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!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Kids in the Garden!

This is what it's all about.
The SDCCS kids get to work in the dirt, plant, grow, tend, harvest, eat, cook, and share.
From seed to table!!
Here are just a few pictures of the goings on the garden over the past few weeks.
Many things have been planted: peas, parsley, lettuce, swiss chard, collard greens, radishes, carrots, tomatoes, lambs quarters and green onions.
We still have broccoli, cauliflower, artichoke, potatoes, malibar spinach, fava beans and more of the above to plant. AND the plan is to KEEP ON PLANTING!!! Every 3 weeks or so. The idea is to have a continuous harvest!

Come one come all...volunteers, kids, teachers, parents!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Another Successful Workday in the Garden!

Lots of eager hands and willing hearts showed up on Saturday to construct a new, well-organized composting area & to re-build raised beds out of mortar and rock in the Kinder-GARDEN!
With our Cooperative spirit, our Garden Program keeps improving. We expect there to be a substantial amount of food planted and tended by our kids this year, along with several parents & teachers to guide them.

And as a parent at the school for 8 years I just have to say...we should all be very PROUD!

We are part of the solution...teaching our kids, by example, that work and community is important and that
much can be accomplished by caring for our world through organic gardening and the slow food movement. For the third year now, the children at SDCCS, especially those in the younger grades, have been able to spend a lot of time in the garden and are learning the benefits of growing food & EATING lots of vegetables. We feel this will not only benefit them now, but in the future as well.

Thank you
to every one who helped this past weekend and who want to volunteer in the future. It is proving already to be a very worthwhile endeavor.
We STILL need parent volunteers to take small numbers of kids out the garden every week for 1/2 hour of tending/harvesting/observation in the middle school. If you are interested, contact Amy Zink (e-mail at right).
Thanks again for the wonderful work....see you in the garden!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Garden Volunteer Oportunities for 2009/2010 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 attend the GARDEN MEETING
This THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 17TH AT 12:30 (right after school in the Kindergarten playground.)

If you are unable to attend the meeting but are interested in any of these opportunities, please email Amy Zink with all your information!!

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 (1/2 hour - 1 hour time commitment per week)

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)
☐Planter boxes (outside First & 4th Grade classrooms)
☐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.

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

☐Storage Sheds
☐Strawberry Tower
☐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

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Summer Garden Watering, Please Help!!!!!!!!

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.

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

June 15 and 18.....1)Stacy 2)Tammy
June 22 and 25....1)Caroline 2)Lydia
June 29 and July 2......
1) Annie 2)Tim
July 6 and 9.....1) 2)
July 13 and 16...1)Jorgi 2)
July 20 and 23....1)Tracey 2)
July 27 and 30.....1)Annie 2)
August 3 and 6......1)Stacey 2)
August 10 and 13......1) 2)
August 17 and 20...1)Annie 2) Amy
August 24 and 27.....1)Tracey 2)
Aug 31 and Sept 3......1) 2)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Earth Day. Remember?

Like the first three months of the year, April slipped by all too quickly, and here we are nearly half-past May! I know it's been three weeks since our 5th graders hosted our Earth Day celebration, but better [21 days] late than never, right?

It was a great success, with CJ Hawk and Rachel Ulloa's 5th grade students hosting booths and demonstrations developed from their "Wonder" essays. We were even treated to a couple live music performances, for which our outdoor classroom made the perfect stage.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Harvesting & Cooking Fava Beans in the K-2 Garden

Amy had more garden fun with Miss Karen's 2nd graders, this time harvesting some fava beans!

Everyone had a great time harvesting and shucking the beans...

...collecting a big bowl of husks...

...and a big bowl of beans...

...which was then prepared and cooked by Amy and Daleth.

Some fava bean facts:
Known as Féve in French, Garten-Bohnen in German, Valske Bonner in Danish, Hava in Spanish, the Fava Bean has been cultivated for centuries and is still considered a staple of the Mediterranean diet. Also known in English as the Broad Bean or Horse Bean, it was the only bean known to Europe before contact with the new world. Remnants of favas have been found in archeological sites and medieval peasants made a purée of favas seasoned with a bit of salt pork.

The fava resembles such shelled beans as limas and butterbeans, but it is actually more closely related to the pea family. Although available in their dried form, fresh favas are very difficult to find in supermarkets—farmers markets are the most dependable source for the freshest beans.

Many farmers plant a small-seeded variety of favas as a winter cover crop because they are very cold hardy, and because (like peas and beans) they are a legume and have the ability to fix nitrogen in the soil.

~ from Whistling Train Farm

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Second Grade Growing & Harvesting

Miss Karen's Second Graders have been reaping the benefits of all the hard work they have been doing in the K-2 Garden throughout this school year.

For the past two months now, we have been harvesting & eating lettuce, carrots & radishes. The kids say everything tastes great ! The most exciting part of all this work, is definitely pulling out the carrots. There is nothing like pulling on the green foliage and then finding that there is a big orange surprise on the other end.

Last winter in the garden we didn't have much success with carrots, but we learned this year that radish's & carrots are companion plants. If you plant a carrot seed with a radish seed next to it, and continue on that way, they seem to thrive together. The radish germinates right away, within a week's time and grows to harvest within 30 days. During that time the carrot seeds slowly germinate underneath the foliage of the radishes. Once you harvest your radishes, the carrots take over and are ready in about 60 to 70 days, a long time to wait, but in the end we think its worth it !

Our edible garden plans started this past fall in October after we visited LaMilpa Organic Farm for a field trip. While we were there we learned about the difference between soil & dirt. Soil has living things in it to help a plant thrive, while dirt has nothing in it. We also had a great time tasting different types of greens at the farm and really got excited about planting our own.

When we got back to our own school garden, we got busy adding healthy soil (compost), then we sketched out the plan for everything we wanted to grow from seed. Last year we planted quite a bit of plants that were already started so we really wanted to try seeds and transform our spot into a mini Second grade farm.

What we learned;
~The beets, spinach and chives did not germinate and grow. We think it is because chives needed warmer weather and we just are not sure about the spinach & beets yet, but are working on it.

~We learned how to harvest lettuce by cutting the leaves that are ready to eat on the outside and leaving the baby leaves in the center to grow for the following weeks salad. We also learned how to plant new seeds every other week to keep new lettuce plants growing to replace the old. We also practiced this with carrots & radishes.

~We learned which plants are weeds, and there are several kinds of those popping up everywhere to keep busy hands at work.

~We learned how far away to plant seeds from each other so they have enough room to grow, and how to thin the seedlings after they germinate, in case they are to close together.

~ We also learned that Fish Emulsion smells really yucky, but it helps our plants grow, we used it once a month since January.

We have also planted Fava Beans along the back fence of the garden, those were planted in October and are almost ready to harvest. In addition we planted sugar snap pea's along the fence and the tee-pee, and have been eating those all along, very sweet and yummy. Along the outside fence for some color we planted one of our favorites, Iceland Poppies.

We even have journals to document what we have done !

If you are a Parent or Grandparent at our school and want to help your child's teacher start their mini-classroom farm, please contact me and I can get your started !


Friday, February 6, 2009

New Year Cleansing

On Saturday (Jan 25), parents, kids and staff came out in force to clean up the classrooms, paint and build for the Honk Jr. production, hang art around campus and get some work done on our gardens.

The results are astounding! Check out some more pictures from the event here.