Posts by Danny Yaffe

Valley View Starts a Bed of Native Plants!

At Valley View, we started a bed just for native plants. Students learned that California native plants do not require the water and soil amending that the other fruits and vegetables in the garden need. They did a school walk to discover plants in the area doing well without additional water and took some seeds…

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Producers, Consumers, and Decomposers at Valley View!

As the students at Valley View Elementary learned about the garden life cycle, they explored their garden to find examples of the crucial players. Lots of life gave lots to discover as they digested their snack of cucumber and mint. – Ranger Dan As the students at Valley View Elementary learned about the garden life…

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Compost Amends the Beds at Vine St

The students at Vine St gave the garden a boost while removing summer plants. They used compost and learned about how expired plants are used to feed new plants with the help of decomposers in the compost bin. Beds were cleared, amended, replanted, and mulched. – Ranger Dan

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Compost is Building at West Vernon

As we take down the summer crops at West Vernon the compost gets a big boost in nitrogen. A lesson on compost and the balance needed between “brown and green” (dry or wet) plant materials filled a few pages in their journals.Students were able to snack on a giant zucchini from the garden! Students also…

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Vine St Learns the Soil Formula

At Vine Street Elementary, students had a lesson on soil and the components that make it hospitable to healthy plants! Learning the recipe for healthy soil and a healthy snack of zucchini, leeks, basil, and lemon kept the students smiling. Seeing some flowering mint gave them an illustration of the previous lesson on plant parts.…

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Vine St Elementary Completes the Garden Life Cycle

Vine St had a lesson on whose eating what in the garden. They learned that decomposers complete the garden life cycle and were challenged to come up with several examples that live in their garden. Keeping track in their journals helped them to realize it takes many organisms to keep the garden growing. – Ranger…

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West Vernon Learns How the Garden Life Cycle is Completed

Pollinators to decomposers and back again. West Vernon received a lesson on the life cycle in the garden and how decomposers complete the loop. Cover crops were removed and the students help amend a row crop that had just produced a bounty of corn. Decomposers can’t do all the work after all. Garden cucumbers, basil,…

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Valley View Elementary Learns Plant Parts and Their Functions

Valley View Elementary had a lesson on plant parts and their functions. A snack made of seeds, fruits, and leaves (corn, tomatoes, and basil) helped the students realize how delicious the parts can be in the right combination. Some primary consumers were spotted and made a great precursor to future lessons. – Ranger Dan

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Vine St Elementary Learns the Soil Recipe

Vine St Elementary has a lesson on soil and how each ingredient needs to be in the right proportion to be useful to the plants. Looking back at their journals to the lesson on plant parts and examining some roots really made the lesson tangible. A snack of zucchini lemon and rosemary was surprisingly well…

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West Vernon Reviews Plant Parts and Functions

Roots, stems, leaves, fruit, flowers, and seeds. The students at West Vernon went over the plants parts and their essential functions for the plant. They used their journals to sketch and write down the plant parts and what would happen to the plants if they didn’t have them. The garden was full of delicious and…

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El Sereno Elementary returns to a green Garden!

Garden classes have begun again at El Sereno Elementary and there was a lot of green in the garden to welcome students! Students were able to explore the garden and saw some flowers that indicated that fruits will soon be arriving. Though summer has ended, the garden is still busy producing and students are excited…

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Valley View Elementary returns to the garden

As the students at Valley View Elementary returned to the garden they were greeted with garden protectors and a healthy snack. Strawberries with basil and lime got the kids energized to explore and observe some secondary consumers keeping and eye out in their herb patch. Journals were created to make sure all the adventures can…

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Vine St Elementary has a colorful snack and saves some seeds

A colorful end of summer snack was a visual and delicious treat for the students and Vine St Elementary. Out with the old and in with the new! Students help save seeds from spent summer plants, aerated and amended the newly vacated beds, and started seeds for the upcoming change in seasons. – Ranger Dan

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West Vernon Elementary comes back to a busy garden

The garden at West Vernon Elementary was happy to have its students back. Fortunately there were secondary consumers present to keep the garden safe all summer. So much to harvest and eat!! A fresh corn salsa with garden cucumbers to dip greated the eager students. A garden review and journal construction were great welcome back…

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Carson-Gore starts the year with a colorful harvest

Students at Carson-Gore Elementary were excited to be back in the garden. A beautiful harvest of greens, strawberries, basil, eggplants, and tomatoes made a great welcome back snack. Journals were made to ensure the students retain and engage in their garden lessons. Plant parts were observed, explained, and tasted. -Ranger Dan

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Vine St starts the year with observations

Vine St Elementary had an active garden this summer. The students were able to see the fruits (or should I say seeds) of its labor. Journal were created to make sure they are keeping track of what is learned and seen. -Ranger Dan

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Finish with a bountiful harvest

West Vernon Elementary had a healthy harvest and cut back for summer. Beans, zucchini, tomatoes, onions, cabbage, and peas. Several dishes were prepared and enjoyed. Students also had time to work on their own garden designs. – Ranger Dan

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Valley View Celebrates Dohnut Day Their Own Way

A healthy alternative to the morning treat is whole grain bread with yogurt, honey, and fresh fruit. The students at Valley View Elementary enjoyed it before some summer planting (cup protection from pill bugs). After the potato harvest the students helped trun the bed and plant a cover crop. – Ranger Dan

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Colorful harvest and garden planning

At Vine St Elementary the students tasted yellow carrots and basil paired with raspberries. A garden plan was worked on using blanks of their garden and a plant spacing index. Skills were put to the test as the garden classes come to a close. – Ranger Dan

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West Vernon Does the Numbers

Planning gardens is challenging without the right tools and know how. Fortunately at West Vernon Elementary the students are well prepared. A spacing chart of common edible plants and a blank scaled map of their school garden let the students fill the space with their own choices. Getting ready for their own garden space planning.…

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Potatoes Potatoes Potatoes

A huge potato harvest at Valley View Elementary sent the kids home with hands full. Patience and trust were definitely practiced as these underground swollen stems formed. 100 plus days from seed to harvest and well worth the wait. – Ranger Dan

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Vine St Harvests, Snacks, Plants

Students at Vine St Elementary were exploring the garden and observing plant spacing as well as bed placement and sizes as they got ready to design their own edible gardens. Carrots were harvested and snacked on with some yellow squash. Tomatillos are coming in nicely and summer flowers are beginning to show. – Ranger Dan

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West Vernon Elementary observes the garden for research

West Vernon Elementary has a lot to do getting ready to plan their own edible gardens. Sunflowers were harvested and examined for the effective seed spacing. Observing the spacing of plants and size of beds the students began to think about their own gardens. What end should the fruit trees be on? How many zucchini…

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El Sereno starts garden planning

With many classes under their belts, the students at El Sereno Elementary are starting to plan their own gardens. Revisiting the crop rotation lesson as well as touring the garden and thinking about spacing of plants the students prepared for creating their own edible gardens. Pulling some grass seeds and snacking on squash with basil,…

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At Vine St Elementary the students harvested and ate the last few of the root crops in the garden. A lesson on crop rotation explained why we won’t plant the same things in the place where they were just grown. Avoiding nutrient depletion of the soil, keeping last years pests and diseases in the past,…

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West Vernon Elementary keeps their garden green

At West Vernon Elementary the students know that the garden is a changing landscape. As we take out old plants and put in new there is something to consider. A lesson on crop rotation explained the benefits of changing what is grown in the soil year after year. Avoiding nutrient depletion, stopping the spreading of…

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Busy Day at Vine St Elementary

At Vine St Elementary the students had lots to do. Removing a mint bed and planting a cover crop, transplanting some peppers, releasing butterflies, and of course a sweet date snack. The lesson on friend or foe insects in the garden was complimented nicely with the additional pollinators. Students learned that pollinators and decomposers aren’t…

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West Vernon knows their friends from their foes

   At West Vernon Elementary the students had a lesson on welcomed garden insects and ones the garden could do without. They made the connection that insects that eat plants aren’t helpful but those that ate other insects were the garden’s friends. With so much to harvest, garden snacks are never in short supply. A…

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El Sereno Elementary works the day away

A busy day at El Sereno Elementary had the students planting some summer flowers, amending their strawberry beds, and learning about good and not so good insects in the garden. The connection was made that insects that eat live healthy plants are not on our side, fortunately there are several other predatory insects that help…

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West Vernon enjoys some greens

West Vernon Elementary continues to enjoy zucchini and spinach from the garden, seasoned with fresh basil and a pinch of salt. A lesson on companion planting helped the students understand that even plants are stronger when working together. The grapes are coming in nicely as well. – Ranger Dan

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Valley View digs in

Valley View Elementary students won’t tolerate weeds in their garden and gladly spend time digging them out. Making sure not to add them to the compost, they removed the unwanted guests and cooled off with a refreshing sample of homemade lemonade with mint from their garden. – Ranger Dan

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Vine St Elementary; all hands in

At Vine St Elementary the students helped turn a bed and put into practice what they learned last week about mulch. A lesson on medicinal herbs was followed by a refreshing homemade mint lemonade. Well deserved after a hard days work. – Ranger Dan

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Refreshing day at West Vernon Elementary

As the days get warmer the garden at West Vernon Elementary is bright and busy. The students had a lesson on herbs for health and enjoyed some homemade lemonade with mint. They devoured fresh zucchini with basil, rosemary, and a dash of salt. Flowers are in bloom and the squash are growing more every day.…

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Valley View learns a thing or two about mulch

At Valley View Elementary the students had a lesson on mulch and its benefits in the garden. A snack of colored peppers with herbed greek yogurt made a great snack to transition into spring. We even planted the green onion roots to get a jump start on snacks for the rest of the year. –…

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El Sereno Elementary cleans the garden

The rains have been great for the gardens but can also cause some unwanted guests. Fortunately at El Sereno Elementary the students love burning some energy on pulling misplaced grass and keeping the garden tidy. A lesson on medicinal properties of herbs was followed by fresh mint lemonade sweetened with local honey; staying ontop of…

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Vine St Elementary has a full harvest

At Vine St Elementary the students made room for spring planting and got to taste the efforts of the garden. Roots were on on the menu as we discussed the many benefits of mulch, especially useful in saving water during the hot summer months. – Ranger Dan

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West Vernon harvests some radishes

At West Vernon Elementary the students helped harvest radishes for a spicy snack. We discussed mulch and how it helps minimize weeds, keeps water from evaporating too fast, and slowly releases nutrients into the soil. Sunflowers are coming in and the grapes look very happy. – Ranger Dan

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