Field Reports

from

Gardner Street Elementary School

This garden was complete in Summer 2013 with the help of Next Step Ministries and Friends of Gardner. It features eleven raised beds and an outdoor kitchen area.

Herb, herb, herb, herbs the word

Herb, herb, herb, herbs the word

With spring well underway and our garden being the magical rainbow that it is-seriously it’s almost hard to look at all at once, so many colors!- we decided to learn more about our favorite flowers, the herbs.   We learned the properties of our herbs, where they come from, and how we can use them…

Square Foot Gardening

Square Foot Gardening

At Gardner, we appreciate the use of math in the garden. We learned to read a seed packet and talked about converting inches to feet. Everyone received one square foot of space in the garden, and decided how to plant their 2 packs of seeds. We finished our math, and went to planting. It won’t…

Rainy Day Poetry

Rainy Day Poetry

On a partly rainy day, we decided to write garden poetry.   We took a short, drizzly trip to the garden to collect inspiration, and went back to our classrooms to write. Students wrote about various garden experiences in the rain, including bugs and weeds. We also drew art relating to our poems. Poetry can…

Mallow. Chickweed. Nutsedge.

Mallow. Chickweed. Nutsedge.

To kick-start spring, we decided that although we love our garden weeds(the rain has brought many types), it was time for them to go. We spent class discussing the difference between native and invasive plants, and then we pulled up weeds. Mallow and chickweed can be beneficial, but not in the wrong spots. We left…

Mini-terrariums!

Mini-terrariums!

I had a great time subbing at Gardner Elementary last week. It is a beautiful school with lovely kids and engaged teachers. This week we learned about insects, habitats and what makes something native. After discussing the difference between native bees and honey bees, the students spent a little time reviewing what different insects eat…

Let us out!

Let us out!

After having class indoors for 2 weeks in a row due to rain, it was time to get out! We talked plant propagation, axillary buds, and nodes inside. Then it was out to the garden to plant our propagated parts and identify buds and nodes! We had oh so many mint leaves for snack, and…

Feeding our Soil

Feeding our Soil

This week at Gardner, the rains cleared a bit for us to have class in the garden! We learned about worms and their castings, and added them to many of our plants. We also planted seeds, pruned back our wild nasturtiums, and ate a delicious snack! We ate fresh broccoli and cauliflower from our garden…

All the “ations”

All the “ations”

Evaporation. Condensation. Precipitation. The water cycle is full of “ations”. We had part of class inside because of the rain, but it was only a tad less fun. We learned our “ations” and had a snack of cauliflower, mandarins, radishes, nasturtium, and cilantro. Students were adventurous- our rule is “you must try everything. You don’t…

Seeding is Believing

Seeding is Believing

I had a blast subbing at Gardener Street Elementary this past week. We started off our day with a quick mini-lesson about the migration of the Monarch Butterfly. We learned how the butterfly uses its’ different appendages to find food on their long journey across North America. We talked about the importance of the Monarchs’…

Photosynthesize me!!!

Photosynthesize me!!!

It is almost impossible to see a leaf’s stomata with your naked eye, but with a magnifying glass you open a world of adventure! We learned all about the magic of photosynthesis, and we used our magnifying glasses to see the fine details of leaves. We also did leaf rubbings in our botany journals.

1:3

1:3

When it comes to composting, you have to be careful with your ratios. 1 green(nitrogen based waste) to every 3 browns(carbon based waste). We began class with our snack-fresh mandarins(our tree is not quite ready yet, but will be when we return from the holiday break). While peeling our snack, we learned about nitrogen based…

Beginning with Botany…

Beginning with Botany…

Every week we write in our journals-with art, notes, or personal entries related to our gardening lesson for the day. We have been discussing the importance of understanding plant origins, and accurately documenting plants in pictures. Students spent time in the garden in silence, taking in details and writing descriptive sentences. It was wonderful to…

Bzzzzz…

Bzzzzz…

Our new rotation learned all about bees-the queen, the drone, and the many kinds of workers. We observed our bee friends, spoke with them, and ate a delicious snack of apples and honey that exists because bees are wonderful!

An important review

An important review

I love to do a quick review of things learned, and build on them! The students at Gardner are not new to the garden(except kinder of course) and most are well versed in the basics. We learned the parts of the plant this week, and discussed the importance of different parts. For example: tomato leaves…

New cycle begins!

New cycle begins!

This week we had our first of class of our 8 week session at Gardner. Though I planned a lesson, the garden was calling us in another direction. We reviewed rules and behavior conduct when interacting with our natural environment, and we were off. Students had MANY questions: what is that, why is it this…

Anatomy of a Flower

Anatomy of a Flower

This week we learned the different parts of the flower(focusing on the pistil and stamen), ate flowers(marigolds), and tasted oils infused with herbs and flowers of herbs(rosemary, sage, and thai basil). Students were so excited to explore the garden and name the parts of the flowers they knew beyond the parts of a plant.

Moths and Butterflies at Gardner St.

Moths and Butterflies at Gardner St.

Moths and Butterflies…similar but very different. We learned their differences, and learned about many different kinds of butterflies and moths. We also had an unfortunate situation-there was a dead swallowtail in the garden upon arrival. We used it for observation and learning, and later we composted it and said kind words.

Garden Kingdom at Gardner St.

Garden Kingdom at Gardner St.

Today we learned about our Garden Kingdom, and identified prey and predator. We observed our resident praying mantis and a huge grasshopper(not our favorite friend, but our friend nonetheless). Students were brave hen the praying mantis took flight and landed on one student’s head, and the stomach of another! We showed that we knew how…

Amending Soil

Amending Soil

Last week we learned about soil amendment. We talked compost and manure, and that the BEST thing for you soil is composted manure! Mixing organic manures into your compost, and letting the heat kill off bad bacteria and add to the NPK is best for your soil. We added different amendments to our soil and…

Freeze…Close our mouths…walk away slowly

Freeze…Close our mouths…walk away slowly

We reviewed our garden rules before observing the garden for changes. But first we had to address our best friends-the bees! We have A LOT of bees at Gardner, which could explain why we have A LOT of growth here all year! We Freeze, close our mouths, and walk away slowly when we are afraid…

Compost! Come get your Compost!

Compost! Come get your Compost!

We are not strangers to getting our hands dirty at Gardner, and we know a bit about compost. We cut our scraps up, mixed them, tumbled the, watered them, and added our browns. The lesson was short since the work was plenty, and the kids are really getting to be great gardeners here.

Tomatoes touch the trees!

Tomatoes touch the trees!

The tomatoes at Gardner are ready to climb into our crate myrtle tree! We have 8 different kinds of tomatoes growing now and we harvested buckets of heirloom varieties and grape varieties. We worked with wonderful parent volunteers Rebecca and Caroline today, who are both regulars in our garden. We amended soil, planted marigolds and…

Gardner Growing

Gardner Growing

Gardner continues to blossom into the summer. We have 8 kinds of tomatoes, poppies, and a variety of squash coming in.

We can save those?

We can save those?

At Gardner this week, we took out our giant nasturtium plant to make room for other plants in the garden. Of course when we removed it, we collected-no kidding-dozens of seeds from the soil and saved them for future planting. We also harvested sage seeds! Next week we are planting new ornamental, and our garden…

Cleaning up is Fun!

Cleaning up is Fun!

At Gardner, the kids are not shy about loving garden chores! After a brief lesson and delicious snack we harvested ourselves, the students, teachers, and interns alike all got to weeding, pruning, foraging, and composting! It was so wonderful to enjoy our beautiful and cared for garden afterwards, and the students even returned to enjoy…

Poetry at Gardner

Poetry at Gardner

This week, we read a lovely book by Joyce Sidman called “Butterfly Eyes and other secrets of the garden”. We read poetry about nature and things in the garden. The upper grades had quiet time in the garden, listening to birds and bees humm, and observing the spring changes, searching for inspiration. They later wrote…

Young Chefs at Gardener Elementary

Young Chefs at Gardener Elementary

This week students at Gardner elementary learned about all sorts of jobs essential in getting food from the garden to their plates.  We realized that we are already 2 types of workers in the garden: farmers and chefs. For today, our chefs harvested oranges and mint from the garden to make an easy salad dressing…

Fossils at Gardner

Fossils at Gardner

Tuesday at Gardner, we learned about the importance of fossils and how many plants we are able to identify because of fossils.It is important to document the garden, so that future students are able to keep the garden going and know what worked best, as well as what did not work well in the garden.…

Young Chefs at Gardener Elementary

Young Chefs at Gardener Elementary

This week students at Gardner elementary learned about all sorts of jobs essential in getting food from the garden to their plates.  We realized that we are already 2 types of workers in the garden: farmers and chefs. Then our chefs harvested oranges and mint from the garden to make an easy salad dressing from…

Soil testing at Gardner!

Soil testing at Gardner!

Students at Gardner last week learned about the 4 parts of soil, as well as the 4 parts of “loam” They then were able to test the soil themselves.   The garden is growing beautifully. We planted onion seedlings, as well as peppers and summer squash. Next week we will get our pumpkins in the…

“I want to make my OWN snack Ms.Alexys!”

“I want to make my OWN snack Ms.Alexys!”

Students at Gardner-now 3 years into garden classes, are well versed in the origins of food. They have learned to identify many plants, when to harvest, how to harvest, and they Love to make their own snacks. Last week, we discussed the importance of eating a variety of foods for balance, and they made a…

Producers, Consumers, and Decomposers

Producers, Consumers, and Decomposers

At Gardner, we learned all about what producers, consumers, and decomposers do. We hunted for all 3, and had observation time watching our assassin bug friends. Our intern Chelsea found several hiding in the nasturtium! We found some funny looking bugs in our giant broccoli- which is the biggest broccoli any of us have ever…

What Happens Next?

What Happens Next?

At Gardner St.School, we have been learning about seeds and their importance. We have been observing the different parts of our plants, and noticing what makes them grow- starting with the seed. The kids here are brilliant gardeners- they do maintenance every recess and lunch! They really know what they’re doing, and we couldn’t be…

A Seed is Sleepy

A Seed is Sleepy

At Gardner St. School, we are learning all about seeds! We read a wonderful book called “A Seed is Sleepy” and we spent our garden observation time looking at different seeds and making hypothesis’ on what kind of plants would grow from them. We later planted flower seeds and are preparing our spring seeds in…

Gardner Garden can’t stop Growing!

Gardner Garden can’t stop Growing!

The garden at Gardner St. School has quite the magic in its soil. We cannot stop planting and harvesting! Our students have been growing their own seedlings, and doing weekly observations using their 5 senses. We regularly track the plants progress or digressions.

Harvesting before the Break

Harvesting before the Break

At Gardner St. School on Wednesday, we prepared the garden for the 3 week holiday break. We pruned many plants back, checked the irrigation, and harvested anything available to take home and enjoy with our families! We harvested rosemary, basil, sage, lemon balm, romaine, kale, cabbage, spinach, and mandarin oranges. Our garden is snuggled in…

Lettuce Sushi at Gardner!

Lettuce Sushi at Gardner!

With our abundance of red romaine lettuce, the students at Gardner St. Elementary and I have to be creative with the many ways of eating this fun leaf! We made lettuce tacos 1st, and lettuce sushi next. We learned about friends and foes with our second rotation of students, and after our bug hunt, we…

Hunt for a friend..or foe

Hunt for a friend..or foe

At Gardner St. ES this Wednesday, the kindergarten classes made new friends with beneficial insects. After the lesson, the students went for a hunt and identified bugs as garden friends or foes! We also planted seeds: carrots, lettuces, turnips, and radishes. The 5th grade classes wrote garden haiku’s, and finished their weekly observations with descriptive…

After Big Workday, Gardner Street Elementary Garden Looks Fantastic

After Big Workday, Gardner Street Elementary Garden Looks Fantastic

  After a full-tilt workday, this garden is looking amazing. We got a lot of work done today: weeding, pruning, turning the soil, adding fresh soil, and hauling and laying down lots and lots of bark. This garden is ready to yield delicious fruit, veggies again in time and the herbs are already growing like…

Summer Workshop at Gardner Elementary

This Saturday morning wonderful parent and EnrichLA volunteers came out to Gardner Elementary in Hollywood to do a lot of maintenance and upkeep before the school year gets going again! We pulled out some dead plants, did a LOT of composting + trimmed back rosemary, lavender and thai mints. We also added fresh soil and mulch donated…

Keeping Our Gardens Green

Keeping Our Gardens Green

Today we went Gardner Elementary School for our weekly garden check up. So far looking good although some maintenance was needed! We checked up on our plants and made sure they are getting plenty of water- an ESSENTIAL part of garden work! We cut back a completely overgrown basil plant to make way for fresh…

The Gardner Elementary garden offers a shady oasis amidst the summer heat

The Gardner Elementary garden offers a shady oasis amidst the summer heat

Large trees with thick, dark green leaves tower over the garden beds at Gardner Street Elementary, offering students a place to rest in the shade on a hot day. Tomatoes, strawberries, peppers, mint and many other delicious fruits, herbs and vegetables can be found growing in this plentiful garden. Today, we pulled weeds out of the…

Building Models at Gardner with STEM

Building Models at Gardner with STEM

At Gardner, we followed up our blueprint lesson with a lesson on building models. We built a models of different man-made items we found in the garden with clay and popsicle sticks. The students were very creative with their trellis’, garden boxes, and fountains! 

Building Compost with STEM!

Building Compost with STEM!

At Gardner elementary, students learned how to build their own compost bin out of a plastic bottle. We layered soil, mulch, newspaper, food scraps, and watered them. Students could see through the bottle and watch the breakdown process. They were so excited to discover how compost works with their own eyes!

to build, or not to build

to build, or not to build

Students at Gardner are learning the importance of engineering in the garden. After learning about the importance of blueprints and plans before building, they created their own models of something man made in a garden, and we discussed why we needed it and how best to use materials. They were given a ball of clay and…