Posts by Claire Heddles

Kohlrabi, Spinach, and Broccoli- Oh my!

We are now in our second session here at Utah Street School. This unit, I have the 1st and 3rd classes coming to the garden. Almost all of these students were in my classes last year, so we started the unit with a fun reunion and discussion about what they remembered learning in the garden. Many…

Read More

Water, Water Everywhere at Utah Street

Today marks the last day of our young special education classes. Luckily our garden buddies from Mendez High School will keep visiting and helping us out on Fridays. Last week we learned about water in the garden. Almost all plants need water to survive, but some less than others. We looked at our succulent plants…

Read More

It all Starts in the Soil at Utah Street!

The past couple of weeks at Utah Street School we’ve been learning about healthy soil. The nutrients we get from the plants come from our soil. To grow healthy and tasty fruits and vegetables we need nutrient-rich, well-composted soil. We did have cover crops over the summer, but it’s been a few months since we…

Read More

Welcome Back to the Garden Utah Street!

This will be my third year working in the Utah Street Zalin Smith Community Garden, so I was very excited to go back to classes at the beginning of September! On my first day back many kids came by the garden to say hi and to find out when it would be their turn for…

Read More

We love our pollinators!

After reviewing what we learned about worm anatomy, we turned to other important pollinators in the garden — bees, butterflies, and dragonflies! I explained how pollination allows plants to make new seeds. Pollination plays a vital role in the plant’s lifecycle. The kids were surprised to hear that many of the foods we enjoy wouldn’t…

Read More

Diary of a Utah Street Worm!

Utah Street students were welcomed back to the garden with worms this week! I started by reading the Diary of a Worm to the kids. This fun and playful book explores some aspects of a worm’s life in a whimsical way. We then focused on the more serious side understanding worms by learning about the…

Read More

Buzzing Bees at Lexington

Back at Lexington this week we learned about another friend of the garden — the bee. The kids learned that this pollinator does a lot more than make honey! As the bees search for nectar from flower to flower, they are also collecting and distributing pollen from flower to flower. This pollination allows the plants to…

Read More

Worm Anatomy at Lexington

Welcome to the garden, our new classes! I returned from spring break to a blooming garden, both in and out of the beds! All of the spring rains and recent sunshine have caused our plants to flourish as well as the weeds. Our new classes came into the garden amazed to see the resurrected, formerly…

Read More

Transplanting and Harvesting at Lexington

In our final class before spring break, we harvested tasty vegetables to eat a rainbow salad and a few extras to take home. We gathered strawberries, chard, lettuce, and mint from the garden to toss into a multi-colored salad and discussed the nutrients provided by differently colored foods. The kids then each got a paper…

Read More

Unexpected places to plant at Taking the Reins

This beautiful Sunday at Taking the Reins we focused on determining soil health before planting. I had each girl gather a handful of soil from somewhere in the garden where there weren’t any plants yet growing. We then brought back these handfuls and analyzed their sand, silt, and clay ratios. The girls squeezed the soil…

Read More

A Very Colorful Plate

After discussing nutrients last week in our compost lesson, we shifted to how our body absorbs nutrients. We talked about the different vitamins and minerals that cause fruits and vegetables to be different colors. Purple foods for example have anthocyanin giving them their coloring and benefits for our brain. Orange foods have beat-carotene which the body converts…

Read More

Composts and Leaves!

Time to learn about compost! With the 2nd grade classes I talked about balancing a healthy compost in the garden. As an excellent source of organic matter for our soil, the compost plays an important role. I also wanted the kids to understand that food waste can be repurposed back into the food chain. A…

Read More

Carbon and Nitrogen Balance Makes a Happy Compost!

This week we transported compost from our rotating compost and vermi-compost into the garden. I started class by teaching the kids about how to balance a compost with carbon-rich and nitrogen-rich matter. We drew greens and browns on a plate to learn some of the things we can use for each category. Compost fills our soil with…

Read More

Flying and Falling Seeds

After a season of rain, we found that  many new weeds were growing in and around our beds. How are these plants growing if we did not plant any seeds? I asked the kids what they thought and they began brainstorming. Perhaps the small patch of grass started growing because seeds from the soccer field…

Read More

Parts of our Plants at Utah Street

Each part of a plant plays a vital role in keeping the plant strong, hydrated, and nutrient rich. it is important that we protect all the different parts of our plants in gardening. We took out grubs to protect the roots, spray off the aphids with water to protect our leaves, and use trellises to…

Read More

Spring has Sprung!

It officially feels like spring in the Lexington Avenue Primary School garden! Flowers are blooming all over the place and the fruit trees are budding. In two classes I taught the kids about the food chain discussing how energy is transferred from the sun, to plants, to secondary consumers, and then to tertiary consumers. With my third class…

Read More

Reading Seed Packets and Starting Seedlings at TTR!

On this beautiful Saturday we learned to read seed packets and start summer seedlings. Alexys was unable to teach so I, Ranger Claire, got a chance to get acquainted with the TTR farm. I was so excited to be in a garden with chickens and ducks walking around! We started the class by measuring out…

Read More

Seed Starting and Planting at Utah Street

New season, new seedlings! At Utah Street this week we learned about the different ways seeds travel. We talked about how new seeds may find new soil to grow in by gravity, wind, rain/water, animals, or mechanically. The kids learned hand motions for each of these ways and used these to remember all the ways seeds…

Read More

Buzzing Bees Searching for Nectar

Last semester we learned about different friends and foes in the garden. This time around I taught the kids a little more about one of our favorite friends in the garden — the bee! We played a game with pipettes and ice cube trays to simulate how bees buzz around the garden collecting nectar and…

Read More

Friend or Foe?

What animals help and hurt our garden? I started class by having different kids present cards with friends and foes on them. We explored our garden and looked for traces of foes, finding that there were many grubs in our soil. These grubs would eat the roots of our new plants, so I had the…

Read More

Welcoming a New Rotation Back to the Garden!

Lexington is a small, cozy school which means most classes get two 6 week rotations in the garden. I was excited to welcome back students that had come to the garden at the beginning of the year to see the changes in our springtime garden. We started class by taking a garden tour. We walked together around…

Read More

A Rainy Rainbow Harvest

We made the most of another rainy day at Utah Street School by making our own rainbows! Rainbow stamped plates along with a rainbow salad. We discussed how foods are different colors because of the nutrients in them. Carrots for example are filled with beta-carotene that the body processes as vitamin A (which is good for your eyes).…

Read More

Radish & More Harvest Party!

For our final class in the garden we took a tour of all the beds to see everything growing. We walked from bed to bed noting what plants and weeds were growing. We pulled out some of the grasses in the beds that had sprouted in the rain. We then pulled lots of tasty, colorful…

Read More

Greens & Browns

This week at Utah Street we learned about composting. We talked about the two composts we have in the garden, a vermicompost and a turning compost. Our vermicompost is a worm compost filled with red wriggler worms that rapidly breaks down food and paper scraps into fresh compost. Our turning compost takes a little longer,…

Read More

How do we Start a Compost?

After learning about the food chain, we started to unpack the “cycle” that follows this transfer of energy. Living things break down and become new soil for new plants to grow in. We can speed this process up by making a balanced compost! Each child got a plate to divide in half. For half of our compost…

Read More

Where does energy come from Utah Street?

Today was another rainy day at Utah Street School. We brought garden class into the classrooms, which turned out to work quite well with the white board! We discussed how the food chain works, transferring energy from the sun out to plants and animals. We made paper food chains and with sample food chains. The…

Read More

Learning the Food Chain at Lexington

This week at Lexington Primary School we learned about the garden food chain. I explained to the kids that energy travels from the sun to a primary consumer (a plant), to a secondary consumer (typically an animal that eats plants), to a tertiary consumer (typically an animal that eats animals). Each student received four slips of paper…

Read More

Ladybugs, worms & root maggots, oh my!

This week at Utah Street School the rain had subsided and the sun and students were out in the garden! We learned about the different animals that live in our garden and the ways they influence our plants. We call some animals friends of the garden because they eat the bugs that eat our plants and/or…

Read More

Bee a friend, Lexington!

This week at Lexington we learned about one animal that plays a very important role in new seeds being formed: a bee! A bee travels from plant to plant collecting nectar for their hive. As they do this they gather pollen on their bodies that travels to the next plant they land on. This pollen falls…

Read More

A rainy day to learn about seeds

It was pouring rain this week at Utah Street School! We learned all about how seeds travel in the classrooms. Sadly I didn’t get any pictures of our indoor seed lesson, but we did learn a lot as the kids seem more used to focusing inside their classrooms. We discussed the fact that seeds need…

Read More

A travelin’ seed

After learning about germination last week, we delved deeper into the world of seeds by exploring how they travel. We started by looking for things that we didn’t plant that were growing on our garden paths- patches of grass, weeds, stray nasturtiums. How did grass start growing where we didn’t plant any grass? Directly next…

Read More

Sensing the changes in our garden

A new group of students started garden classes at Utah Street this week. To introduce them to the garden, I had them do a worksheet about the different ways we sense what’s around us in the garden. The kids explored the garden and drew pictures of things they saw, touched, heard, and smelled in the…

Read More

Starting a new year with snow peas at Lexington

The plants at Lexington were very happy after a long, rainy winter holiday! Since it was raining this week, the 2nd graders had an introduction to seeds and the garden from the cafeteria. We discussed the rules in the garden and the importance of treating the garden with as much respect as an indoor classroom. I then…

Read More

Mint and Radish Harvest Salad!

For our final class of the unit we discussed the importance of eating lots of different colors! We harvested some things from the garden to mix into a mint a radish salad. A little orange juice and dash of sugar balances out the radish for a delicious flavor. Even the kids that didn’t like the…

Read More

What’s going to grow now that it’s getting cooler?

We played Planting Season Memory with our garden buddies at Utah Street school this week. We also looked at some of the cruciferous plants growing in our garden now that it’s cooler out such as broccoli and Brussels sprouts! After class Ms. Green our garden intern/parent representative and I went down Mission street to where…

Read More

2 Seasons in the Garden

At Lexington this week we learned about the two planting seasons we have in the garden, Cool season and Warm season! Each kid got a card with a vegetable or fruit found in gardens on one side and a season on the back. I named a type or weather and then all the kids with…

Read More

Roots, stems, leaves, flowers and fruits at Utah Street!

With the help of our high school garden buddies, our special needs students at Utah Street school learned about the parts of a plant. We went out into the garden and collected some leaves, flowers, and soil to glue to our worksheet to learn how different parts of the plant feel differently. We talked a…

Read More

Parts of the Plant at Lexington!

This week at Lexington we learned about the parts of a plant. We talked about the role of each part of the plant in helping it grow! We learned that…. Roots Absorb water and nutrients from the soil for the plants, give the plant a foundation Stem Transports nutrients up to the rest of the plant, gives…

Read More

Friends, foes & garden buddies!

This week at Utah Street we learned about friends or foes. We looked around our garden to find insects that are good and bad for our garden. We distributed good bugs, ladybugs throughout for garden health! We then spent some time exploring different pretty parts of the garden. Our garden buddies from Mendez High School…

Read More

What’s been eating at you, Lexington?

We learned about the insects crawling around in our garden this week. We defined the words FRIEND and FOE and searched through our garden for cards with pictures of friends or foes on them. We looked at some of our kale leaves and saw that something, likely aphids, had been eating them! We took ladybugs…

Read More

Garden Buddies learn about soil

This week with our high school garden buddies we learned about soil and composting. We talked about how different organisms can break down our food scraps to make new soil and started our own compost using Watermelon rinds and red wriggler worms. We are loving having our High School garden buddies coming to help us…

Read More

Learning to compost with worms at Lexington

 This week we learned about soil and compost at Lexington. We discussed the various reasons we plant seeds in soil including to keep them warm, give them a foundation to grow, nutrients, and moisture. We then learned about how composting makes new soil using organic matter. We put the fresh organic matter from pervious classes…

Read More

Lexington welcomes new students to the garden!

New 1st and 2nd graders came to the garden this week. We discussed the rules of the garden and looked around for things in the garden we could observe with our 5 senses. At the end of class we tried fresh carrots from the garden and spent some time weeding and pruning the brown leaves…

Read More

A very colorful harvest at Utah Street!

This week was our last garden class with the Pre-K and kindergarteners for the semester. The kids harvested purple cabbage, green cabbage, green onions, and carrots for our colorful salad. We talked about the different colored foods that give us a variety of nutrients to have a strong, healthy body. We tossed some apple cider…

Read More