Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Monday, April 26, 2010
Ending the drawing session we played a round of "Tomato, Tomato, Cucumber" the garden game favorite so far! Today was a great day for creativity and appreciating the edible schoolyard.
Friday, April 23, 2010
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Monday, April 19, 2010
To prove that there is never a dull moment at the garden, this afternoon’s group discovered a snake in the boys’ bathroom! the snake was a non-poisonous black racer; however, the group was quite surprised and the snake was quickly escorted back outside. I guess you never know what kind of surprises a day at the garden has in store. With all that is going on in the garden on this fine Monday, I think we can look forward to a productive and exciting week ahead.
Friday, April 16, 2010
Thursday, April 15, 2010
After a hot afternoon at the Edible Schoolyard, a few friends and I decided to go swimming. In the water, I told them about an experience I had at the garden earlier today.
“Who wants a spicy jewel?” I asked, knowing the response I would get.
“Me, me, me, me!” Came from a dozen different voices.
All of our kindergarten’s class took a moment to line up peacefully amongst all of their excitement.
“Can I taste the radish? Can I have the radish? I want the biggest piece!” Since the radishes arrived a few weeks ago, my classes have come to known them as spicy jewels.
I told my friends this and they could not believe that kindergartners and first graders were fighting over radishes.
Clearly, they could not believe they were proceeded to fight over kale, chard, dill, and parsley either.
Witnessing the kids enthusiasm and enjoyment was not only a personal pleasure, but an eye opening experience. In a country where childhood obesity has tripled in 30 years and fast food floods our diets, children from all different socio-economic levels are craving fresh vegetables that they grew themselves. This afternoon, one first grader put his raw chard in his pocket and told me he was saving it for his grammy. All of the kids show great interest in the garden, satisfaction in the growth of their vegetables, and delight to be outside.
Activity wise, 1pm to 3pm was very busy. We asked our classes to use their five senses to discuss various plants throughout the garden. Admiring vibrant squash blossoms, the kindergarten class could not believe the success of their squash and zucchini plants. While the first graders could not stop describing the smell of the potent tomato plant. With a few minutes left, we improvised and played a short, but exciting game of "flower, flower, bee," an Edible Schoolyard version of duck, duck, goose. Flower, flower, bee turned into chard, chard, kale, radish, radish, carrot, corn, corn, bean...ect...the list goes on. It was an all around eventful and reflective afternoon at Lakewood.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Beginning the day among plants and soil always provides for a much more relaxed afternoon, I can only hope that someday it will be a daily occurrence. I am constantly amazed by the rapid growth that occurs over a weeks time.
The wildflowers are in full bloom and the delicate poppies are slowly opening their pods.The dill still ambitiously growing and bursting into yellow spotting umbrellas. The lettuce has bolted and flowered into delicate yellow flowers, that Alex claims already smell of the lettuce leaves..but we have yet to get a second opinion.As I was watering, I was pleasantly surprised to the the three sisters(corn,beans and squash) thriving and looking incredibly healthy. A corn survival would be much appreciated so cross your fingers and do a rain dance.
And the PINEAPPLE! Looking so alien as it emerges out of the "recycled" spiny top. I cannot wait to see it progress(and hopefully taste it)
We did not have a class this morning but we did have some very small visitors traveling through the garden, en-route from P.E., to say hello and ask what we were growing. It is always so rewarding to see such interest from even the youngest children and their immediate smiles as the pass through the garden.
Ps. Apologize for the format, technology has not been on my side today.
Monday, April 12, 2010
As a consequence of the glorious Spring weather, the longer days and increased hours of sun exposure, not only are the fruits, veggies and flowers growing fast in the garden—so are the weeds! Patches of green witch grass are begging to be pulled up in and all around the beds. The amaranth, though not a weed, has been popping up in several of the beds, as well as in the pathways, and is slowly being removed by hand and transplanted along the fence line.
The weather, not to “jinx” us, is starting to work in our favor! Everything was excitedly hydrated this morning, as the morning shift provided a serious saturation. The compost got churned today and it is looking amazing! We’ve built a lot of good, internal heat in the middle, excellently balanced layers of leaves, food scraps, etc. and both piles are full of worms, isopods and other life. Unfortunately, some non- garden-friendly-grubs have been discovered this week, but with a close eye, the students and gardeners can walk through and pick them out of the garden, performing some hand-maintenance that will surely do the trick.
The butterfly bushes arrived in time to be planted with the classes. Today’s first graders used their 5 senses to make observations on how much the garden has transformed since their last visit. One of the afternoon classes planted some fresh, healthy pineapple tops into some trays of water to soak and take root before they are re-planted into the ground to replace the dead pineapples. (Two of the older, rejuvenated pineapples are blossoming!)
If all of the love and loyalty provided by the students, children, and sunshine continues in its present course, we’ll all share a bounty of delicious organic goodies and aesthetic pleasures at the Harvest Festival in a few weeks! In the meantime, we’ll continue to see, hear, taste, smell, and touch the garden’s progress!
Friday, April 9, 2010
Today was a great day in the garden with lots of questions and great participation by the classes!
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Life is showing up in other areas we'd rather them not. While digging around in the sweet potato bed today we found 3 grubs, and I'm sure there are more. Kaylie, who is Florida native, was surprised because she'd never actually seen one before. On the topic of sweet potatoes, we have been finding volunteer sweet potatoes all over the place. Surprising - I didn't think sweet potatoes would volunteer themselves so easily since the spuds we find are pretty decently sized, not exactly light enough to float around in the wind.
The first round of radishes are mature and we have been slowly harvesting them with the classes. Unfortunately we noticed there are some mites on the roots of them. We'll have to harvest them quick and plant a new round soon.
Another sign of good news - today we saw a Monarch butterfly floating around the flower patch and the milkweed bush. He/she seemed to be desperately searching for a milkweed bud to land on but there were none to be found. We have received the butterfly bush sprouts so we'll be putting those into the ground next week. Until then the butterflies will just have to enjoy the other flowers that have been blooming rapidly.
Things are starting to look very good in the garden, and it seems like it's given everyone a new optimism. For a little while during the abnormally cold period we were a little worried about this season's harvest, but now we are all confident that the harvest festival in 5 weeks will be full of delicious edibles grown in the garden. The first radishes and the first beans have already surfaced!
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
As for working with the kids, our 5th grade class didn't come out today, but we started something fun with Ms. Frey's 3rd grade EBD class who we see each week. It's that time of the year for the students to start their own science projects, and since Ms. Frey's class is lucky enough to be a part of the garden each week they decided to do something with plants! Each of the students, either alone or in groups, are going to use bean plants to test a variable of their choice. For example, one student is going to test how the type of water a plant gets (fresh or salt) affects its growth. Samantha, Emma, and I will be working with the class on their science projects for the rest of the year, while incorporating topics we have learned in the garden in our discussions.
That's about it for today, below are a few new pictures!
Friday, April 2, 2010
We noticed flowers everywhere, beginning to show signs of spring and the fruiting that will come. The kids and I planted twelve yellow squash seeds in the Three Sisters garden to finish out the triad, where corn and beans are growing well. We also watered, soaking watermelon and all of the beds and the trench and even the flower garden starting pop in amongst the gourd plants along the fence. Water and water and more water. This is the season of exponential growth. Lots of days longer than twelve hours long, warm weather, and water from the crew that loves this place.
We were worried a week ago that the crape myrtle had not made it through the cold weather. But it sprouted this week, too, brilliant maroon leaves popping everywhere.