Field Reports

from

Los Feliz Elementary School

The edible garden at Los Feliz Elementary School was completed in Winter 2014. The raised wooden beds rest on concrete on campus.

Yummy root veggies

Yummy root veggies

Today was the first day of a new 6 week session! The students are very excited to be in the garden. Some of them have been here before; others, it is their first time! We discussed the rules, 6 edible parts of a plant, and composting. Then we went to the garden to snack on…

Cooking techniques and hummingbirds

Cooking techniques and hummingbirds

Today we learned about different cooking techniques. Some of the main ways to cook food are boiling, frying, grilling, and roasting. We can also ferment foods, using microbes to increase the nutritional value. The snack today was sauteed spicy purple mustard with garlic. We saw a beautiful, shiny hummingbird drinking nectar out of the lavender!

Nasturtium cups, seeds, and nutrition

Nasturtium cups, seeds, and nutrition

Today we revisited the concept of seed dispersal. Seeds disperse via wind, water, and animal transmission. We also talked about nutrition and how gardening helps us stay healthy! For a snack we had fresh water in nasturtium leaf cups…then we ate the cups!

Seeds and pollination

Seeds and pollination

Today we learned about seeds and pollination. Plants spread their seeds in a variety of ways, including wind, water, and animals! Plants also use these methods to spread pollen. We purposefully plant pollinator attractors in the garden. Broccoli and asparagus are great insect attracting plants. Also pictured is a purple cabbage seedling surrounded by romaine…

Seasons and edible parts of a plant

Seasons and edible parts of a plant

There are 2 main growing seasons in LA, hot and cool or summer and winter. In hot weather, we grow a lot of fruiting plants like tomatos and squash. On the winter, we grow a lot of leaf and root vegetables like lettuce and radishes. Pictured are collards, onions, fava beans, and swiss chard.

Compost, soil, and a big moth

Compost, soil, and a big moth

Today we learned about compost and soil. We took trimmings from the garden plants and put them in the tumbler. Then we had snacks and planted seeds! These fava beans are rocketing out of the ground. We trimmed this mint back and it has returned vigorously! We saw this giant moth in the lavender. It…

Rainy day excitement

Rainy day excitement

The garden is beautiful in the rain. Today was the first day of a new round of students. We covered garden rules and basic concepts. The first rule is to respect every living thing in the garden, including each other! Every student got to plant a beet, and we sampled spicy purple mustard, chard, romaine,…

Pollination and planting

Pollination and planting

Today we learned about pollination, which allows plants to reproduce Plants can pollinate with the wind or by living things. Common garden pollinators are bees and butterflies. This giant kohlrabi was part of our snack today! A student plants a seedling. Mystery insect. Could be a pollinator so we let it be!

Seed studies

Today we learned about seeds, how they grow, and how we can select traits over generations via open pollination and hybridizing. These peas can be eaten or planted. Peas were instrumental in the discovery of genetics. This is a “green burrito” made by a student. Brussels sprouts are a member of the brassica family, which…

Paper pots and compost

Paper pots and compost

Today we talked about the difference between organic compost and chemical fertilizers. We concluded that organic compost is healthier. We made paper pots for our seedlings because they are biodegradable. We all got to decorate our pots! We saw bees eating broccoli flower nectar and then we snacked on spicy mustard and salty swiss chards.

Winter garden booming

Winter garden booming

On the first day back from break we were greeted with a beautiful rainy day. We spent time inside writing garden haikus and then braved the rain to inspect the garden and have snacks. This kohlrabi is huge! Note the quarter for size comparison. The broccoli is flowering and the hummingbirds love it. This purple…

Different ways to propogate plants

Different ways to propogate plants

Today we learned about different kinds of plant propogation. Peas grow from seeds. In fact, the peas ARE the seeds! You can eat them or plant them! Tree collarda are grown from cuttings. This one has taken root. Yay! Mint is easily grown by root division.

Shed your skin young grasshopper – Fleming Middle

Shed your skin young grasshopper – Fleming Middle

Don’t bug out!!! This week at Fleming we are learning about beneficials and pests. Inside the classroom we made sure we understood the difference and talked about species but outside the classroom and into the garden is where the FUN begins! We spent time going on a scavenger hunt searching for insects!  What’d we find??…

Why grow food?

Why grow food?

Today a student asked why would we grow food when we can just buy it at the store? There are many reasons! Freshness, quality, variety, community, and money saving are just a few. Here is a salad mix that we ate today. Several of these leaves, including the purple mustard, are not available in stores.…

Healthy habits

Healthy habits

Today we discussed healthy habits. Eating fresh food is a healthy habit so we sampled delicious veggies out of the garden! We tried this fantastic kohlrabi today and the kids loved it. Kohlrabi is a brassica, related to cabbage and broccoli. The whole plant is edible, leaves and stems included, but it is grown for…

pH lessons and fall veggies!

pH lessons and fall veggies!

Today we learned about the pH scale and acids and bases. Most plants like a neutral soil. We explored the garden and got to see all the beautiful fall veggies! This broccoli is weathering the latest heat wave. This bed contains swiss chard, giant purple mustard, romaine, and kohlrabi which love the cool, short days…

STEMM in the garden

STEMM in the garden

Today we learned about STEMM in the garden. Biology is the study of life. Here is a tiny garden caterpillar. Beautiful kohlrabi shines in the light. This insect was eating nectar from the marigolds. Ranger Matt

Edible parts of a plant

Edible parts of a plant

Today we learned about all the different edible parts of garden plants. We also learned that we grow non edible flowers to attract beneficial insects. This is a bed of leafy greens like romaine and chard. These peas will climb up the trellis. Mums are a perennial flower. Ranger Matt

What plants need to grow

What plants need to grow

Today we learned that plants need soil, sun, and water to live. Here are some fall veggies that we just planted. Broccoli and marigolds grow side by side. Artichokes last for many years in the garden.

Great First Day at Los Feliz Elementary!

Great First Day at Los Feliz Elementary!

Today was a great first day of class at Los Feliz Elementary. We reviewed the rules of the garden, important facts about plants, and went on a garden tour. Here are some of the wonderful plants in the garden. Lavender looks and smells nice, and it attracts beneficial pollinators. Strawberries in various stages of blooming…

Brussels Sprouts at Los Feliz Elementary

Brussels Sprouts at Los Feliz Elementary

The raised beds at Los Feliz Elementary got a makeover this week. We trimmed the plants and gave them some organic fertilizer. These brussels sprouts are beautiful plants. Brussels sprouts are related to cabbage, kale, broccoli, and cauliflower. These all grow well in cool weather, so look for them in the garden this fall! Ranger…

Trimming Back at Los Feliz Elementary

Trimming Back at Los Feliz Elementary

The tomatoes at Los Feliz Elementary are like a jungle! They are growing all over the place and out of their bed and into others, today was my first day to trying to take back control over the tomatoes in the garden. To accomplish that, I focused on pruning and trimming back the tomato plants.…

4 Gallons of Produce at Los Feliz Elementary

4 Gallons of Produce at Los Feliz Elementary

The garden is looking fantastic! Everything is growing so well and I spent most of my time harvesting, filling up two, two gallon buckets full of produce. Today’s harvest consisted of tomatoes, cucumbers (some two feet long), green and purple beans, as well as butternut squash. I gave all of the maintenace workers first pick…

Planting seasons – Los Feliz

Planting seasons – Los Feliz

Students at Los Feliz Elementary learned that we have to pay attention to the seasons when we are choosing which crops to grow. We talked about seed germination and how each seeds has its own idea of the right temperature and moisture level is before it decides to wake up and grow into a new…

Decomposers and compost at Los Feliz

Decomposers and compost at Los Feliz

  The kindergarteners learned all about our Roly poly residents of the garden. We learned that they are decomposers and all the parts of their bodies. The older kids started compost buckets using scraps from the garden!

Who ate the brussels sprouts?

Who ate the brussels sprouts?

Students learned about garden friends and garden foes. We talked about some examples of insects that eat plants and the various critters that help us out in our garden. We found tons and tons of foes in the form of voracious cabbage worms on the brussels sprouts. The kids got to see how easily caterpillars…

Bees and Honey at Los Feliz

Bees and Honey at Los Feliz

We learned all about bees at Los Feliz! There are worker bees, drones and a queen. The worker bees are pollinators, buzzing around our gardens and helping to produce seeds. We also learned the difference between pollen, nectar and honey. Then, we made some mint tea with the mint in our garden and tasted it…

Soil at Los Feliz

We learned about the parts of soil: Sand, Silt and Clay. I brought in examples of different types of soil and different sizes of particles for the kids to feel. Learning with our senses is always more memorable!   The empty garden bed isn’t looking so empty these days. The kids got to see the…

Friends and Foes at Los Feliz

In our last class before Spring Break, the kids were having a bit of trouble staying focused with all sorts of excitement on the horizon. Luckily, all the energy they had was perfect for some friends and foes freeze tag! We talked about helpful bugs, and destructive bugs in our garden. The kids learned that…

Planting seeds at Los Feliz!

Planting seeds at Los Feliz!

We’ve been busy at Los Feliz Elementary over the past couple weeks. We have lots of wonderful plants growing in our garden, but we had one empty bed, begging for some new life. The kids helped me plant ALL SORTS of seeds in the bed and we have already started to see some sprouting. Every…

Vibrant colors at Los Feliz

Vibrant colors at Los Feliz

Our last two garden days of the session at Los Feliz were full of vibrant colors! We harvested colorful beets and rainbow chard to make a healthy and hearty snack. We made posters for the garden, and pretended we were garden friends and foes in a game of freeze tag! We also received colorful and…

My first day at Los Feliz Elementary

My first day at Los Feliz Elementary

I took over at Loz Feliz Elementary today and we started a new session of garden classes. I got to work putting in some tomato plants, rearranging the irrigation lines and had the kids fill a bed with seeds. We learned about the 6 parts of the plant, and got to sample some in the…

Alexys visits Los Feliz Elementary!

Alexys visits Los Feliz Elementary!

What a beautiful day to be out in the garden! I visited Los Feliz STEMM- which is tended to by Garden Ranger Sarah Randolph-and was completely delighted. The garden is flourishing! Pollinators were everywhere. I loved to see the students making sure the balls and toys on the playground didn’t disturb the garden- they have…

“Last Supper” at Los Feliz

“Last Supper” at Los Feliz

In our seventh and final session of the year at Los Feliz Elementary, we had a veggie feast and reviewed what we learned throughout garden class. We made vegetable “kebabs” with carrots, tomatoes, radishes, beets, avocado, and cucumber! It is definitely way more fun to stab and stack your vegetables than to eat them off…

Swiss chard wraps at Los Feliz

Swiss chard wraps at Los Feliz

In our sixth session at Los Feliz Elementary, we talked about where our food comes from. Students learned the difference between a garden and a farm; we also talked about distances that our food might travel to get from farm to plate. They learned about local, domestic, and imported foods. Students turned to look at…

Deterring garden foes at Los Feliz

Deterring garden foes at Los Feliz

In our fifth session at Los Feliz Elementary, students learned about garden “friends” and “foes.” We went over various insects and animals that they might see in the garden, like bees, spiders, birds, lady bugs, aphids, caterpillars, squirrels, and butterflies and what these creatures do to help or hurt our plants. We then looked in…

Compost Relay at Los Feliz!

Compost Relay at Los Feliz!

In our fourth session at Los Feliz Elementary, students learned more about compost: what it is, why we add it to the soil, and how we can make it ourselves! We passed around examples of “green” and “brown” compost elements: a jar with banana peels, apple cores, grass clippings, and pea pods, and another with…