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Lasting Good byes

The time has come to wrap up the school year at Frank Del Olmo, which means we get to harvest, plant and celebrate! We dug up the rest of our carrots, and found some great shapes that had been hiding underground. We also took advantage of the abundant flowers to make some flower presses. During a…

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Seed Harvesting at 3rd Street Elementary

As we wrap up a spring season and move into the summer months, there are many plants that had wonderful seeds to harvest . At 3rd Street Elementary , we discovered this month about how seeds disperse and the importance of building an heirloom collection. We then harvested dried sugar snap pea & arugula seeds…

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Wiggly and Ziggly: Worm friends at Mid City

Our 2nd graders had a blast this month learning all about worms! We learned about their bodies, what they eat and how they contribute to the soil. We then observed a few worms up close and personal (with a couple students naming their new friends “Wiggly & Ziggly”). We then went into the garden and…

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Kale is King at Queen Anne Elementary

No words could be more delightful to a Garden Ranger than “I love kale!”  Most of the kids found out it was worth a try and now they can’t get enough of it!  Since we can’t meet the demand with our current supplies, more kale will have to be planted next year.  Especially the purple…

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New Garden at Queen Anne Elementary

Six new raised beds and and a few citrus trees transformed the cement quad at Queen Anne Elementary into a productive garden space.   The kids examined the irrigation system and determined where the plants need to be placed in order to get regular water.  Then they dug out a small piece of native, hardened…

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Compost Relay + Parts of A Flower at 6th Avenue

With our new compost kit arriving at 6th Avenue, students have been curious about how to use it and what it does to help the garden. Last week we talked in depth about composting and went over the additions we must have (greens, browns, de-composers, water & air) to make a compost pile effective. We…

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Flowers, Flowers, everywhere!

Spring is (definitely) here! Well, “spring”– it was quite hot in DTLA for the last few weeks. Our class with Academy Leadership Community (ALC)  at Miguel Contreras Learning Complex is in the early afternoon so we can feel that heat! Of course, these kind of things are always a good opportunity for learning and teaching–…

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Hummingbirds feasting @ oregano flower

2nd rotation of the year started at Angeles Mesa Elementary. K, 1st and 3rd graders have been interacting with the garden and enjoying Unit 1. 3rd graders are so intrigued and curious about bugs, they liked the Friends & Foes lesson a lot! We recently harvested arugula, more radishes, chard; and have planted sweet snow…

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Cycle of mustard greens

We could not be more happy about this! Our garden is showing us how happy it is! The mustard greens are blooming, carrots are ready for harvest, radishes taste fresh, snap peas everywhere, tatsoi and more!!! We learned today how important it is to respect the cycle of life of each species, to be patient…

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Calvert 3rd Graders Strengthen Their Research Skills

Our 3rd Graders this week took to their field journals to make observations about leaf shape, size, vein and stem structures. This work built off of previous lessons on garden mapping and co-planting. We discussed how these structural and design differences lend to better absorbing light, moving around nutrients, and fitting next different plants in the…

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Honeybees are buzzing at Hamlin Charter’s garden!

We learned about honeybees and why they are so important in our garden. About 1/3 of our vegetables depend on them for pollination! We learned about the differences between the queen bee, the worker bees, and the drone bees. Each one looks slightly different and has a different job in the hive. The bees that…

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Plants aren’t the only ones who love to be sung to

  No I don’t sing to my students. But I do sing their praises! At Taking the Reins this month, the program director on site, Misty, and I met to talk about how we can best serve the girls in the gardening classes. There are students in my classes from different backgrounds, with different needs….

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Gardening is more than dealing with seeds

I love seeing girls feel safe enough to be themselves. Gardening classes at Taking the Reins have provided this beautiful space for girls from all different backgrounds to show up together, learn, be silly, and discover together. I like to give the girls room to exhibit leadership and creativity during classes. So this month we…

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Upper Classes Presentations @Micheltorena

It’s time for winter break, and although the kids are probably so excited about the time off, it’s a bittersweet time for me as a garden ranger. Week 6 was our last session for this rotation and I couldn’t be more proud of my upper classes. Not only have these kids grown tremendously, but I…

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December is Holiday Harvest Time at Thomas Starr Middle School

To close out our fall semester of garden classes, we held a harvest festival of all the fresh lettuces, kales, and veggies growing in our garden! There was so much variety to pick from and everyone enjoyed identifying the different flavors and textures of our many different lettuces, kales, and chards (so much good color…

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From Apples to Zucchini at The Accelerated School

The apple tree in the TAS garden has given us a nice supply of fruit this season.   The kids never tired of our crispy cut up snacks and learning about this delicious food.   I asked them to find out something interesting about apples and they wrote about how apples are part of the…

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Growing in the City…

Between Westlake (McArthur Park) and Downtown LA you’ll find Miguel Contreras Learning Complex, a high school made up of several ‘sub’ schools. One of them, the Academic Leadership Community or simply ALC. The after school garden group meets every Tuesday from 1:30-3PM in a small but oh so mighty garden overlooking downtown. From day one,…

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Learning can be meditative

As mentioned in the last blog post, we have been learning about what an eco-system is and studying the eco-systems within each garden bed here at Taking The Reins this Fall. Each student is assigned a garden bed to explore and within that bed, I’ve challenged the students to each choose one plant to explore…

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A praying mantis steals the show

We were enjoying a lovely day following the class outline I had planned. We’ve been studying eco-systems for this session at Taking The Reins and everyone was busy working in their assigned garden bed. All of the sudden, a couple of students found a rather large praying mantis hanging out in the lemongrass. This lemongrass…

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Worms!

  I’ve never quite understood the fear that follows worms. From my experience, about 1 in every 100 kids fears worms but maybe 1 in 20 adults is scared of them. Why is that?  Somewhere along the way people are taught to hate them.  I believe it’s because they don’t understand them! Not only are…

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Earth Day 2018

Earth Day is a worldwide event in support and protection of the environment. In the garden, students are learning that is possible to coexist with nature despite living in urban busy cities.  It requires ingenuity and care and appreciation of the natural world. As for now, keeping the edible garden alive and thriving is a great start to honor…

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Flower to Seed to Flower

It was a beautiful day in the garden this morning at Toluca Lake Elementary! Many of the plants are flowering and the garden is fi lled with vibrant colors and buzzing pollinators. The students were also buzzing with excitement to be among the plants in the sunshine. Today’s lesson was about pollination and flower reproduction….

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May Happenings

Summer is almost here, though it certainly feels like it already. There are only a couple months left in the semester, which means only a couple months left with the kiddos. However, there’s still our summer City Farm Camp to look forward to! Students that join City Farm Camp with EnrichLA will have the opportunity…

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Join the Team, Become a Garden Ranger

Garden Rangers are responsible for leading weekly garden-based lessons for students, increasing their knowledge of gardening, complementing classroom curriculum, and maintaining their school gardens by ensuring that the garden is well kept, healthy, and bountiful throughout the year. Being a Garden Ranger is a rewarding and challenging experience! Your main responsibilities are: TEACHING: Engage students with…

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Van Ness School making seed bombs with the VI kids

This was a great exercise for the kids especially Udie.  Chelsea the OT specialist at Vanes and I partner to play with our students at Vaness.  Udie also helped to crush roasted eggshells for the compost.

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Fungi and flowers at ERHS

The rain has brought out some beautiful fungi in the garden. With the arrival of spring, the brassicae and onions are flowering. These are a favorite of our local pollinators. We are excited to get our summer plants in the ground.

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Magnified Exploration and Potatoes

After learning about parts of a plant, we got to use our new magnifying glasses to investigate and explore the plant parts in our garden. And, after watching our potato plants go through their life cycle, we got to dig up fresh grown potatoes!

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Van Ness Reviews Plant Parts

Van Ness students pulled grass and put down cardboard in the first two beds, as they had a lot of grass.  The kids were taught about the different root systems: Tap Root and Fibrous Root.  When pulling up the grass, they were able to understand the Tap Root system.  Students also planted seeds and seedlings…

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Learning and reviewing Parts of a plants before planting

At Vaness School 11/16/17  We spoke about parts of a plant. General Ed reviewed parts of a plant and planted in first two beds.  Planted seedlings artichoke and pumpkins. Planted Zinnia and Garnet lettuce.  The kids totally took ownership from planting what to posting in the beds what is there. [I will have pictures from…

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Calvert – Worm Race

Hello Garden Friends, This week, we talked about decomposition with the 5th graders. To help explain the importance of decomposition in the garden, I brought them some red wiggler worms from the b ait shop, old newspapers, and my kitchen food waste scraps. After explaining how worms take the food waste and transform the nutrients…

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Sustainability in the Garden at Glenfeliz

Fall is in and students are gearing up for the spookiest time of the year – Halloween. While this is a fun and exciting time for the students to dream up costume ideas and fantasize about sweet treats, it also signals a shift from the (extra) late summer this year into Southern California’s cool season. This…

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Harvest Party

Wilton Place finished their 6-week class by testing radishes, tomatoes, and herbs.  Students planted radishes seeds in the beginning of the six weeks and they were surprised to see how fast they were growing. Students put their gardening skills to test and all that they have learned in previous classes to practice. We are working…

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Flowers A-Bloom at Atwater Ave

Class today at Atwater Ave was all about stopping to smell the flowers. Stopping to smell, and then looking for some brightly-colored floating stamen covered in pollen, and then seeing how the sepal forms…well, you get the idea. Students today learned all about the brains behind the beauty of a flower, and what each part…

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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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Vibrant blooms at AIA

It is a beautiful cloudy day here on the rooftop. We got a sprinklong of rain today which is good for our plants! Squash, sunflowers, and marigolds are all blooming, which makes food for bees! Today we learned about harvesting seeds from our garden to plant next year.

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Garden Love – Dominguez High

So, Dominguez high school’s seniors are feeling the senioritis, I hurt my leg and the weather, well, Im not going to blame anything on the weather haha. But, on this gloomy day, we visited the garden to assess what was needed to be done on our next and last visit (sad face)..  We took our…

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Super Signage at Luther Burbank MS

We finally finished up this long term project on the last class of the year at Luther Burbank!  The graduating 8th graders were happy to leave something behind for future students. We made these sturdy wooden signs labeling the things we have planted and giving a little more info about them (sometimes the info is…

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End of the Year Garden Celebration!

Today we celebrated our very last garden class with a splendid tea party! The kids were in high spirits as they entered their final week in school. Before our party we walked about the garden and saw the very first ripe tomato! We also had a timely opportunity to witness the pollination of our blue…

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Salad, artichokes, and baby mantids

Today was a fun day in the garden. The lesson was on fungi and microbes. We had a salad with homemade dressing for a snack. There were a bunch of baby praying mantids on the plants!

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Welcome New Cycle

  The garden looks welcoming with its colors and fragrances, and  students  experienced that on a crisp Monday morning Their first lesson: Warm vs Cool season. The edible garden is growing corn, beans and  squash (three  sisters). These are heat loving crops that make  a great friend and companion to each other.  Along with tomatoes,herbs and flowers, the garden is…

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First day of garden class at Arroyo Seco Museum

Today was a great first day of garden class at Arroyo Seco Museum! We learned about the rules of the garden and proper tool usage techniques. We planted tomatoes, peppers, basil, and swiss chard. We also spied a hawk soaring through the sky!

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Rio Vista – Magic Potions

Hello Garden Friends, Last Wednesday at Rio Vista we toured the spring garden and harvested ingredients to make delicious infused water beverages.. or magic potions. The garden is full of nutrients and vitamins and organic chemistry that has incredible healing abilities. Making teas and infusions is one way we can keep our bodies balanced and…

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Basil, lavender, swiss chard

Another great day on the rooftop! Today we learned about the 6 edible parts of the plant. We snacked on swiss chard. We had a lot of fun learning to plant summer veggies like tomato and squash.

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Herbs & Compost

What are herbs? How do we use them? Students enjoyed the garden with their sense of smell, touch and vision while looking for herbs to match the one on their paper. After their lesson on herbs and their use for cooking, medicine, beauty supplies and much more; students wrote the name of the five herbs…

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Harvest hunt at Atwater Ave

This week at Atwater Ave, the students got a chance to show off their gardening chops with a garden scavenger hunt! The students were challenged to use their senses and observational skills to find different things in the garden. Many of these were from different lessons we’d had together- root types, learning about seedlings, and…

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