Thursday, August 28, 2008

Small harvest today

Just a few days until school starts.

2 big tomatoes and 53 romas for a total of 11 1/4 pounds all sent to the Food Service Department for lunches next week.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Day Seven summer school

Today we had a visitor, local beekeeper, Ms. B. came with all of her equipment to teach us about beekeeping.

Everyone got to take a turn trying on the special hat and gloves. Then we all got to turn the crank used to separate the honey. She passed around the box parts for us to see, but the bees had to stay at home today.

Then it was onto the bus for a field trip to the local Demonstration Garden maintained by the local master gardeners.

We saw special equipment used to hoe the great big beds that they maintain. Students enjoyed the wide variety of crops and saw some more of those beetles that have been bothering our school garden also.

No time for journaling or weather today. Tomorrow is our last class. How the time has flown.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Day Six Summer School

Today is COMPOSTING day --

Yesterday we sent home a note and a zip-lock bag for kids to fill with items for a compost pile.
We have a guest presenter, a master composter and volunteer with the master gardeners group from the region. After the classroom lesson, we head outside to see the humus that a good compost pile can produce. The Mr. P. shows us how to unhook the sides of the mesh box that holds the composting leaves, grass and garden clippings. Our students take turns forking the pile back into the enclosure. This is our way of "turning" the pile. After it is turned, they check the temperature with a special probe and find the temperature climbs to 173 degrees. That's really hot!

Today we also discover our very first pepper growing on one of the plants.

As always, it's also a day to journal and note what has changed.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Day Five Summer School

Our 2nd week of summer school

Every day we start with a garden riddle. Here is today's riddle:

I am a really weird leaf.
I grow underground. You can only see the tops of my leaves.
I can be yellow, white, or red.
You can eat me in sandwiches or rings.
When you cut me up, I may make you cry.

Our students enjoy solving these riddles. Do you know today's answer?

Today's lesson is about seeds. Ms. R. brings bean seeds for everyone along with a diagram of a seed. Students "dissect" the seed and label the plant parts. We also have a microscope today and view various samples of seeds, plants and bugs.

On the way out to the garden the students find spittle bugs on some of the grasses by the playground.

In the garden it's a day to weed and thin.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Day Four Summer School

Weather: 69 degrees, 5 mph wind. No rain.

Journal notes: " Bed 8 --green peppers are 8 inches tall, green and doing very well, good!"
"Bed 3 Rutabaga is 1 inch tall, green. Doing very good"
"there is grass growing near the plants and turnip beetles in the beds".

Our classroom activity is making newspaper pots by rolling a strip of newspaper on a soup can and folding over then securing by gluing. We then fill the pots with soil and plant corn and bean seeds for students to take home to plant.

Outside there are lots of cucumbers growing in the big pot, so we transplant a few back into one of the beds.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Day Three Summer School

At classtime it was: 67.9 degrees. Winds 10-12 mph. No rain overnight.

Here is how the beds looked before mulching.

Today we hiked across the soccer field to a very "ripe" pile of aging grass clippings. What a perfect mulch this will make! We use our trusty winter sleds piled high and pulled over to the garden. Once back at the garden, we lay down several layers of newspaper on the soil, wet it down good then place the grass on top. The girls were better about getting their hands in the grass than the boys were. Luckily, we have a stash of gardening gloves for anyone wanting to protect their hands.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Day Two Summer School

Todays work in the garden includes beginning to stain the tomato "ladders" that will support our tomato plants. We used the same supports last year, but this year we want to protect them from the weather a bit.

Will notes in his journal that" it's 68 degrees out today with a 7 mph wind" When we gather in the classroom we always check the weather from the school's WeatherBug on the website.

Insects noted by Brittany are "cutworms, greenish-blue beetle and ants".
AJ measured the tomato plants in one of the beds. The tallest is 11 inches, there is a 10 inch plant and the smallest one is 7 inches. Digging for insects and looking at them with the magnifying glass was a big fascination today.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Helping Hands Garden Club 2008 Summer School Class

Now growing 8 raised beds filled with vegetables and flowers.

Produce will benefit our Elementary School community, Local Food Pantry & Senior Center

Students gathered starting on June 16th for eight days of lessons and gardening, led by our 4-H and Master Gardener volunteers. On this first day of class we discover that things have grown since planting and the last day of school 10 days ago. There are also weeds growing, so one of the first tasks is to weed in all of the beds.

Then we think about what to use for a mulch around the tomatoes and the peppers. Tomorrow we will hike across the soccer fields and "borrow" some of the old grass piled up over there.

Kids are excited to find beetles and caterpillars in many of the beds.

Keyah writes in her journal "there are worms eating the beans".

AJ notes that the flowers are 5 inches tall.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Planting the seeds

4th graders had their chance to plant today. Their job was to plant the last 3 beds with our crops that will be grown from seed.

Here's what went in:
  • dill in a bed and in a pot
  • cucumber, also in bed #7 and in a seperate pot
  • radish
  • carrot
  • beets
  • rutabaga
  • lettuce
  • green beans
  • sunflowers in each bed for a total of 9 sunflowers

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Danger of frost has finally passed

Our 3rd grade friends helped to plant the peppers and tomatoes in the garden beds today.

Tomato varieties: Celebrity, Better Boy, Pilgrim and Roma
Pepper varieties: Chinese Giant and Keystone

Thursday, May 8, 2008

"Mystery" Tomato & Pepper Problem Solved

One of our master gardener volunteers is growing the same varieties in his greenhouse, so he will substitute labeled plants for the ones that the students forgot to label.

We might sell the "mystery" plants later this month with the proceeds going to help the garden.

Neat solution, huh?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


The seedlings have germinated and are growing beautifully. The tomatoes had gotten so tall that they outgrew the cart and had to be moved to a volunteer's greenhouse. Today is transplanting day. Our master gardener volunteers Chris & Nancy are coming to work with a classroom of 3rd graders to transfer the plants from their 4-cell pack to individual 4" pots.

Again we use the buckets of potting soil and in the excitement, everyone forgets to transfer the labels to the new pots. Now how will we know what we have? We've got trays of "mystery tomatoes" and peppers. Hmmm

Friday, March 28, 2008

Spring is on the Way

After a long dormant winter, we are finally preparing for a new season in the school garden.

Today we planted tomato and green pepper seeds with the help of the 4-H Afterschool members. Our volunteers helped the kids to add water and stir the soil so it was just nice and moist. Each student received a two 4-cell packs and two small packets of seeds. Next stop was the soil station where they filled up with soil under the watchful eyes of our master gardener volunteers. They learned how to "dimple" the soil with a dull pencil and planted both types of seeds. Students carefully labeled the variety on a craft stick and filled out a seed planting journal sheet where they answered the two questions: "What kind of seed did you plant today?" and "I learned..."

Varieties this year include:

Tomato: Celebrity, Goliath, Pilgrim & Applause
Pepper: Chinese Giant

These seedlings will now go into the garden cart under the grow lights to germinate and grow.

Can spring be too far behind?