Thursday, October 6, 2011

Garlic Planting

We often think of spring as the time to plant. Some plants, specifically those grown from bulbs need to be planted in the fall. The students from the elementary and middle school got a turn at planting fall bulbs this past week. Thanks to the help from some wonderful volunteers, Rudy and Sharon Kessler, the students planted garlic and learned about the important role garlic plays in our diet.

The students first prepared the soil by loosening it and then making sure it was nice and level. This was done with bare hands, a great way for the students to "play" in the dirt. They then each took a turn planting a clove, with the roots facing down, by pushing it into the loose soil. Once a few rows were planted the garlic was covered with a 6 inch layer of leaves, keeping the soil warm during the winter months. This was topped off with some pine branches to help hold all the leaves in place. It was a wonderful opportunity for the students to learn many aspects of planting and taking care of the plant beds. The middle school High Five students also had the opportunity to plant garlic in the middle school garden. Each of the incredible cloves planted will be harvested next August when they become a nice large bulb themselves.

The students learned that once the garlic is harvested it is hung in a dry place with open air flow. This way the garlic dries out and is ready to be used. Garlic is often added to many of our pastas, pizza, and dishes but as we learned from the Kesslers can be prepared in many ways. It can be roasted to make a sumptuous side dish, or added to vanilla ice cream, or used in baking cookies! The students particulry loved the garlic cookies and ice cream the Kesslers brought to share.