Posts by Alexandra Carbone

Bugtime at Eastman Ave Elementary

We had a blast in the garden today learning about bugs! During school, the first graders learned about friends and foes in the garden; friends who help the garden out and foes who make a mess of things! Here are some of their drawings (with sound-it-out spelling).   They learned that spraying poison on the bugs…

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Learning About Seeds at Eastman Ave

We had a fun day learning about seeds. The kids explored inside some soaked black eyed peas to see if they could find the baby plant inside. We talked about how Seeds need water to start growing and why we soak dry beans before we cook them — to rinse off substances that keep the…

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Hands-on Learning at Luther Burbank

The warm weather has caused all the plants to say, “Oh, you wanted me to grow FOOD? Okay!!”. So we had a day of hands on learning as we split into three groups to weed, plant, and harvest.  The food coming out of the garden is beautiful!!! The kids particularly enjoyed the carrots and strawberries.…

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Bugs and More at Dahlia Heights

We talked more about beneficial insects and creatures today, expanding on the decomposers we learned about last time. Today we talked about our friends bees, hummingbirds, butterflies and ladybugs. We talked about pollinators, and we also talked about how ladybugs eat aphids. We found an example of aphids on the kale so kids could see…

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Selma is Blooming and the Bugs are Busy

You never quite know exactly how it’s going to go when you sub at a new garden, but Ranger Flo has been doing a beautiful job keeping the garden blooming at Selma Elementary.  The kids have been learning about all the different bugs in the garden, so we cemented some of that knowledge by sending…

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Decomposers and other Insects at Dahlia Heights

Today we covered such hard-hitting gardening issues such as active decay cycles and the bugs and other organisms that make that happen. We met the worms and pillbugs then the kids explored the garden looking for other bugs. We also learned that technically all bugs and animals are decomposers because, well, everybody poops and that’s…

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South Gate Middle School Seeds & Signs

We had an awesome day at South Gate Middle School learning about SEEDS. We talked about how they are dormant until they get wet, and can stay dormant if kept dry and out of the sun for up to 2000 years. Then the students went searching for seeds in the garden, after being given the…

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Landforming for Water Harvest at El Sereno

This bare spot of the Arroyo at El Sereno Middle School was ripe for a water harvesting project, so the classes worked today to put in a berm. Constructed of logs, brush, wood chips and soil, it works something like a natural dam to absorb the water running off the pavement. It will put this…

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H-A-R-V-E-S-T at Dahlia Heights Elementary

It’s spring salad time at Dahlia Heights! The third graders were split into teams to scavenger hunt for certain vegetables and herbs such as beet, lettuce, nasturtium, carrot, chives, and kale. Then we went around and learned how to harvest each vegetable. The kindergarteners and special ed classes also were able to participate with harvesting…

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Cook Off! At Luther Burbank MS

The kids had a blast learning about healthy eating and reading and creating recipes at our last class, inspired by the show Iron Chef.  The kids split up into two teams after reading a kale salad recipe and were sent on a mission to create their own version from the produce in the garden.  The…

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Exploring Soil at South Gate Middle 

We’ve been having mad fun over at South Gate while their usual Ranger Yancy is on paternity leave. We’ve learned a lot about soil and the kids went to all four corners of the garden searching for rich soil and poor soil(dirt). They learned that soil is alive and dirt is dead, and learned the…

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Plant Babies at Luther Burbank

We’ve been transitioning to Summer crops at Luther Burbank. We pulled out the onions, got a new load of compost to amend the beds with, and put in eggplant and peppers. We’ve also put corn in which has sprouted so we will put in beans and squash next to them soon to make 3 sisters…

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Nasturtium plant parts at Dahlia Heights

We talked about plant parts today at Dahlia Heights and used a Nasturtium plant for a demonstration.  The kindergarten class learned all the functions of the plant parts and we talked about some fruits and veggies we eat that fall in each plant part category.  They were fascinated by the nasturtium seeds. We also looked…

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Food Marketing at Luther Burbank Middle School

We had some healthy eating educational fun at Luther Burbank talking about food marketing and the things companies have to do and say to get people to buy their products, and get their products to people to buy.  It’s an ah-ha moment to stand in a garden with veggies growing and think about all the…

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Comparing Compost at Dahlia Heights

Since it rained last week, we had the worm bin visit the classroom with the big kids and talked about vermiculture. This week, we learned about hot composting and did a relay race where the kids built a hot compost pile out of greens, browns, and water. We compared the new hot compost pile of…

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Spring Salad at Dahlia Heights

Spring is coming and bringing lots of cool weather and rain, which makes for some beautiful lettuces and peas. To that base, we added kale, nasturtium flowers, chives, cilantro, and radishes, and made a crunchy spring salad. While we ate them off our nasturtium leaf plates, we talked about garden ecosystems. We also played garden…

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Factory or Farm? At Luther Burbank Middle School

We have been doing a healthy eating unit at Luther Burbank. Last time we talked about the food pyramid/balanced plate, the different categories of foods, and what they do for our bodies.  This time we talked about how to tell if a food is processed or not, and the health differences between fresh foods and…

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Seeds! at Dahlia Heights

It was seed day at Dahlia Heights. The second and fifth graders learned about the parts of the seed, how each seed has a tiny plant in it, and a cotyledon to feed the plant while its breaking out of the ground, before it can photo synthesize. We talked about how archaeologists found a date…

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Time to Trim the Milkweed at Dahlia Heights

During recess, a few kids helped me cut back the tropical milkweed last week. Milkweed is the plant the monarch caterpillars eat. The tropical variety has red orange and yellow flowers and looks like this: There are also native California varieties that usually have pink flowers, though the plant comes in many different colors.  Recent…

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Planting and Harvesting at Dahlia Heights

The new year brought a new group of students at Dahlia Heights.  We went over the garden rules and played a fun game about plant parts.  There were tons of lemons to be harvested and the kids had a great time picking them. There were also a few stray figs somewhat ripened after that fall…

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Botanical Drawings at Luther Burbank Middle Schools

The middle schoolers really dug into this project at Luther Burbank! They were shown botanical prints and asked to choose a plant in the garden, observe it and sketch it as accurately as possible at its different life stages. They were asked to take into account shape, size, pattern, texture and color. The project emphasizes…

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Last Day of Classes at Dahlia Heights

It was the end of another rotation at Dahlia Heights and the last gardening class before the holiday break, so the day called for an elaborate harvest snack. The kids (K-1 classes) picked, cleaned, and cut chard into pieces. Then we stir fried the greens with some garlic and served it with pasta. The kids…

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Salad Day at Luther Burbank

It was a busy day in the garden. The classes are finishing up their botanical drawings, we amended the garden beds with our homemade compost and planted carrots, and we talked about the ecological concept of the edge.  Edges are fonts of biodiversity. We broke down that word: bio (life) and diversity (difference). The edge…

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Exploring Seeds at Dahlia Heights

We talked about seeds at Dahlia Heights, focusing on what makes them grow or stay dormant. Kids will watch sprouts grow in their classroom this week, examining how they soak up water then put out roots.  We looked at all the different shapes and sizes and colors of seeds and explored the garden looking for…

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Makin’ Compost at Luther Burbank

Our first round of compost is coming through and the kids helped filter it with our compost tumbler to remove sticks and large clumps. We were able to fill a large wheelbarrow and have more to do next time.  The compost is made of food scraps from nearby restaurant Room Forty http://www.roomforty.com , mixed with clippings…

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Botanical sketching at Luther Burbank

The kids have been hard at work making their own botanical prints from plants of their choosing in the garden. They were shown examples from the 18th and 19th century (above) and we discussed how before the camera was common these very detailed drawings were important for cataloging and sharing plant knowledge.  Many kids were…

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Marmalade Season at Luther Burbank

Well, we did it! Under some trying al fresco conditions, we managed to convert a tree full of these sour mini oranges into delicious marmalade!  Making marmalade is actually really simple and easy. Here is the recipe we used in case you want to try it at home: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/orange-marmite-recipe.amp.html Two different classes helped out with…

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I Dahlia Heights Composting Relay

Our littler kids, kindergarteners and first graders, learned about how to make compost today with the compost relay. Cries of “Chop! Chop! Chop! Chop!” “Get some Browns! Get some Greens! Get some water!” resounded in the garden.  Cheering for 25 kids really drives the process home! The garden is looking great thanks in no small…

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Growing at Luther Burbank

It’s been challenging starting plants that the animals don’t eat at Luther Burbank, but look at these new sprouts! Beets, cilantro, radishes and lettuce have a good foothold in our raised planters. The kids planted a bunch of red Russian kale starts in the ground and we protected them with baskets. Hopefully we’ll have a…

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Kinder journaling at Dahlia Heights

We had a great talk about composting and decomposers in our kindergarten class on Friday. Its always interesting to see what captures the kids attention and inspiration in their garden journals. They were obviously very inspired by holding the worms and learned a lot about beneficial insects and nematodes in the garden.  The worms in…

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Dahlia Heights Harvest Festival

We finished up our first round of classes at Dahlia Heights just in time for their harvest festival. Ranger Alex attended to show off the garden, with its beautiful new fence designed and installed by the parents and PTA with help from Tomas and Enrich LA. The sixth grade played drums andd smile bands kicked…

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Autumn Harvest at Luther Burbank Middle School

We harvested and had a fantastic autumn salad at Luther Burbank with kale, pomegranate, basil, mint, cherry tomatoes, and chives. We dressed it with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and orange juice. It was a very fitting meal for our discussion of the climate in Southern California, which is Mediterranean with rain only in the colder…

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Olives and Fun at Dahlia Heights

We had a fantastic time this week learning about friends and foes in the garden: pests that eat our crops, and beneficial predator bugs that eat the pests. The kids played a game of freeze tag to illustrate this concept with roles of the lettuce, aphids and ladybugs. Then, we chomped on persimmons and looked…

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Dahlia Height Salad Days

The lentil sprouts from last week were ready so in addition to learning about the parts of the plant, we made a big salad with veggies from the garden, like kale, basil, oregano, carrot, Apple, and persimmon. I taught the kids how to make a vinaigrette with mustard, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil. Most kids…

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Kicking up the compost a notch at Luther Burbank

Luther Burbank MS is blessed to have the folks down the street at Room 40 Restaurant.  Head Chef Libry and his cooks bring their food scraps over once a week to be composted, and even helped put together our new compost bins at a workday recently. We mix the food scraps with dried up foliage…

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Planting out Luther Burbank for the Fall

The seasons are changing and Luther Burbank is in need of some changeover. We planted out a bed that previously had fava beans in it with crookneck squash, weeded away and also put in some lettuce and cauliflower. There’s a decent chance this crazy heat will fry everything we put in, but at least the…

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Learning about Seeds at Dahlia Heights

A fun day was had by all learning about seeds on garden day at Dahlia Heights.  We learned that seeds can be dormant for up to thousands of years as long as they stay cool and very dry, and that the right temperature and, most importantly, water makes them wake up and grow.  We learned…

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Jujube madness at Dahlia Heights

The kids enjoyed trying Jujubes at Dahlia Heights on Friday! Few children had tried them before but most liked them and many even had seconds. Jujubes taste a lot like apples, you can eat them green or later when they turn brown or even later when they get gooey and shrivel up like raisins. Hooray…

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First Day Of Garden Classes At Dahlia Heights!

We had a great first day of classes at Dahlia Heights! Students explored the garden and created garden journals. We also talked about garden etiquette and tasted some fruits that students may not have tried before — Figs and Jujubes, right from the tree. We also planted a flat of cilantro and learned how to…

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