Posts by Alexys Thomas

Working hard like farmers!

This week at Gardner was fun! We really got our hands dirty. We cut back our mustard cover crops and tended them back into the soil and as mulch on the soil. We planted cucumbers and peppers afterwards. We harvested seeds from arugula, nasturtium, calendula, radish, and next week, cilantro! Lastly we installed a hugelkulture!…

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Herb, herb, herb, herbs the word

With spring well underway and our garden being the magical rainbow that it is-seriously it’s almost hard to look at all at once, so many colors!- we decided to learn more about our favorite flowers, the herbs.   We learned the properties of our herbs, where they come from, and how we can use them…

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When you have healthy soil…

…the possibilities are almost endless! Temple Israel students are on their 2 week spring break, but they will soon enjoy the rewards of their work! This new garden has been planted almost all by seed and almost all by students. I try to keep maintenance to a minimum here, since students are so excited to…

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Square Foot Gardening

At Gardner, we appreciate the use of math in the garden. We learned to read a seed packet and talked about converting inches to feet. Everyone received one square foot of space in the garden, and decided how to plant their 2 packs of seeds. We finished our math, and went to planting. It won’t…

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Field Trip!!

Taking the Reins hosted classes taught by Theodore Payne Foundation on native pants-we learned a ton! We were able to take a field trip to Theodore Payne Foundation-the girls really enjoyed learning propagation and planting techniques. So glad to learn from these great people!

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Rainy Day Poetry

On a partly rainy day, we decided to write garden poetry.   We took a short, drizzly trip to the garden to collect inspiration, and went back to our classrooms to write. Students wrote about various garden experiences in the rain, including bugs and weeds. We also drew art relating to our poems. Poetry can…

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Steaming Compost

At Temple Israel, we had a very hands-on compost lesson. After walking to our Wattles plot, we began our search. We looked through our compost bin at our plot and discussed what can and cannot go in compost. We learned about nitrogen and carbon, and the important relationship they play in soil. We also looked…

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Fertilizer vs Compost

At Taking the Reins, we have a very large amount of compost cooking at all times! We needed to add a high-nitrogen fixing to our soil, since our plants were fighting the wood shavings for nitrogen(and the wood shavings were winning, as usual). Most of the compost is not quite ready, so we brought in…

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Spring Cleaning

At Wilton Place, we worked on prepping the beds for planting. We weeded, took out any dead plants and added them to the compost, and raked our soil loose for seeds. We also went to the upper garden to weed and plant native seeds. We looked at native flowers and decided which to plant. Before…

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Mallow. Chickweed. Nutsedge.

To kick-start spring, we decided that although we love our garden weeds(the rain has brought many types), it was time for them to go. We spent class discussing the difference between native and invasive plants, and then we pulled up weeds. Mallow and chickweed can be beneficial, but not in the wrong spots. We left…

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Different ways to plant…

At Temple Israel, our Wednesday class has been gardening at Wattle Community Garden. This week we toured part of the garden and discussed different planting methods: crop rows, biodiversity, companion planting, and more. We tasted nasturtiums and sorrels, and went over to our plot to work. We planted seeds and pulled out weeds, and we…

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Crop Rows at Taking the Reins

The girls and I have been discussing the importance of planting techniques. We have learned about soil and compost, and now we have dug and formed our own crop rows! We added fertilizer to the soil as well, with more to come. We will begin planting next week! Here is a cute goat from the…

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Let us out!

After having class indoors for 2 weeks in a row due to rain, it was time to get out! We talked plant propagation, axillary buds, and nodes inside. Then it was out to the garden to plant our propagated parts and identify buds and nodes! We had oh so many mint leaves for snack, and…

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Feeding our Soil

This week at Gardner, the rains cleared a bit for us to have class in the garden! We learned about worms and their castings, and added them to many of our plants. We also planted seeds, pruned back our wild nasturtiums, and ate a delicious snack! We ate fresh broccoli and cauliflower from our garden…

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Save those berries!

Before taking the old beds apart, students at Temple Israel worked with Farmer Jeff to save the strawberries! They learned to transplant them to pots successfully and carefully. We also harvested the lemon trees and were able to donate to a nearby food bank. There’s no better feeling than harvesting for yourself and others.  

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Thank you Camp Waldorf!

With the help of students from Camp Waldorf, we were able to demolition the Temple Israel garden in preparation for new beds. Students were helpful, even though it was drizzling. They got mud on their Jordans, bugs on their gloves, and there wasn’t a clean hem in sight. It was a pleasure to work with…

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Nation of Propagating

At TTR, we learned the important task of propagating. Propagating is taking a branch from a plant (instead of a seed) and planting it in soil. The branch develops roots at the bottom and grows a new plant. We started with succulents and learned that you can propagate almost any plant! We transplanted as well.…

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All the “ations”

Evaporation. Condensation. Precipitation. The water cycle is full of “ations”. We had part of class inside because of the rain, but it was only a tad less fun. We learned our “ations” and had a snack of cauliflower, mandarins, radishes, nasturtium, and cilantro. Students were adventurous- our rule is “you must try everything. You don’t…

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Do Good Bus at TTR

We had a wonderful family volunteer with us Thanksgiving weekend! We stained the wonderful wooden fixtures with a waterproof stain, and Jeff and team installed an automatic drip over the compost pile to help the breakdown process. Moisture will help the compost mature faster, and we can send it out to more schools! Thank you…

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Photosynthesize me!!!

It is almost impossible to see a leaf’s stomata with your naked eye, but with a magnifying glass you open a world of adventure! We learned all about the magic of photosynthesis, and we used our magnifying glasses to see the fine details of leaves. We also did leaf rubbings in our botany journals.

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1:3

When it comes to composting, you have to be careful with your ratios. 1 green(nitrogen based waste) to every 3 browns(carbon based waste). We began class with our snack-fresh mandarins(our tree is not quite ready yet, but will be when we return from the holiday break). While peeling our snack, we learned about nitrogen based…

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Creative Writing

After reading poems and short stories inspired by nature, we went into the garden to write our own. We wrote 3 different pieces, each having more structure than the latter. The girls chose some very interesting spots to sit to gain inspiration- the goat pen, the chicken coop, underneath a leaning fig tree. We drank…

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Stone Soup

When making stone soup, never forget the stone! We had a bit of garden work to do, so we started our soup first thing. We learned chopping techniques, and we learned the nutritional properties of each vegetable and herb. After combining our ingredients, we engineered cages around each bed to prevent the ducks and chickens…

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Beginning with Botany…

Every week we write in our journals-with art, notes, or personal entries related to our gardening lesson for the day. We have been discussing the importance of understanding plant origins, and accurately documenting plants in pictures. Students spent time in the garden in silence, taking in details and writing descriptive sentences. It was wonderful to…

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Bzzzzz…

Our new rotation learned all about bees-the queen, the drone, and the many kinds of workers. We observed our bee friends, spoke with them, and ate a delicious snack of apples and honey that exists because bees are wonderful!

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Your dream garden

At TTR, we took some time to discuss what a garden needs, and what we would want in our dream gardens. We did creative designs of what we would love in a garden. We later made a plan for the existing beds, using inspiration from our dream spaces. The girls were so interested, they finished…

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The ladybugs are here!

At TIOH we have had a pretty serious aphid issue in our artichoke bed. We will be renovating the garden in a few weeks(yay!) so we were hesitant to take them out before. We were saved by the ladybugs this week! Ladybugs lay their eggs in an ample place for feeding-ie an artichoke bed full…

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An important review

I love to do a quick review of things learned, and build on them! The students at Gardner are not new to the garden(except kinder of course) and most are well versed in the basics. We learned the parts of the plant this week, and discussed the importance of different parts. For example: tomato leaves…

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The babies are coming!

This week we talked parts of a plant!We learned which parts are safe to eat, and which are not. We planted radish seeds and discovered some of our radish seeds-among others-have sprouted! We ate a snack of broccoli(stems and flowers), beet hummus(roots), and sunflower seeds(seeds). Kids were brave to try the new hummus, and most…

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New cycle begins!

This week we had our first of class of our 8 week session at Gardner. Though I planned a lesson, the garden was calling us in another direction. We reviewed rules and behavior conduct when interacting with our natural environment, and we were off. Students had MANY questions: what is that, why is it this…

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Anatomy of a Flower

This week we learned the different parts of the flower(focusing on the pistil and stamen), ate flowers(marigolds), and tasted oils infused with herbs and flowers of herbs(rosemary, sage, and thai basil). Students were so excited to explore the garden and name the parts of the flowers they knew beyond the parts of a plant.

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Moths and Butterflies at Gardner St.

Moths and Butterflies…similar but very different. We learned their differences, and learned about many different kinds of butterflies and moths. We also had an unfortunate situation-there was a dead swallowtail in the garden upon arrival. We used it for observation and learning, and later we composted it and said kind words.

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New plants!

We have had loads of growth, and the students have been a great help in maintaining the beds. They are kind and responsible with these baby plants!

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Garden Kingdom at Gardner St.

Today we learned about our Garden Kingdom, and identified prey and predator. We observed our resident praying mantis and a huge grasshopper(not our favorite friend, but our friend nonetheless). Students were brave hen the praying mantis took flight and landed on one student’s head, and the stomach of another! We showed that we knew how…

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Temple Israel begins classes!

We are so excited to add Temple Israel of Hollywood to our 2016-2017 Garden Ranger Program! During our first class, we learned the rules of the garden, made observations, and spread worm castings in our beds. After lightly mixing them in, we planted peas and flowers in our beds. The students were excited to plant…

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What is Corn???

We learned all about corn- the parts of corn, the origin of corn, and why we are growing so much corn in the United States. Last school year students planted Teosinte-corn’s great grandfather in it’s nearly original state. We dissected our plant, observed its pests, and planted new plants in their place. We also harvested…

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Amending Soil

Last week we learned about soil amendment. We talked compost and manure, and that the BEST thing for you soil is composted manure! Mixing organic manures into your compost, and letting the heat kill off bad bacteria and add to the NPK is best for your soil. We added different amendments to our soil and…

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Alexys visits El Sereno Elementary!

The El Sereno garden is looking better than ever! I even had neighbors compliment our program! Ranger Dan is doing an amazing job keeping up with all of the beds, an the soil is happier than ever! I thoroughly enjoyed this garden visit.

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Freeze…Close our mouths…walk away slowly

We reviewed our garden rules before observing the garden for changes. But first we had to address our best friends-the bees! We have A LOT of bees at Gardner, which could explain why we have A LOT of growth here all year! We Freeze, close our mouths, and walk away slowly when we are afraid…

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Compost! Come get your Compost!

We are not strangers to getting our hands dirty at Gardner, and we know a bit about compost. We cut our scraps up, mixed them, tumbled the, watered them, and added our browns. The lesson was short since the work was plenty, and the kids are really getting to be great gardeners here.

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You make your OWN rules…

We decided to let the students make their own rules for the garden this year, and they proved to be mature and responsible. We also planted seeds in assigned class beds. Glenfeliz has a HUGE space, and we all work together to keep it going. The students here are really learning and growing!

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Soil refresher…

Last week, we learned about the soil pie chart and the loam triangle. Students did some exploring on their own of the soil, and wrote down scientific observations, as well as any memories tied to the feelings of the different soils. We shared our ideas, hypotheses, and memories with each other while we planted seeds.…

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Beautiful Flowers

At Bryson, we fixed an irrigation issue, we harvested, we pruned, and we admired all of the beautiful flowers Lead Ranger Hope and interns planted. We are looking froward to the beautiful pumpkins coming in!

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