Posts by Danny Yaffe

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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Vine Street turns trash into treasure

Vine St Elementary gives common items a second life. Turning everyday containers, such as milk cartons, into seed starting containers showed the students how they could start their own gardens at home. A snack of carrot roots growing in the garden was then a well-deserved treat. Some students jumped at the chance to move by…

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El Sereno Elementary reclaims goods for starting seeds.

At El Sereno Elementary the students used containers that they received and discarded daily to create the perfect containers for starting seeds. One man’s trash is a seed’s new home. Teaching the students to reclaim materials and give them a second purpose helped them realize they have the tools they need to start their own…

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Seeds Everywhere at El Sereno Elementary

Seeds a plenty at El Sereno Elementary. A lesson on seed anatomy was illustrated using sunflower seeds; a nutrient packed educational tool. We talked about dormancy, how seeds spread, and different cultures’ uses of them. A walk through the garden provided living examples of the lesson. – Ranger Dan

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Vine St Has a Work Day

Vine St had a great day in the garden putting into practice all the sustainable gardening techniques they learn about. We turned a bed and planted something that did well for crop rotation. We stripped some leaves for the compost bin. Some students layered mulch to save water and stop unwanted weeds and grass, as…

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Bacteria and fungus at West Vernon

For the compost lesson at West Vernon Elementary the decomposers are the stars. The students learned that it’s the micro-organisms that help turn plant material into food for plants. Humans also use micro-organisms to digest food. The students were inoculated with healthy microbes in the form of a snack consisting of cabbage, hummus, and mushrooms.…

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El Sereno Elementary Learns Soil and Portions

El Sereno Elementary students in the garden this session learned the value of well balanced soil. Understanding how each ingredient in soil must be in the correct proportions for soil to sustain life for plants. A simple guacamole made a great illustration of portions and a nice garden snack. – Ranger Dan

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Twas a lucky day at Vine St Elementary

For a St Patrick’s Day activity the students at Vine St Elementary got to clear a clover bed. Four, yes four, students found four leaf clovers!!! A seeds comparison showed sizes vary greatly yet similar anatomy exists throughout. Fresh spinach and avocado was a great green treat. – Ranger Dan

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Butterflies and colorful leaves

West Vernon Elementary students gat a special treat. The delicious colorful leaves aren’t the only things growing in the garden; several students witnessed a butterfly exiting it’s chrysalis during garden maintenance. The lesson on soil paled in comparison to the friendly butterfly. – Ranger Dan

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Hommage to St Patrick

As the season changes a lesson on crop rotation was perfect for the students at Valley View Elementary. Carrots were harvested and eaten with cabbage and a little garlic sauce (greek yogurt, fresh garlic, salt/pepper). The spring flowers are already blooming and bringing in some pollinators. – Ranger Dan

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El Sereno Elementary snacks and clears a bed.

A lesson on the life cycle in the garden transitioned into pulling up a bed of mint and making it into bouquets. Students snacked on fresh lettuce wraps with colorful tomatos, radishes, and a little hummus. Peas are blooming beautifully. – Ranger Dan

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Garden Maintenance; work smarter not harder

At Valley View Elementary students helped in the garden my removing weeds to get ready for mulching. A lesson on Integrated Pest Management (IPM) taught them that many techniques are executed to keep the garden healthy without using chemicals. Carrots were enjoyed by all and a little planting for next season took place. – Ranger…

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Soil; how it works and methods to improve it.

At Vine St Elementary students learned about soil, it’s functions and components. The second round students students learned about crop rotation and various benefits it has (including building a healthy soil profile). Walking through the garden students saw the strawberries were almost ready. The flowers are blooming and bring some pollinators hopefully. A light snack…

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We Eat Many Plant Parts

West Vernon Elementary students received a lesson on plant anatomy and the functions of the various plant parts. A heavy harvest day in the garden meant a plant part filled snack for the students. Stems, flowers, and leaves were on the menu; all fresh from the garden. – Ranger Dan

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Understanding How Plants Operate

El Sereno Elementary started a new cycle with first time garden students. As they learned the functions of the plant parts and what we eat they begin to understand the importance of things in the garden like soil and flowers. A snack of purple cauliflower was a great introduction and coincided with the addition of…

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The Colors of Health

Making sure the cornucopia of vitamins and minerals are incorporated into your diet can be tricky. At Valley View Elementary students learn that a colorful plate is a good way to make sure their nutritional needs are being met. Jicama and blueberries make a great snack and way to get in some white and blue/violet…

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Integrated Pest Management and a Colorful Treat

Vine St Elementary knows that diligence and ingenuity is what allows their garden to succeed without chemical pesticides. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a large part of that. As various techniques were explained; dense planting (to crowd out weeds) was put into practice in one of the beds. A snack of beets with fresh onion…

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Experienced Gardeners Grow at El Sereno Elementary

As the older students at El Sereno Elementary get ready to move on in their schooling they exhibited their accumulated garden skills by weeding and spreading some mulch to control the weeds between the beds. As this was the second round and last garden class this year for these students they were given a chance…

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Whole Foods v Processed Foods

At Valley View Elementary the students learn the various types of processed foods; some are just packaged whole foods for convenience and others are very far removed from garden inhabitants. A taste test of different levels of tomato preparation from whole to sundried to processed. The garden has some unwanted guests but at least they…

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Plant Parts, So Many Snack Choices

The newest round at Vine St Elementary had a lesson on plant parts; how each one helps the plant and which part of each plant we can eat. Seeds, fruit, roots, and leaves were on the menu. The second round students learned the usefulness of coffee grounds in the garden to amend the soil, adding…

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West Vernon Elementary Keeps Their Garden Healthy

Garden maintenance on a sunny day kept the students at West Vernon Elementary happily busy. Be it weeding, amending, or seeding; the students are always ready to get their garden into shape. A lesson on compost and a peek into their compost bin reminded students that the food web in the garden is cyclical, thanks…

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Compost; thank you decomposers.

Creating the right mix of browns, greens, air, and water is what allows decomposers in the compost bin to turn spent garden residents into food for future residents. At Vine St Elementary the compost bin is relatively young so when some beds needed amending before replanting the students added and incorporated used coffee grounds as…

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Soil. Where would we be without it?

Students at West Vernon Elementary learned the ingredients of soil and how proper proportions are able to form a hospitable environment for plant growth. In the garden they were able to get hands on experience in aerating and amending soil beds before planting seeds or transplants. It is a large garden but fortunately the students…

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El Sereno Elementary Learns the Value of a Colorful Palate

Students learned that different colored fruits and vegetables contain different nutrients. They work best when eaten together and a colorful diet will help paint a healthy existence. After naming several foods from each color category the students were able to see what colors were growing in their garden; whether it was mounding white potatoes or…

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Life Cycle Lesson and Some Producers for a Snack

At West Vernon Elementary the students learned about the life cycle in the garden. From producers to tertiary consumers it comes together with decomposers. Students spotted a chrysalis of a primary consumer (butterfly) and snacked on some fresh carrots. The broccoli is growing nicely as well. – Ranger Dan

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