Garden Tour, April 2013

Join me as we take our periodic stroll around the garden!

Junior High students often change the message on the blackboard hung in their garden.  Yes, welcome indeed!

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I might have mentioned we are planting a lot of peas to get ready for our first Harvest of the Month program in May.  (Pinecones are to discourage critters from walking in the bed.)

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As we were harvesting the broccoli, one child told me she didn’t know that the part of broccoli we eat is curled up flowers. I told her we’d leave one plant in the ground to flower so she could see for herself.

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Broccoli is also coming up in one of our container gardens.  That’s one of the funny things about school gardens—mystery plants!  (Someone, at some time, had an idea, a vision, a spare plant…who knows?)

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The strawberry plants look luscious.  Keep. meaning. to. enclose. them. in. nets.

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The tulips are finally up in the breast cancer awareness ribbon.  Watching them bloom took on new meaning for me this year as two very brave and beautiful friends of mine have kicked cancer’s butt in the last year.

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New child-created signage on the bulletin board on the CATCH nutrition concept:  go, slow and whoa foods.

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We’ve been moving native strawberries out of this prime veggie growing location to the hillside around the fruit trees, as a move toward a permaculture fruit tree guild.  We hadn’t moved all of them by Science Day though so I split the bed to make some room for pea planting, pinning back the strawberries with some white picket fencing we keep moving around the garden.  Cute!

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Someone donated this flag last year, and we fly it—announcing our allegiance to daffodils!

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Mrs. Shull’s fourth grade class peas.  Each child did a letter on an index card, I laminated them and kids taped them to bamboo skewers.

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We have a gazillion wildflower seeds in the garden, from seed ball making activities, former projects, etc.  Wildflowers have a special immunity in our garden.  Wherever they want to pop up, we gladly let them stay.

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This little donated table broke.  No worrries. With a tree stump standing in, it makes another cozy little spot to hang out in the garden.

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A local grape grower trimmed these for us!  Our first crop this fall?  (Stay tuned.)

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Look who decided to bloom.  (Oh little wisteria, you have no idea how close you were to being uprooted.)

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Our honeysuckle reading teepee.  Last week a child sitting inside yelled, “Mrs. Elisara!  Come here!  There’s a chrysallis at the top of the teepee!”  Sure enough, a butterfly-to-be was dangling from the ceiling.  (The president of the entomology club later ID’ed it.)

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If you’re not familiar with Box Tops, they are the little pink coupons found on hundreds of products.  Schools collect them and mail them in, receiving 10 cents for each one.  It adds up, and at our school, the proceeds have been earmarked for the garden.  Twice a year we receive a check.  Here’s what we bought with our latest earnings: pea trellises, bean towers, seed starting mix, trays, compost, and our 3×3 raised bed frame.

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Finally, it’s always good to step back and get the big picture!

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B is for basil, C is for chives

ESK is our Early Start Kindergarten class, and their bed features herbs and the alphabet.

Speaking of spelling… I follow the school garden blog for Alice Fung Yu Elementary in San Fransisco.  They put me on to an incredible resource, full of lesson plans:  http://www.educationoutside.org/lesson-pathway.   I’ve barely ventured into the site, but one of the first things I found was a worksheet for an alphabet scavenger hunt.  (“Feel, smell, watch or listen to something from each letter of the alphabet. Write down or draw what your discoveries.”)  I tried it yesterday, and it was a hit!  Lots of sounding out of words as kids ran around, finding something in the garden for every letter!

Garden Tour, April 2012

Every once in a while, I’d like to give you a quick tour of what’s current in the school garden.  Welcome to the first installment.

Mrs. Dawson’s first grade class broadcast California wildflower seed in this demonstration bed:

Our grapes are growing along the fence:

We have a new cedar shed.  Isn’t it adorable?  We waited a long time for this shed, raising the money to buy a quality unit.  So glad we did!

Our native strawberry bed continues to be lush and prolific:

A cute sign my younger son made in a craft workshop with Marisa:

Here’s a bed we sowed with nitrogen-fixing legumes to organically improve our soil:

Our current garden bulletin board:

A craft project from a couple years ago:  Our garden rocks!  Yes, it does.