Posts by Jeff Mailes

Foster – Irrigation on lock!

Hello Garden Friends, Following up after the Next Step Ministries work party last week, we now have the irrigation portion of the job complete! Follow this link to see the system in action and scroll down to view the pictures below! Until next time, Jeff  

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Lassen ES – Herbs and Irrigation

Hello Garden Friends, Today I Shelby and I met with the principal and walked the garden. We admired the herbs and said our prayers for the marigolds that never made it. Our tomatoes were fruiting a little but our squash and other summer starts we not doing so well. Together, we hypothesized that the nice…

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Stevenson ES – Summer Seeding

Hello Garden Friends! Whoo hoo! The seedlings planted during the Next Step Ministries work party are really taking off. Today I added a few more seeds so that the garden will look lush when the students come back. I sowed cucumbers, beets, chard, and zucchini. In addition, I made some decorative signs, checked our irrigation…

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Toluca Lake – Independent Irrigation

Hello Garden Friends, So excited to have the control to fine tune our plants watering needs! Last week Jess and I set up a new electronic timer which controls the flow of water to our raised beds. We removed the lines which plugged into the districts sprinkler and set up a new line over a newly constructed…

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Kingsley – Seed Sprouts

Hello garden friends, The new Kingsley garden is off to a good start! The seeds that were planted are popping up! Mustard, squash, mint, oregano, peppers and tomatoes – so exciting! After thinning the small plants out I made a to do list. Before school, we need to make sure this place has a space…

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Cheremoya – Sharing harvest

Hello garden friends, Cheremoya is looking cheerful! Lots of flowers, mint is going off, and the tomatoes show promise. Today I trellised the tomatoes, watered the pots, and cut some herbs and chard for the summer staff to take home… Next visit maybe we throw in a few squash seedlings 😉   until then, Jeff

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Valley view – plus compost

Hello garden friends, First impressions of valley view drew me to the lovely herbs and friendly plant manager, Milton. Today I amended the beds with compost so we can plant some pumpkin starts in the next week.

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PAFSS – Room to grow

Hello garden friends, Jeff here, reporting live from the Primary Academy for Success School. This new garden is off to a great start! Plants look great and weeds are manageable for now. A compost system and lockable tool box would take this place to the next level. Ordering some woodchips and a few more cubic…

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Calvert – Planting for Summer

Hello Garden Friends, It is a sad, sad, day watching the kindergarteners line up and leave for the last time. With a final group hug the children left for summer. Alas, I am left to tend the garden and care for their seeds – preparing the garden so that when they return the promises of pumpkins…

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TAS – I Spy

Hello Garden Friends, I spy with my little eye something red that grows under ground and tastes sweet instead of spicy.. what am I? If you said a beet you are absolutely right! They are growing so well here that I thought I would have the students of each class find the biggest one they…

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Rio Vista – Early Summer Harvests!

Hello Garden Friends, It’s beginning to look a lot like summer! With giant squashes and zucchinis bursting forth from the beds, fresh potatoes coming out of the soil, and the scent of tomato leaves wafting in the air. Oh.. the simple things. Last week I shared these simple joys with the students while wishing them…

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ALCMC – Spring Showcase

Hello Garden Friends, I am so proud of my students. They were on time, well-prepared, and spoke with passion to their fellow students – representing their garden and the hard work that they and the rest of their classmates had put in this year. As you can see in the featured photo, the students lined…

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Eagle Rock – Air

Hello Garden Friends, Last week concluded the last of a four part series with the grey group. We talked about air and climate change and how our system of producing food makes it increasingly harder for us to cultivate vegetables. I described the system in 5 steps. 1) Production – Conventional farmers use tractors which…

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Rio Vista – Grain to Bread

Hello Garden Friends, This week at Rio Vista we made our special garden fossil tortillas. Concluding the year with a nice talk about what fossils tell us about ourselves and how we are all related. While the kids had their tortillas cooking on the cast iron I had them smash some popcorn kernels so the kids…

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ALCMC – Practice Makes Perfect

Hello Garden Friends, The final countdown begins and next week is the big showcase! Today we finished up our powerpoint slides and even got around to practicing the performance for one another. I’m so proud of these students, it was really heartwarming to look back on our progress and hear what they remember about the experience.…

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Eagle Rock – Bamboo Teepee

Hello Garden Friends, This week at Eagle Rock we were able to erect our garden teepee made completely out of plant materials – hemp twine holding together the bamboo frame. This activity was part three of the four part series covering how a garden can provide for Maslow’s basic hierarchy of needs. It is interesting that…

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Calvert – Artichoke Hearts and Seedling Starts

Hello Garden Friends, Last week at Calvert, I had the 1st graders take a last look at the garden before their garden classes finished up for the year. We took in the sweet smells of sage and the strikingly electric purples of the artichoke flower. We planted some corn, bean, and squash seeds for next year and also…

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TAS – Medicine Doctors

Hello Garden Friends, Last week at The Accelerated School I taught a lesson about plant medicine using a mortar and pestle. I had the children search the garden for smelly plants because the smell is usually an indication of medicinal properties. Most of them ran to harvest seeds from the nasturtium and boy did we…

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Rio Vista – Mortar and Pestle

Hello Garden Friends, Last Wednesday at Rio Vista we made corn tortillas! With the younger students I focused specifically on how we turn corn kernels into flour. We sat in a circle and passed the mortar and pestle around while I told stories of how communities used to grind wheat, rice, and corn grains into flour…

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ALCMC – Spring Showcase Prep

Hello Garden Friends, Not much to write about this week. We spent all the class period working on our group presentations.. I fear we are still not ready – only time will tell. Getting humans to work together is never easy. Getting humans that have special needs, speak different languages, and come and go throughout the…

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Eagle Rock – Shelter

Hello Garden Friends, Yesterday at Eagle Rock we continued talking about all the things plants give us besides food. Last week we talked about water, this week we talked about shelter – and sustainable forestry 😉 The lesson started out with the presentation of a luffa, a variety of squash often used to make a body…

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Calvert – Fossil footprints

Hello Garden Friends, This week we had a special class for several reasons – Last day with the second graders, introduction of new intern ranger Jessica, special cooking lesson, ANNNDDD our wonderful garden parent Paul Cassell surprised us with new shelves and a white board in the tool shed! Thanks Paul! With the whiteboard we…

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TAS – Edible Fossils

Hello Garden Friends, Last Thursday at TAS we made our own fossils! It was a perfect lesson to reinforce what some of the students had learned at their trip to the La Brea tar pits. The fossils were basically handmade corn tortillas with leaves pressed into them. 1 cup of flour, 1 cup of water,…

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Rio Vista – Tortilla fossils

Hello Garden Friends, Today at Rio Vista we made edible fossils out of corn flour. This gluten free geology lesson started out with a chat about how we are all brothers and sisters – all coming from a common ancestor. Some have green eyes, some have black hair, some are born with six toes! The…

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ALCMC – Herb Bouquets

Hello Garden Friends, Yesterday at Miguel Contreras we spent most of the class time preparing ourselves for the May 24th Spring showcase – talking about all of the things we did over the past year and which activities our participants would enjoy the most. Not to give too much away but we decided we would…

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Eagle Rock – Signage and Seeding

Hello Garden Friends, This week at Eagle Rock we did some much needed signage updates. Most of the displays were dated to our winter gardens – indicating that our beds were brassicas or lettuce…ooops! Anyways, now that the garden has been filled with new tomato and jalapeno seedlings and succession seeded with squash, corn, and beans..…

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Calvert – Harvesting Garlic

Hello Garden Friends, Last Friday at Calvert we said a sweet farewell to our fourth grade students. As a final farewell, we planted tomatoes, harvested garlic, and played a nice game of compost relay. Aerating our bins and getting the kids to move around is huge! They have so much energy and being able to…

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TAS – Corn Sprouts and Water Spouts

Hello Garden Friends, Today at The Accelerated School I thought I would spend some time explaining where our water comes from in the garden since last week I talked about soil. Where water comes from is debate-able considering it exists in a cycle. However, I chose to start with rain and snow in the mountains. Because…

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Rio Vista – Earwigs, and Pillbugs, and Larvae.. oh my!

Hello Garden Friends, This week at Rio Vista we played with bugs. I had a bunch of younger students and I really wanted them to conquer their fears of dirt and creepy crawly things. So, we had total immersion. There was no escaping the sweet smell of compost or the tingle of a pillbug on…

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ALCMC – Cleanup for Dinner

Hello Garden Friends, This week at ALCMC I had lots of extra students that Mr. Herrmann sent my way. At the end of the year it seems that everyone needs to hurry up and complete their hours. Anyhow, I introduced the 15-20 new students to my class by doing a chat about systems and the human…

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Calvert – Transplantation and Compost Relay

Hello Garden Friends, Last week at Calvert was the last week I will get to teach the third graders this year. These students were the first students that got to use the greenhouse, and I have been hung up on the fact that they never got to plant any seedlings. How can this be?! Well,…

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TAS – Candy Stripe Beets

Hello Garden Friends, Presentation, presentation, presentation… I tell ya, nothing gets kids to try new foods quicker than a fancy display. Or ranch dressing.. it seems like kids will try any vegetable if it has ranch on it 🙂 ANYWAYS… before I had the students harvest some beets, last week at The Accelerated School, we talked about…

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Rio Vista – Compost Discovery

Hello Garden Friends, Last week at Rio Vista we finally got to harvest our hard earned compost! Panning for black gold we did, except instead of 19th century gold panning equipment we used our hands to sift out the stones, sticks, and bugs. Our goal was to fertilize the corn, bean, and squash beds (otherwise…

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ALCMC – Goodbye Papaya :(

Hello Garden Friends, Today was a sad day, we had to pull down our papaya tree because it had died. The autopsy report showed a severe case of rotten roots. Papayas do not need very much water and unfortunately the district’s maintenance people had reset the sprinklers (turning them on) so that the quad’s newly…

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Eagle Rock – Garlic harvest

Hello Garden Friends, Last week at Eagle Rock, while making room for our summer plantings, we pulled out the garlic that we has planted as cloves from the grocery store last fall! The horticulture students and I had planted it near the brassica plants to hopefully stave off flying insect pests that don’t like the…

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Calvert – 5th grade Garden Graduation

Hello Garden Friends, This week we said goodbye to the 5th grade classes with a last tour of the garden and put together all of the things we learned earlier with a talk about systems. A system is a bunch of individual parts that work together to serve a function. An organic garden is also…

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TAS – Seed Potatoes

Hello Garden Friends, This week we pulled out some potatoes to see how the plant stores its energy in its tubers. Don’t worry – we left several in the ground to get bigger. This was part of our 6-plant parts lesson. To augment the lesson we walked over to our bolting lettuce plants where we…

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Rio Vista – Weeds to Compost

Hello Garden Friends, Last week at Rio Vista we fed two birds with one scone, weeded the garden and fed our compost. With Spring comes the growth of all kinds of unwanted plants. So, I thought the kids could help me do some of the work 🙂 Above you can see the students watering the…

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Eagle Rock – 3 sisters and irrigation renovation

Hello Garden Friends, Today at Eagle Rock started out with a visit from Ms. Manrique’s design tech students. After quickly reviewing our previous lesson about landscape design ethics, and the ways we change our environment to suit our food, air, water, and shelter requirements, we focused in on food. So, How can we manage the plants…

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ALCMC – Spring rolls!

Hello Garden Friends. Last Tuesday at ALMC we made spring rolls! Served with a homemade peanut sauce the snacks were a huge hit! I brought my camping stove and steamed the beets for the maximum yummy factor. I always love balancing some of the garden work with cooking lessons. I mean, why grow food if…

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Eagle Rock – Garden Design Intro

Hello Garden Friends, This week at Eagle Rock we had a new group of design tech and nutrition students visit the horticultural center. So I thought – garden design! Sustainable agricultural is achievable only through smart design and a systems thinking mentality. What is a system? A bunch of individual pieces working together to achieve a…

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Calvert – Light Misting

Hello Garden Friends, This week at Calvert we had a few of the kinder classes cancel due to a light misting. I was a little disappointed, but I reminded myself that wet students don’t learn well. Since moving back to California from Oregon, I notice myself being extra critical of my fellow California Natives. If…

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TAS – Carrot Harvest!

Hello Garden Friends, This Thursday we had a rockin’ carrot harvest! Every student that walked into the garden got to pull their own carrot out of the soil! It is so gratifying to have such abundance. Because of the amount of students that cycle through the garden it can be hard to keep up with the…

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Rio Vista – Plant Parts

Hello Garden Friends, This week we had the opportunity to see all different kinds of plant parts. carrots gave us roots, kholrabi gave us stems, lettuce gave us leaves, brocolli gave us flowers, lemon tree gave us fruits, and our wheat gave us seeds! Spring gives us such an amazing opportunity to showcase life at its…

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ALCMC – Spring Cleaning

Hello Garden Friends, This week at ALCMC we did a little spring cleaning – pulling out weeds/ old kale, deadheading flowers and making room for our squash and tomato plants. The lesson for today had to do with pruning. For example, by cutting off the dead flowers, the plant focuses its energy away from seed production…

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