Field reports from
Thomas Starr King Middle School
The edible garden at Thomas Starr King Middle School was completed in 2009 with the help of the Los Feliz Neighborhood Council, Whole Foods, Council Member Tom LaBonge, and Silver Lake Farms.
We’ve been exploring soil and what’s in it with our four classes at King Middle School. After a long, hot summer where the school’s famous squirrels chewed through much of the irrigation in the raised beds (cute little monsters!), the garden needed rebuilding from the ground up. Thankfully, gardening soil is the perfect place to…
Today we learned all about edible flowers. Today in the garden we saw artichoke, pineapple sage, fennel, and radish. These flowers are loved by humans and insects alike. We are excited to see our spring plants growing bigger!
Today we harvested potatoes at King. Potatoes grow underground and we use straw and leaves to hill them to get better growth. We dug them up, washed them, and cooked them in the microwave. They were delicious and creamy, even without toppings.
Today we learned all about compost and fungi. We measured the temperature of the compost pile and investigated fungi with magnifying glasses. We also made cool signs for our native plants.
We revamped the garden over the weekend and it is looking great. Today we spread compost and hilled potatoes. We also planted lots of new seeds for spring.
Today we welcomed a new friend to the garden community – a cute bunny! Their manure is gold for the garden. The aquaponics setup is booming as well. We went outside and put in some new raised beds and filled them with beautiful plants.
Today we planted lots of lettuce and kale. These plants love the cool, short days of winter. We got some beets into the ground as well. When established in cool weather, these will supply greens throughout the summer.
We are loving the cool weather here at King! We have been planting lots of greens which are nutritious and delicious. We also got potatoes in the ground, another cool weather crop. The aquaponics setup is doing nicely, as well as the pineapple sage cuttings!
Today we learned about chemistry in the garden, specifically in compost. Compost needs a good balance of carbon to nitrogen for it to create a great product. As for the rest of our garden, the apples are blooming and the summer squash and purple tree collards are going strong!
We are installing new beds at King! The kids were excited to help construct, fill the beds with soil, and finally plant seedlings! We planted romaine, cabbage, tatsoi, sweet potatoes, and garlic!
Today we planted sweet potato slips and amended the beds with vermicompost. Sweet potatoes are fun, easy to grow, and have edible greens and roots. Worm compost will help our plants grow! Aquaponics is growing fish and veggies together.
Today at TSK, we learned to take cuttings. This is when you chop and plant the stem, vs starting from seed. We put lots of new signs in the garden today!
Garden classes continue at TS King Middle school and the garden is looking great! Today we planted lots of beets, herbs, peas, flowers and beans. We saw a cool praying mantis too. Of course we planted lemon verbena and purple tree collards – every garden should have them!
We are looking forward to another great year of garden classes at TS King! During our first class, we learned how to plant seeds and the rules of the garden. Love our garden mascot, the praying mantis!
Today we harvested our Zucchino Trampicante squash, Calypso beans, and Chiogga beets. We spread a thick layer of mulch in the paths to keep the geound cool during the summer heat. Looking forward to summer but we will miss our garden!
Today we got our giant check for $1000 for our entry in a juice carton recycling program. We grew fungi on the cartons and then fed them to our worms to make rich compost. We will spend the money on the garden! We also saw lots of praying mantids and some squash is blooming.
Today we harvested our potatoes! We got a big one and a few small ones. We also harvested and ate apples from our garden. We harvested and planted milkweed seeds. We also planted sweet potato starts.
The garden is booming. We have olives and plums ripening on the trees; calypso bean pods are drying on the vine. The flowers look beautiful in the sun. Today we made an outdoor oyster bed-that is, pleurotus ostreatus, or the white oyster mushroom. It will add lots of fertility to the garden soil. We snacked…
Today we had a great day in the garden. We amended the beds with compost and snacked on fresh green beans. We saw lots of beautiful flowers as well. The monarchs and ladybugs are having a good time buzzing around the garden!
It was a very exciting day. We have lots of oyster mushroom (Pleurotus Ostreotus) fruiting from milk cartons and used coffee grounds. We will soon feed this used up substrate to worms to make compost. Our main lesson today was on fungi. We snacked on brassica flowers. The potatoes have grown rapidly, so we hilled…
Today we harvested some scarlet runner beans and ate some madras radish pods. The lesson was on annual vs perennial plant reproduction. The poppies look great and the mushroom substrate is sprouting in the worm bin!
Today we did sheet mulching in the garden using cardboard and leaves. Sheet mulching controls weeds and adds fertility to the soil. We snacked on kale and swiss chard. The poppies are looking beautiful, and we have some scarlet runner beans ripening on the vine.
Today we did so many fun things. We fed our used up mushroom substrate, aka old milk cartons, to the worms. They went crazy for it! We also hilled potatoes with straw and leaves, hopefully we will harvest them next month. For snacks we had spicy mustard flowers and fennel leaves. Every day in the…
Today the lesson was on soil health and compost. We snacked on mint, broccoli flowers, and fennel. We were so lucky to see a lizard, a giant grasshopper, caterpillars, ladybugs, a hummingbird, and we even found an old lizardskin. We planted squash and saw that the apple tree is fruiting.
Today our lesson was on the 3 sisters, which are corn, beans, and squash. They all grow well together in the garden. We also had a preying mantis egg sac hatch during class today! More good news-our carton2gardens project is coming along niceley. The mycelium is vigorously colonizing the bags!
Today I brought in my large basket of plant seeds to show the garden students just how many different seeds exist! It is amazing to see them all. Even in the category tomatoes, I had a dozen varieties… that isn’t even near the amount of tomato varieties that exist. I let the kids pick out…
We entered a contest to reuse milk and juice cartons in the garden. We did turbocomposting, which uses fungi and worms to rapidly accelerate the compost process. First we soaked the cartons until they were completely wet. Then we shredded them and put them in a repurposed plastic bag with coffee grounds and oyster mushroom…
Today we continued work on our wonderful log swale. The swale will keep biomass on site, retain water, prevent erosion, and host fauna. We filled it with wildflower seeds so it will sprout and attract pollinators. We also studied how annual vegetables go to seed as once they detect a change in conditions.
Today was a busy day in the garden! We learned about the 6 edible parts of a plant. We worked on the swale, planted potatoes, and drew on the blackboard. We also spotted a few anise swallowtail caterpillars!
We installed a hugelkultur (German for log bed) swale in the garden today! This will serve multiple functions. 1, it will slow down the flow of water down the slight grade, causing it to sink into the soil instead of washing down the storm drain. 2, the branches(from fruit trees trimmed on site) will absorb…
Another wonderful rainy day! Today we learned about compost and soil health. We also got to learn about aphids-tiny bugs that eat our food and are in turn eaten by ladybugs! Lots of new seeds and seedlings in the garden today. We also transplanted some artichokes to a perennial where they will grow year round.
Today we learned about soil and its importance when growing food. It’s more than just dirt! It is full of life and when the soil is healthy the food tastes great! Also, we found anise swallowtail caterpillars and a morel mushroom!! How lucky!
The garden is buzzing with life after the rain. The bees are enjoying radish flowers. The anise swallowtail caterpillars are hatching and munching on fennel. Today we learned about the rules and tools of the garden and explored.
Today was a rainy day! Nonetheless, we were out in the garden. We transplanted some mint into this small raised bed. It is good to keep mint separate because it is a vigorous grower. The rain really brings out the vibrant colors of our plants. Red chard, purple mustard, and green nasturtiums all grow together.
The beds are looking beautiful on this cloudy day. Today we learned about root division. Some plants have big root systems that can be dug up and divided. Mint is one such plant. We dug up mint roots and put them in pots to grow. The purple mustard looks great with the orange marigolds!
We planted lots and lots of seedlings today. The kids love planting them! We planted cabbage, kale, broccoli, salad mix, and 2 kinds of mustard greens. These artichokes are volunteers! Nasturtiums are ready to climb the trellis.
We spent a lot of time observing these Anise Swallowtail caterpillars today. They absolutely love the fennel plants in our garden. Nasturtium leaves are like lilypads! Water beads up and runs off of their surface. We found this earthball mushroom, or Scleroderma Polyrhizum, in the garden. It is not edible, but is a useful garden…
Today we learned about compost and watering! By composting we can have a nutritious and healthy soil. We water with drip irrigation to minimize waste. If the drip system breaks down, we can always water by hand. This swiss chard loves conpost and water! This butterfly loves this milkweed plant!
Today construction began on our new trellis. We used string and sticks. The trellis will support climbing nasturtiums, which we have a lot of in the garden! The perennial bed includes milkweed and artichokes. Perennials grow year after year.
Plants are pollinated by a variety of methods. Milkweed attracts buuterflies to the garden. These purple peppers love the rain! Kohlrabi, marigolds and nasturtiums. Ranger Matt
Today we learned about mulch and soil health. Here we see romaine and nasturtium growing together. Artichokes grow year round. Scarlet runner beans are coming up. We harvested these seeds from last years garden. Ranger Matt
Today we planted some perennial herbs and fall plants. Perennial herbs grow year round. Artichoke is a perennial vegetable. Chard loves cool weather! Ranger Matt
Nasturtiums peeking up in the cool weather! Scarlet runner beans popping up! Bees are still buzzing around the fennel. Ranger Matt
Today we spread straw mulch on the garden. Mulch preserves moisture and keeps weeds down. Cuban oregano looks cool and smells great. Rue is bitter and adds body to soups and stews. Ranger Matt
Today the students learned about composting and water conservation methods. Here is the garden in the morning. Friendly praying mantis. Amaranth has edible leaves and seeds.