

So here is our latest list of all the garden tasks that need to be done in the Gardens.

1.Weed and weed some more!! The rain has brought many! If you are unsure if something is a weed, just leave it...there are a few areas where wildflowers have been planted...and what you might think is a weed, might be a budding beautiful wildflower, but for the most part, if looks like clover or dandelion, PULL IT! (The bed in the K-2 Garden that is along the chain link fence is where the wildflower seeds have been planted, so don't pull there.)

2. Pick up leaves. We have had the children doing this quite a bit, but remember to have them experience other aspects of the Garden as well, so they are not just doing the same task each time.

3. Add compost to the soil. We have fresh bags of compost by the back garden bench that can be used around the base of each and every plant and the KIDS LOVE to do this! Just fill a bucket full and carry it around with you as you dig down a bit around the plants and pack some compost in there.

4.Sweep dirt and debris around the outside of the Garden.

5. Harvest, taste, cook the vegetables that are ready. The Third and Fourth Graders have Radishes, Lettuce and Parsley that are just about ready to become a salad ! In the K-2 Garden there is Swiss Chard and Lettuce ready to be eaten. A great way to use Swiss Chard is to bring in some Humus, and let the kids make small wraps with them, similar to the size of grape leaves! Also, if you are harvesting Broccoli, just cut pieces that are ready, and more will grow, the same goes for any Greens!

We also have some Handy Man or Woman jobs that need to be done...please let us know if you are interested in doing any of these !

~The 3rd-8Th Grade Garden desperately needs a worm bin and a compost pile, is anyone up for transforming the old sandbox that is currently hanging out there into a full functioning compost pile ??

~On the subject of Composting, is there anyone out there that is passionate about composting that could dedicate some time to helping develop a school wide plan? We would just need you to commit to a few hours a week. This would be such a fun way to get your volunteer hours in! We can direct you to a center in Solana Beach that will help us out in our efforts.

~Both Gardens could use Rain Saver Barrels, they are quite expensive at $200 each, maybe a donation would help, or they could be built with garbage cans, spigots and hoses, this would require some expertise.

One last announcement... If you want to volunteer to just help out in the K-2 Garden, without working with the children, please come on Thursdays and Amy or Annie will be there and would love to have help in our weekly work. Its been quite enjoyable to bring coffee, or tea, share stories and get our hands dirty... Please come join us !!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Compare and Contrast...

Has anyone noticed the difference between the plants growing in the K-2 garden vs. the plants growing in the Raised Beds in the 3-8 Garden? Well, check it out! There is a huge difference!

While many of the plants were from the same nursery and many of the same seeds were used the difference seems to be in the SOIL! The Raised Beds (3-8) were prepared with fresh topsoil and about 3/4 compost. The K-2 bed was soil tested before planting, we then added compost and specific nutrients based on test results, rototilled and then planted. We have found that soil to be quite sandy still and are currently working on strategies for bringing it to the ideal growing medium. This makes for some excellent learning opportunities, in addition some fun experiments with our children.

Our first experiment will involve the 1rst and 2nd graders on Thursday in the K-2 garden....we will dig up the radish and carrots seeds, that have not done to well, then have the kids add lots of nutrient rich compost. We know they love getting there hands dirty, so they will turn the soil, then replant new seeds and track the results.

radishes/raised beds

radishes/K-2 garden

parsley/raised beds

parsley/K-2 garden

broccoli/raised beds

marigolds, broccoli, cauliflower
broccoli/K-2 garden

peas/raised beds

peas/K-2 garden