Field reports from

Lassen Elementary

The edible garden at Lassen Elementary School was completed in Spring 2016 in partnership with Nestle. It features six raised beds and picnic tables.

Lassen Elementary

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Corn to Tortillas at Lassen Elementary

It was my final day in the Lassen Elementary Garden this morning. In our last class we made hand made tortillas! The corn in the garden is flowering and it was a great chance to connect food we eat everyday to the plants that produce it. I brought in corn flour and a cast iron…

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Garden Decomposers Abound! at Lassen St. Elementary

We had a multitude of special guests at Lassen St. Elementary school this morning. Andrea was with me to offer a helping hand- which was definitely needed because I brought a chicken AND a pair of ducklings into the garden!  Animals fit nicely into the garden or farm ecosystem.  Beyond the wonderful eggs, meat and…

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Native Flowers at Lassen St. Elementary

This morning at Lassen I was welcomed to campus with a Volunteer Appreciation breakfast! Even though I’m not a volunteer I was included in the celebration and I was very grateful! It’s truly a pleasure to be in the garden with the kids. I had to dash out of the festivities early to teach class….

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Herby Days and Lassen Elementary

Last week at Lassen we created herbal infused water in the garden using mint, lemon, sage, rosemary and cucumbers.  This week in the garden we made herb bunches and the students were able to take the herbs home! We bundled lavender, rosemary and mint and learned about each one’s special beneficial properties. Mint has a…

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Garden Tea Party – Lassen Elementary

Tea Party Time!   My students and I had a good time infusing water with a variety of plants to make fresh garden teas- or flavored water, whichever you prefer.  We mixed lemon, mint, beets, sage, lavender and rosemary to make some tasty, beautiful and nutritious refreshments. The kids had fun working in teams to…

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Worms at Work

Worms! Worms! Worms! That was the theme of the garden at Lassen St. Elementary this morning.  I had a new rotation of students in the garden ready to soak in all the garden goodness. After a detailed tour of the garden, including a smelling scavenger hunt, we sat down with a worm bin to dissect…

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Dirty Hands and Spring Seedlings

Today was the last day of garden class for my 3 classes.  We celebrated by opening our flower presses! They were magnificent. We glued the dried flowers onto card stock. My Pre-K students drew pictures of the garden to match the flowers and the 1st graders are going to use them as a Mother’s Day…

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Native Flower Power

Today at Lassen St. Elementary we got our hands muddy…  REAL muddy.   So muddy, in fact, that some of the kids asked, “Are you sure we are allowed to get this dirty?” The lesson today was seed bombs!  It involves mixing sand, clay and water to create little mud balls.  We filled these mud…

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Spring Flowers and Compost Powers!

According to my itchy eyes and runny nose, spring is blooming all around us!  Sometimes these magnificent blooms go unnoticed because they are isolated on a plant.  However, when gathered into one place they can be quite impressive! All the flowers around me tempted me into picking bouquets with the kids.  My special needs class…

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Daily dose of Leafy Greens at Lassen St. Elementary

There is SO much to know about gardening!  Every where you turn there is lesson to be had in nutrition, soil science, climate, water cycles, pest control, art, biology and beyond!   I often have trouble synthesizing all the information I want to impart on these young minds in just 6 short weeks.  But, alas,…

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Just Chicken’ the Garden Out

My students today had an opportunity to meet my hen ‘Red’ today.  Live animals are a great way to explain to young ones how we communicate with non-human living creatures. Red doesn’t understand our words, but she does understand our body language and the tones of our voice.  Before I unveiled the cage I carefully…

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Parts of an Insect

Today at Lassen St. Elementary School I explored an insects role in the garden.  We started the lesson by breaking down the insect into 7 parts. [Head, Thorax, Abdomen, Eyes, Antennae, Wings and Six Legs].  We sang an insect song to the tune of Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes– which significantly helped solidify the list…

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Sensory Garden Tour At Lassen Elementary

A new class rotation means new adventures in the garden!  Today I took my 3 new classes on a tour to stimulate their senses.  We practiced our two-finger-touch as we wandered through the garden, touching, smelling and tasting the plants!  There were plenty of lettuce and pea vines to snack on. We also planted some…

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Six Legged Friends and Foes

Today at Lassen St. Elementary School we discussed insects!   Most the kids reacted with a mixture or revulsion and excitement at the same time.  We drew pictures of the 7 insect parts; head, thorax, abdomen, eyes, antennas, wings and six legs.  We even had a song and dance to go along with it!  …

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Plant Aroma Therapy

The winter veggies at Lassen St. Elementary have mostly bolted at gone to seed, so there wasn’t much in the way of garden snack. However, what was thriving was our lavender plants!  These perennial herbs have set their roots in deep to survive year after year and are now blooming into magnificent, fragrant purple flowers….

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Attack of the Plant Clones at Lassen St. Elementary

It was a gorgeous sunny morning at Lassen St. Elementary School today.  The kids were more than ready to come play in the garden.  Today’s topic was two fold, plant clones and composting.   With spring around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about clearing winter crops and making room for warm season plants….

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Muddy Little Hands

As I bring my “seed bomb” lesson to various classes and schools I am constantly surprised by how many students are totally grossed out by the idea of getting there hands dirty.   In our hyper-sanitary, urban world it seems we have tampered out our youngest generations desire to explore the world with their hands. Today…

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Chickens!

I brought one of my chickens to school with me today!  And boy were the kids stoked. Chickens have a very special place in a garden ecosystem.   They are great for pest management as they instinctively scratch through the ground and eat all the bugs.  They also fertilize the soil with their wonderfully nutritious…

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Rainy Day Seed Saving

If you were a farmer and you were down to your last bag of corn seed, what would you do with it?  Basically, you have two options. 1- Turn it into food  (tortillas, corn bread, soup, etc.) and eat it 2- Save it until spring, then plant it! If you were a smart farmer, you would…

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Storm Drains and Aquifer Pains

The recent rains have my head spinning with ideas of water in Los Angles.  Our city has been largely paved over, to make room for buildings streets, sidewalks, parking lots, etc.  As a result, most of the billions of gallons that fall upon us get washed straight to the ocean, without a moment to soak into the…

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Rain Water Talks

I arrived at Lassen Street Elementary school amidst a rainstorm.  The students are generally kept inside during rain, so I brought a bit of the garden to the classroom, as well as brought out the students to observe the rain.   In my second grade class, we discussed rain water when it hits a city…

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New veggie washing station at Lassen St. Elementary

The garden at Lassen St. Elementary  got a serious update today!   Since all the classes were busy with their winter performance, my Co-Ranger Jeff and I made use of the absence of students to do some construction.     We built a new washing station-  Great for cleaning freshly picked produce and hands ready…

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Herb Necklaces

Today was the last day in the garden for 2016!   We celebrated by making our own lavender necklaces, picked straight from the garden! We discussed how our plants provide for us, beyond giving us yummy and nutritious food.   We use many plants for their scents.  We can extract the oils the put them…

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Beautiful, Muddy Chaos at Lassen St. Garden

Students today at Lassen St. Elementary School garden got their hands muddy today!  We made little seed bombs, filled with Native California Wildflower seeds (like poppy and larkspur). At first the students were hesitant to get dirty, but eventually everyone joined the fun!  We mixed clay, sand and water to get the right texture for our…

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Our Seeds are Alive!

The Lassen St. Elementary gardeners got a lesson in seeds today.   We learned that seeds are alive!  Inside a seed is a tiny embryo, waiting for the signal to send out its roots and stems. Because our seeds are living, they need food, water and shelter… just like us!    The “food” of a…

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GGooOOO COMPOST!

Today was a very special day at Lassen St. Elementary School.  We go our FIRST EVER COMPOST BIN!!!! With our compost bin we can harness the power of nature and turn our unwanted organic materials into beautiful rich plant food (compost) for our garden! My first and third graders got a lesson on the basics of…

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Music in the Garden at Lassen St. Elementary

What a fun day indeed at the Lassen St. Elementary School Garden.  I had a new rotation of classes in the garden which means more introductory garden tours!  These are a great time for me, as the garden ranger, to really acknowledge the gradual changes in the garden.  The lavender is blooming, some of the…

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Fall Celebration at Lassen St. Elem.

We celebrated the end of garden class today in the garden at Lassen St. Elementary. In this fall weather, our basil plant is hard at work producing flowers and seeds so it can continue on it’s reproductive cycle.   With our fifth graders I spoke about the relationship between plants and humans.   We have…

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Seed Anatomy

Lassen Elementary gardeners got a scientific snack today!  We explored the anatomy of a seed with three new vocab words: Seed Coat, Endosperm and Embryo.   The seed coat is the hard outer layer which protects the insides from unwanted predators and the elements.   The embryo is the living part of the seed, yes…

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Very Merry Rosemary Times

Our Thursday garden class at Lassen St. Elementary was as productive as it was fun!  The fifth graders were able to plant some fall friendly edibles- kale, broccoli, cabbage, chard and dill.  I laid some burlap over the young plants to protect them from the sun and our critter friends.    Fingers crossed the squirrels…

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There’s a FUNGUS among us

Quiz time. What is growing in our garden that’s neither an animal OR a plant..? —>  A mushroom! Today my fifth graders and I stumbled across some mushrooms in the garden.   It was a great moment to talk about different life forms around us.   Mushrooms belong to the fungus family, decaying material to survive….

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Oh Sunshine, where art thou?

Today was the first day of gardening class at Lassen St. Elementary.  The original 9 garden beds are largely shaded by a magnificent ash tree in the garden, thus shade tolerant shrubs were planted there recently.  Last week, EnrichLA built 2 more beds on the sunny side for veggies.    Today we planted some cool…

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Fixing Irrigation at Lassen

I went to check on Lassen Elementary new side garden that I set up last week. When I went to turn on the irrigation, I noticed that there was a separation in the irrigation piping that needed to be fixed, this had been preventing the garden from being watered. I turned off the water, reattached…

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Bright Futures at Lassen

Lassen elementary school’s garden is in a  very shaded area at the school. This makes it difficult for summer plants like tomatoes and peppers to grow in the garden. To solve this problem we have created a new potted garden area for summer plants.  This garden will allow summer plants  to grow without problems. If…

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Lassen ES – Herbs and Irrigation

Hello Garden Friends, Today I Shelby and I met with the principal and walked the garden. We admired the herbs and said our prayers for the marigolds that never made it. Our tomatoes were fruiting a little but our squash and other summer starts we not doing so well. Together, we hypothesized that the nice…

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THE new gardem at Lassen Elementary has been planted. Thank you Nestlé

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First Garden class at Lassen!

At our first garden class, we learned the importance of being safe in the garden. We talked about what is growing in the garden, planted some seeds, and had guacamole with cucumber slices! The kinder students were so excited, but still so respectful and calm in the garden. We even had a few pollinating visitors-on…

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