Field reports from

Dahlia Heights Elementary School

Dahlia Heights has an existing edible school garden, consisting of raised beds and tables! EnrichLA brought the Garden Ranger Program to this school at the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year.

Autumn Fun at Dahlia Heights

With the weather finally definitely turning from summer to fall, we are working to pull out any remaining heat-loving plants and put in cool-season plants that, fingers crossed, won’t need to fear triple-digit heat. Today we cleared out many summer veggies, including a pumpkin! We talked about monoculture vs polyculture, and next time will plant…

Read More...

Seed Tape at Dahlia Heights

This seed tape project was a fun one to do with one of the special education (autism) rooms at Dahlia Heights. The kids were very engaged when we made the seed tape last week: they got to choose between radish, lettuce, carrot, and beet. Then we talked about why seed tape is useful (you can…

Read More...

Patterns in Nature at Dahlia Heights

As part of our unit on Ecology, which we are focusing on this year, we talked about patterns that recur in nature due to expressions of natural forces. For example, waves occur when water or sand is disturbed by wind. It is a moving/growing pattern than you can also see in vines and hair. We…

Read More...

Planting for Posterity at Dahlia Heights 

The graduating 6th graders were scheduled last in the garden, so we cleared out their class bed and planted some summer vegetables that should give fruit when school returns. We talked a bit about planting for posterity, like how pine nuts take decades to produce nuts and oak trees take decades to get full sized–so…

Read More...

Dahlia Heights Elementary

Read More...

Dahlia Heights

The school year is very busy at Dahlia Heights as all the classes get ready for graduation and end of year ceremonies. The sixth grade is just getting their time in the garden so we are working on their bed, which needs a lot of work! We weeded it today and will plant it out…

Read More...

Bugs and More at Dahlia Heights

We talked more about beneficial insects and creatures today, expanding on the decomposers we learned about last time. Today we talked about our friends bees, hummingbirds, butterflies and ladybugs. We talked about pollinators, and we also talked about how ladybugs eat aphids. We found an example of aphids on the kale so kids could see…

Read More...

Decomposers and other Insects at Dahlia Heights

Today we covered such hard-hitting gardening issues such as active decay cycles and the bugs and other organisms that make that happen. We met the worms and pillbugs then the kids explored the garden looking for other bugs. We also learned that technically all bugs and animals are decomposers because, well, everybody poops and that’s…

Read More...

H-A-R-V-E-S-T at Dahlia Heights Elementary

It’s spring salad time at Dahlia Heights! The third graders were split into teams to scavenger hunt for certain vegetables and herbs such as beet, lettuce, nasturtium, carrot, chives, and kale. Then we went around and learned how to harvest each vegetable. The kindergarteners and special ed classes also were able to participate with harvesting…

Read More...

Nasturtium plant parts at Dahlia Heights

We talked about plant parts today at Dahlia Heights and used a Nasturtium plant for a demonstration.  The kindergarten class learned all the functions of the plant parts and we talked about some fruits and veggies we eat that fall in each plant part category.  They were fascinated by the nasturtium seeds. We also looked…

Read More...

Comparing Compost at Dahlia Heights

Since it rained last week, we had the worm bin visit the classroom with the big kids and talked about vermiculture. This week, we learned about hot composting and did a relay race where the kids built a hot compost pile out of greens, browns, and water. We compared the new hot compost pile of…

Read More...

Spring Salad at Dahlia Heights

Spring is coming and bringing lots of cool weather and rain, which makes for some beautiful lettuces and peas. To that base, we added kale, nasturtium flowers, chives, cilantro, and radishes, and made a crunchy spring salad. While we ate them off our nasturtium leaf plates, we talked about garden ecosystems. We also played garden…

Read More...

Seeds! at Dahlia Heights

It was seed day at Dahlia Heights. The second and fifth graders learned about the parts of the seed, how each seed has a tiny plant in it, and a cotyledon to feed the plant while its breaking out of the ground, before it can photo synthesize. We talked about how archaeologists found a date…

Read More...

Time to Trim the Milkweed at Dahlia Heights

During recess, a few kids helped me cut back the tropical milkweed last week. Milkweed is the plant the monarch caterpillars eat. The tropical variety has red orange and yellow flowers and looks like this: There are also native California varieties that usually have pink flowers, though the plant comes in many different colors.  Recent…

Read More...

Planting and Harvesting at Dahlia Heights

The new year brought a new group of students at Dahlia Heights.  We went over the garden rules and played a fun game about plant parts.  There were tons of lemons to be harvested and the kids had a great time picking them. There were also a few stray figs somewhat ripened after that fall…

Read More...

Last Day of Classes at Dahlia Heights

It was the end of another rotation at Dahlia Heights and the last gardening class before the holiday break, so the day called for an elaborate harvest snack. The kids (K-1 classes) picked, cleaned, and cut chard into pieces. Then we stir fried the greens with some garlic and served it with pasta. The kids…

Read More...

Exploring Seeds at Dahlia Heights

We talked about seeds at Dahlia Heights, focusing on what makes them grow or stay dormant. Kids will watch sprouts grow in their classroom this week, examining how they soak up water then put out roots.  We looked at all the different shapes and sizes and colors of seeds and explored the garden looking for…

Read More...

I Dahlia Heights Composting Relay

Our littler kids, kindergarteners and first graders, learned about how to make compost today with the compost relay. Cries of “Chop! Chop! Chop! Chop!” “Get some Browns! Get some Greens! Get some water!” resounded in the garden.  Cheering for 25 kids really drives the process home! The garden is looking great thanks in no small…

Read More...

Kinder journaling at Dahlia Heights

We had a great talk about composting and decomposers in our kindergarten class on Friday. Its always interesting to see what captures the kids attention and inspiration in their garden journals. They were obviously very inspired by holding the worms and learned a lot about beneficial insects and nematodes in the garden.  The worms in…

Read More...

Dahlia Heights Harvest Festival

We finished up our first round of classes at Dahlia Heights just in time for their harvest festival. Ranger Alex attended to show off the garden, with its beautiful new fence designed and installed by the parents and PTA with help from Tomas and Enrich LA. The sixth grade played drums andd smile bands kicked…

Read More...

Olives and Fun at Dahlia Heights

We had a fantastic time this week learning about friends and foes in the garden: pests that eat our crops, and beneficial predator bugs that eat the pests. The kids played a game of freeze tag to illustrate this concept with roles of the lettuce, aphids and ladybugs. Then, we chomped on persimmons and looked…

Read More...

Dahlia Height Salad Days

The lentil sprouts from last week were ready so in addition to learning about the parts of the plant, we made a big salad with veggies from the garden, like kale, basil, oregano, carrot, Apple, and persimmon. I taught the kids how to make a vinaigrette with mustard, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil. Most kids…

Read More...

Learning about Seeds at Dahlia Heights

A fun day was had by all learning about seeds on garden day at Dahlia Heights.  We learned that seeds can be dormant for up to thousands of years as long as they stay cool and very dry, and that the right temperature and, most importantly, water makes them wake up and grow.  We learned…

Read More...

Jujube madness at Dahlia Heights

The kids enjoyed trying Jujubes at Dahlia Heights on Friday! Few children had tried them before but most liked them and many even had seconds. Jujubes taste a lot like apples, you can eat them green or later when they turn brown or even later when they get gooey and shrivel up like raisins. Hooray…

Read More...

First Day Of Garden Classes At Dahlia Heights!

We had a great first day of classes at Dahlia Heights! Students explored the garden and created garden journals. We also talked about garden etiquette and tasted some fruits that students may not have tried before — Figs and Jujubes, right from the tree. We also planted a flat of cilantro and learned how to…

Read More...

Dahlia Heights Fruit Trees

Yesterday we tended to the whimsical, if overgrown Dahlia Heights elementary school garden. This garden is positively full of fruit trees – apple, fig, persimmon, jujube, olive and more. When we arrived it was difficult to navigate the garden with so many low-hanging, full branches, so we spent the morning pruning trees, harvesting fruit, and…

Read More...