Field reports from

Gardens

LEAFY GREENS

Students at 10th St Elementary are busy taking care of the cool-season garden. The 3rd graders looked for hungry caterpillars, worms, and aphids.  They washed the leafy greens and added fresh healthy soil around the plants in need.    

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Learning about Water Conservation with Fifth and Sixth Graders at El Sereno Elementary

Returning from winter break last week students were excited to get out into the garden and see the changes brought about by nearly 31/2 inches of rain! After exploring the garden a bit and snacking on the cherry tomatoes still thriving there we sat down to talk about water conservation. The students were surprised to…

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All About Cilantro at Aspire Gateway

Yes, cilantro is a common herb that most of the kids know is used in the Latin American cuisine. They definitely knew a sprinkling on a taco, pozole or rice gives food a punch of flavor…yum!  But what they didn’t know is that cilantro in also used heavily in the Philippines, Thailand and India. We…

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A Bountiful Harvest

Atwater Elementary is booming with so many plants that are ready to harvest, so the 3rd graders and 5th graders spent their classes making a delicious salad and having a harvest party! We harvested mustard greens and leafy lettuce, chopped them up and put them in a big bowl. We harvested the broccoli and Chinese…

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Warm and Cool Season Planting

The 5th graders had a lesson about our climate, which is a Mediterranean climate. This means we have mild winters and hot summers. So we really have two planting seasons, a warm and a cool season. So it’s easy for us to grow food all year long. The warm season crops, which we plant in…

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Worms!

The 5th graders were so excited to study worms! We discussed the main jobs of a worm — to make tunnels in the soil, eat rotten food, and make soil. We talked about where worms live, their senses, their anatomy, and their diet. Worms do not have eyes. They are very sensitive to bright light…

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Brand New Garden at Erwin Elementary

Erwin Elementary has a brand new garden! The first rotation of garden classes started with three 5th grade classes. Their very first lesson was learning the parts of a seed. We discussed the seed coat which has the job of protecting the seed. We talked about the food storage that gives the seed the nutrients…

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Seed Saving

The 3rd graders spent their class learning how to collect seeds from plants. We discussed that it is important to save seeds to ensure bio and genetic diversity and long term success of a species. We also talked about how early agricultural civilizations saved seeds to plant crops because they did not have a store…

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Loving Leaves at Valley View

Our last class of 2019 was held on a sunny and brisk day at Valley View Elementary.   First graders spent a lot of time discussing the importance of leaves and how they are the plant’s food source and large reason for growth!  We ended our discussion by selecting leaves from mature plants in the…

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Lettuce Tacos

This week at Selma Ave Elementary, the 1st graders got to harvest some lettuce leaves and make tasty tacos! Since this was the last class of the semester, the students got to enjoy a harvest day to celebrate all they had learned over the past 5 weeks in garden class. Students went into the garden…

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Plants Can Climb

This week at Toluca Lake Elementary we learned about plant adaptations, specifically, plant’s ability to climb. Class started with a discussion on what an adaptation is, and some different examples such as cacti adapting to dry environments, or plants who live in windy places with seeds that fly like helicopters. After our introductory discussion, we…

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Green Energy ~ Woodlawn

For the past four weeks I’ve been blessed to have two Nutrition students from Cal State LA, assist me in my garden lessons here at Woodlawn elementary.  These two were such an asset to the program.  They were excited to dive in and research nutritional aspects as well as help me with garden tasks. Here…

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Radish Hunt~Woodlawn

Radishes are a great seed to plant year round.  Here in Southern California, these little seeds germinate quickly during Spring, Summer and Fall.  They can be tricky to to grow though. Sometimes they only grow leaves and fail to produce a bulbous root.  Mostly this is due to root disturbance during the time when the…

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Winter Harvest~ Ramona

The Ramona Elementary garden is small but it sure can produce a fair amount of produce. Broccoli and collard greens are abundant right now. So are the mint, lemon balm and snap peas. The office and staff got most of the harvest but we used some of the ingredients to make a Winter salad.  We dressed…

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Butterfly Life Cycle at Ramona

Sometimes you have to let the garden do the teaching!  When I saw all the monarch caterpillars in the milkweed, I knew I had to take this opportunity to teach the kids about caterpillars and monarchs . All the kids were gentle and kind to the caterpillars.  I explained that we need to make sure…

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Native American Traditions

This week at Rio Vista Elementary School, the 4th graders learned about the different native herbs that are in the garden. To do so, we learned how to make herb bundles, otherwise known as smudge sticks in Native American traditions. To connect to what the class is currently learning about in social studies, we began…

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It’s In The Roots ~ Aspire Gateway

Root vegetables are fascinating to kids. It’s something about eating something that is harvested by digging in the dirt! I explained to the kids that roots that we eat are a food storage area for the  plant…kind of like our refrigerators store food for us. For our activity, we planted potatoes.  I showed the kids…

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Kale Chips for All! ~ Aspire Gateway

The kids at Aspire have had their share of fresh crisp kale and they love it!  But I wanted to change things up a bit and really take a look at how cooking a vegetable changes texture, flavor, color, and nutrient content.   The kids harvested, washed and prepped the kale for the chips, then…

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42nd Street Students delighted to decorate

Indoors and outdoors, the students at 42nd Street School were delighted to decorate their school with images related to gardening and growing

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Angeles Mesa kindergarteners thrilled about compost

The kindergarten students were excited to learn about how compost feeds other plants, and they were energized to help tear up weeds and other plants to facilitate decomposition.

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Audubon Middle students gentle with seedlings

The middle school students at Audubon were so gentle as they planted seedlings

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Slow down, and the garden comes to life!

This week Castelar students were taken for an observational walk in the garden since it’s been raining most weeks during class. Students used the knowledge they learned over the semester to identify plants and scratch & sniff things that have wonderful aromas. There were insects climbing around, and one in particular was a sure show-stopper!…

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Enrichment at St. Patrick’s School

The last few weeks at St. Patrick’s School we have been utilizing our rich and fueled compost throughout the garden.  The younger and older students have been breaking down what really makes a perfect amendment to our already fertile garden beds.  We also made sure to plant plenty of beneficial plants to our space such as…

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Planting Seeds for the Cooler Season

We have been busy planting seeds and seedlings for the cooler season at Garvanza Elementary. Lots of lettuce, broccoli, kale, cabbage, arugula, beets, and radishes! The students are enjoying beans right off the vine from the garden. So yummy! Look at the huge grasshopper! The older grades worked on a Venn diagram using cool and…

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Pumpkins

The students at Garvanza became pumpkin peddlers for a class. We discussed the life cycle of a pumpkin. We then split into groups and each group got their own pumpkin. We measured the weight, circumference, and height of each pumpkin and estimated the amount of seeds in each pumpkin. Then they got to carve their…

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Five Senses with Herbs

I read a book called “My Five Senses” by Aliki to introduce the Kinders and 1st graders to their five senses. We collected herbs from the garden such as mint, basil, parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. We passed them around and used our five senses to discuss them. At the end of class, we made…

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Counting Pumpkin Seeds

El Sereno Elementary students became pumpkin peddlers during the month of October. We discussed the life cycle of pumpkins. They got into groups and measured the height, weight, and circumference of their pumpkins. They then estimated how many seeds they would find inside their pumpkins. Then the fun part — cutting open the pumpkins and…

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Guavas Galore!

Atwater Elementary is bursting with guavas and the students, teachers and staff are gobbling them up! We had so many great lessons in the garden this month. We talked about the food chain with first graders. We created Venn diagrams using warm and cool season plants with the 2nd graders. We did a fun lesson…

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Worms Worms Worms!

This week we learned all about worms and how important they are to the garden! It was raining inside, and Ranger Sanjay has a worm bin so he brought it in for all the kids to see. There were hundreds of them and we learned about how their “castings” are super healthy for garden plants….

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Fall Spirit at Frank Del Olmo

There’s no fear of Halloween at Frank Del Olmo! With our garlic bulbs ready to harvest, we learned about the myths of Dracula and his fear of garlic as it’s said to “cure” people. We also learned how garlic can be helpful during the winter months in staving off the cold and flu. We got…

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Thankful for New Growth at Bryson!

We may have started with just dirt, but now we’re seeing the fruits (and veggies) of our labor! Despite being in a pretty shady area, these garden beds are doing great. When learning about the different parts of the plant, I brought in sweet potato slips for the kids to see root to stem to…

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Soil Nutrient Test

This week at Toluca Lake Elementary the fourth graders learned about their periodic table of elements and some important soil nutrients. Students first discussed some elements that they already knew about, such as carbon and oxygen, and how these are important building blocks for life in the soil organic matter. Next, students learned about the…

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Mild to Wild

This week at Rio Vista, the kindergarteners explored their sense of taste. The first thing we talked about was the importance of “don’t yuck my yum.” This means that we should recognize that taste is subjective, and everyone has different taste buds. When tasting things in the garden students are taught to not talk badly…

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Winter Planting in the SoCal Climate

Today Pomelo’s 5th Graders learned about LA’s Mediterranean climate and what kinds of vegetables we can grow during the winter months. Everybody got a seed packet to study. We used a Southern California planting chart to determine whether the seeds in our packet should be planted during the warm season (April-September) or the cool season…

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The Cantaloupes are Ready!

Thanks to the foresight and “planting ahead” of the Garden Committee at Pomelo Community Charter, we already have ripe fruit to enjoy during the first few weeks of our new gardening program. This is a great way to way to introduce students to one of the best things about gardening–snacking on the fruits of your…

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Let’s Talk about Dirt

Soil is what makes our garden successful–or not. At Hamlin Charter this week the 3rd Grade reviewed the three textures of soil: clay, silt, and sand and examined their properties more closely. Sand has large, visible particles which don’t stick together. Silt feels soft, not gritty. Clay sticks together and stays that way in a…

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New Garden Program for Pomelo Community Charter

A level-ground garden was built over the summer for our new gardening program at Pomelo Community Charter Elementary School. The beautiful redwood 24″ raised beds and picnic tables in a shaded teaching area provide a fabulous space for learning about the joys and benefits of gardening. The new beds are already producing fruit–cantaloupes–which will be…

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Year 2 Begins at Hamlin

We started the second year of the gardening program at Hamlin Charter with the 3rd Grade and a garden scavenger hunt. The kids consulted and competed to find garden tools such as trowels and wheelbarrows, garden items such as soil, leaves, and roots, and garden friends like bees. Then we learned to use citrus juicers…

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Kindergarteners love the garden at Angeles Mesa

Kindergardeners loves all the hands on exploring and work at Angeles Mesa. They proudly shared their successes in weeding many of the beds. Upon discovering a monarch Caterpillar, the children oohed and ahhed at its unique pattern. Before planting seeds, each youth examined and admired the potential plants they could create. Finally, the youngsters took…

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42nd Street Elementary students help the decomposers

Learning about how bugs help the process of decomposition, the students at 42nd Street School were energized to aid in the process of breaking down weeds and other leaves to help create compost fertilizer.

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Fun in Fall at Audubon Middle School

Students at Audubon Middle School had loads of fun in the Fall..first, they emthusiastically prepped a bed to plant potatoes by bailing half the soil out. They also learned about succulents and made their own flowery centerpiece to take home to their families for the Thanksgiving holiday.

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Rainy Day Lemonade

This week at Selma Ave was wet and rainy, so we brought garden class indoors. The previous week we harvested lemons from the tree, so this week we put them to use and made some lemonade. The lemons, bottled water, and honey were brought into the classroom and students fresh-squeezed right into their own cups….

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Decomposing Matters at Queen Anne

Kids seem to have an innate sense of decomposition, even if they don’t understand how or why it happens.  Show a Kindergartener a flower and a potato chip bag, and they instinctively know which one should be put in the composter.  To get our compost lesson started, the kids collected things in the garden area that…

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Eastman Sweet Potatoes

Cold season is arriving late, but the never-ending sunshine has been beneficial for our pumpkin, watermelon, and sweet potato patches.  With trowels and their busy hands,  students helped dig out sweet potatoes and understood that the leaves are edible and highly nutritious. Thank you to Miss Alvarez’s kinder class for helping harvest and tilt the soil…

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Roly-Poly!

We investigated pill bugs at Atwater Elementary! Pill bugs are not an insect. They are a part of the crustacean family. They’re related to lobsters, crabs, and shrimps. They like to live in sheltered, damp or wet locations in the garden. They eat organic matter and are beneficial decomposers. They roll up into a little…

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