Posts by Tahereh Sheerazie

April’s bounty

Lots goes down week after week, particularly in our special needs classes. Sometimes everyone can be highly productive and other times no ones in the mood for anything! But what tells me that im getting through and that its both relevant and important, is when I meet some of these children in other areas of…

Read More

Signs for the orchard

Our fruit orchard is getting a face lift with signs being drawn by 8th graders as part of their community service project. Since both Mandarin and Spanish are taught in school and many children speak both the languages, we added them to the signs along with the common and Latin names. The last part of…

Read More

Vernal Equinox/No-rooz

March brings with it the first day of spring. The vernal equinox. A time for rebirth, and a fresh start, not just in our gardens but in our lives. We got to learn the physical and symbolic importance of the moment when night and day are equal and the sun shines directly on the equator.…

Read More

The Fungal Kingdom

In preparation for our Fungi lesson with Professor Naveen Hyder of Cal Poly Pomona the students finish up their Fungi Kingdom Poster. Theyve covered alot of ground on knowing the parts of this essential componant of a healthy ecosystem. Professor Naveen shows them different types of fungus/mushrooms (fruiting part of the mycelium) and is surprised…

Read More

Prepping fruit trees and pathways for Spring.

With so much winter rain we expect copious amounts of weeds to come to life, so all February, between rain breaks we’ve worked feverishly to sheet mulch our pathways, and build healthy weed free pathways. While I’ve been slowly pruning each fruit tree since late January, for a robust harvest and aesthetic functional shape, the…

Read More

Cauliflower is King

  Its been our signature winter vegetable. Cauliflower! Planted in the fall with starts from Sylmar High school’s farm, in beds that were mulched and well fed during the winter, each head grew to be bigger, juicer and more beautiful and tasty than the next. We’ve shared it with staff, and Enrichla admin and volunteers…

Read More

Recognizing Fungi

January brought us much needed rain and the emergence of a wet habitat that we havent seen in a long while. Between being sporadically thrust indoors and some days of bright sunshine, each class has been discovering the workings of a wet habitat. The emergence of mushrooms being the most obvious. They have been looking…

Read More

Unmasked!

6th graders got to meet their substitute teacher on this rainy first day of garden class, with a bug mask on her face! A scary looking sight at first glance, but full of recognizable wonderful critters whose names and connections to the plant kingdom got rapidly written on the board as each child described what…

Read More

Winter rains!

    At Clifford elementary the year began on a welcome rainy day in January. Every child impatiently wanting to visit the garden to take in the fresh air, and soak up the rain drops, pretty much like the plants themselves! We did exactly that with the kindergarten class. Burning energy first with a rain dance,…

Read More

Decorating for the holidays!

The fun that comes from pruning back in the winter is making wreathes with garden clippings. We used apricot and olive twigs and branches to make the frames, and then everyone went to town with mostly lavender and pine cones to decorate. Many students took their creations home to share with family. Some left them…

Read More

December to do’s at El Sereno middle school

As rapidly as Fall continued to color the trees, our year end tasks in the garden, also took on a speed of their own! We pulled weeds from as many beds and pathways and covered them with thick layers of mulch. Our mountains of crab grass, became a perfect nitrogen fix in our compost pile.…

Read More

Tastes of Fall

While the younger farmers continued to plant for winter, carrots, cabbage, broccoli, and lettuce, each in their square foot garden, another group prepped a salad made to feed everyone, of garden harvested pumpkin, acorn squash, broccoli, chives, mint, lavender flowers, arugula and a dressing of balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. To this mixture…

Read More

Fall at Last!

Fall has shown its face at last in our orchard of plum, apple, apricot, pomegranate, fig, pear and olive trees. and with that follows lessons in pruning for next years fruit and growth. But with our erratic weather that will have to wait till Jan when all the leaves have shed and no chances of…

Read More

Decorating for the Holidays!

Our dry collection of fennel and corn varieties serve as the back drop to seed packets made by all the students from this years crop of heirloom varieties of carrots, corn, wheat and barley. All strung up in the garden, for a few weeks display before the kids each take a packet home to add…

Read More

Giving Thanks!

So many reasons to give thanks! An extremely exciting class, planting bean seeds in the newly built raised beds, made for a perfect way to usher in the holiday season and give thanks for all that we can do in spite of our limitations. To help us on we even have rain!  

Read More

Square foot gardening

Measuring, and dividing space, assessing companion and seasonal vegetables, and reading seed packets accurately made up our unit on square foot gardening. Were not there yet but very close. Most children have managed to plant x # of rows in each square foot assigned per child but connecting the dots between plant spacing is taking…

Read More

More November News

The Compost pile excites my special needs students like no other! We visit it every other week, adding, chopping and turning. coffee grounds and cafeteria waste are particularly fun for their smell and textures. But what really excites everyone is pulling the grubs out of the rich moist compost heap! Whats been instructive is having…

Read More

November challenges!

Weve had a few cloudy days, some over 90F and a smattering of rain. Nothing is as Nov should or has been! We’ve planted seedlings and then had them toast before they could go too far. Yet many have survived the erratic weather. All along were learning about ‘resilience’ and ‘rolling with the punches’! Here’s…

Read More

Observing Fall

The only pomegranate that survived impatient hands, birds, squirrels and who knows who else, made it to the tasting table today! We ate the juicy brilliant red seeds, and drew this wondrous fall fruit. The brilliant sun on a post rain garden, elicited a walk around it all, observing fall. What moves, whats grown, where…

Read More

Math, Science and Collaborative effort. Planting for winter!

After three weeks of place and soil study, today was all about collaborative planting work. Mr Muro’s sixth graders started out by understanding cardinal directions viz a viz their garden, measuring the gardens area and perimeter, deciding which group was planting where, then testing that garden space for soil composition, and converting silt, sand and…

Read More

Building compost, and planting for winter

Our eager composters dig dig dig for soil friends and foes as they add cafeteria waste. Every moving compost creature is trapped in a jar to look at closely and draw a close enough look alike in their journals. Salvaged lunch carrots and a weeks worth of food waste also goes in the compost pile.…

Read More

soil and square foot gardening

Getting soil classified from areas where each group will be planting. and sharing soil readings with everyone. deciding what winter vegetables will go in one square foot for each child in the class!   while some do the square foot calculations on paper another group preps a chalk board to divide into 27 squares another…

Read More

Eating, drawing, compost and beds

Last week we drew pictures of the greens we ate, and threw the waste into the compost pile! Everyones getting the hang of composting.   The self watering south facing Hugel has a solitary pumpkin vine growing across the mound. Cant wait to harvest its only pumpkin soon. Not too far out purple asparagus grows…

Read More

browns, greens, water, air, heat and FBI

After delving further into various types of seeds, seed pods and seat coats, we went on to exploring what makes healthy growth and the significance of compost to soil.   They kids all helped break down both nitrogenous and some carbon materiel into smaller pieces to make life easier for the FBI that will do…

Read More

salvaged banana salad

Our morning started with collecting cafeteria waste for the compost pile. We salvaged all the edible portions of ripe bananas and amid talk of trash, dumps, methane gas, compost and food waste, we created a yummy Banana Salvage Salad! slice slightly ripe bananas add mint, parsley, curly kale, fuji apples from the garden, meager asparagus…

Read More

meanwhile outside

As Fall approaches, albeit ever so slowly, we harvest and taste whats left on the fruit trees. Meanwhile our two diligent Cal State LA interns continue to prepare planting beds with a fresh layer of soil and mulch, making sure not to bury the perennial herbs, the growing artichokes and odd squash or two where…

Read More

mapping place and saving seeds

Weve been spending our days refining our mapping skills and collecting seeds. The children are learning how much there is to record on one simple map of their garden and how many sizes and shapes there are in seeds. Not to mention the variety of ways in which to harvest them. Its a big mess…

Read More

First observations – mapping spaces/saving seeds

Back to school with new batches of middle school children, began with getting a sense of place – what is where, and why. Walking and mapping the garden have been our first exercises in becoming familiar with the gardens function and systems. We have also begun to talk about seeds and gather them as we…

Read More

Back to School!

Summers bounty or at least what the critters left for us, awaits the children and their curious minds. We have black corn to taste, a tree full of olives to cure, both are a first in our garden, plus a ton of seeds to save!

Read More

Breaking Bread

We grew Spelt, Sonora wheat and Buckwheat for our winter cover crops. Reaping our harvest and tasting the fruits of our labor. Buckwheat spelt and Sonora wheat bread, butter and buckwheat honey!  

Read More

Tasting Pleasure!

A long process but so worth the wait. We planted Sonora wheat, Tibetan purple barley and Rye seeds in Oct – we’re eating bread and soup in May!  Eight months of postponing gratification, learning patience, respecting hard work, knowing soil, recognizing differences, understanding symbiotic relationships, working as a community, and tasting pure pleasure:-) ready for…

Read More

April at El Sereno Middle school

From planting native black corn on earth day, to harvesting yellow and purple potatoes and sharing a spring harvest with teachers and students   and enjoying the slow but sure growth of our native cherry, and toyon berry bush, with ca poppies everywhere Hurray to spring!  

Read More

Misty Spring day

Weeds everywhere greeted us on this drizzly Friday after spring break, as did tons of roses, juicy lettuce, and over five feet tall fava beans! Even our month old two foot tall Jujube tree has blosooms. The purple Tibetan barely nearly mature, while the Sonora wheat lush green. We observed how our cover cropped beds…

Read More

gifts from a far away land

Months of ravaged planters are in full swing ! After a wonderful spring break, feasting on an over flowing spring garden is certainly a reward worth enjoying. We shared sweets from my travel to Pakistan, talked of common plants that grow on two sides of the globe, wrote and then shared how the sweets felt/looked/smelt/tasted,…

Read More

springing forth at el sereno

          We came back to a burst of spring growth this week, from herbs in full bloom, fruits trees with tiny fruit, vegetables ready for harvest and the grains almost there. its a delight after months of patient work feeding the soil and learning the cycles of dormancy and growth.

Read More

Celebrating Spring!

  Ancient cultures particularly native American and Iranian, celebrate the spring equinox with customs that date back to thousands of years. Last week before breaking for spring, we took a small peek at the traditional Iranian ‘Norooz’ with the spread of our own ‘Haft Seen’ (the seven seen’s or the letter S in farsi) a…

Read More

Chia – Salvia Hispanica

  Our densely planted garden beds are all blooming with spring vigour Today’s lesson was an intro to a popular Aztec/Mexican ancient seed. Belonging to the Salvia family, Chia seeds are well known and more and more commonly eaten for their nutritional value. We first drew the tiny seeds in our garden journals, then got…

Read More

Garden posters

Last week our beautiful garden posters got a good washing outdoors, so we decided to put up the rest indoors instead, for everyone to enjoy the garden without stepping a foot in it! Happy garden visitor. We planted a tray of California poppy seeds a little over a week back, and have already begun to…

Read More

Nitrogen rich fava and grains plus a growing compost pile

As spring exhibits its vigor, so do the children. Adding to and turning compost piles, observing rapid growth and understanding how the earth comes back to life after the winters rest are all exciting times on a Friday morning. The first artichoke buds have bloomed. The year portends an abundant harvest. Meanwhile we’ve planted both…

Read More

First fruit tree of the year – Ziziphus jujuba

Last week we dug through the incredibly rich top soil which the students created by sheet mulching in the fall. Six inches down we hit solid clay. Even so we planted the tough drought tolerant Jujube, donated by Sylmar High school’s garden program. A thorny deciduous small tree or shrub (Ziziphus jujuba) is native to…

Read More

EnrichLA

Watch the VideoVolunteer