Field reports from

Luther Burbank Middle School

EnrichLA improved upon an already existing garden at Luther Burbank Middle School in February 2012. The additions included an outdoor kitchen, compost system, and storage shed.

Seed Saving at Luther Burbank

By Alexandra Carbone / November 9, 2017

The end of summer is nigh and so it’s a good time to save seeds, with many warm weather vegetables completing their life cycle. The 6th graders at Luther Burbank learned a bit about how seeds grow, the fact that flowers make seeds and that seeds grow when exposed to water and can go bad…

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Bird Bath at Luther Burbank MS

By Alexandra Carbone / October 21, 2017

One group at Luther Burbank is focusing on birds this year. One of the first things we noticed when discussing the basic needs of a habitat (and what the word “habitat” means) is food, shelter, and water. The most difficult thing for birds to find in our garden would be water. So, we addressed this…

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The Flowers are Poppin’ at Luther Burbank

By Alexandra Carbone / October 16, 2017

We’ve been starting more seeds from scratch in the classrooms, to varying success but one big success story is these beautiful zinnias. Ms. Cummings’ class started them last year along with some runner beans which are deeper inside the zinnias pictured. They are now a jaw dropping pollinator attractor. We’ve seen hummingbirds, butterflies, and of…

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Luther Burbank Middle School

By team / June 19, 2017
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Hands-on Learning at Luther Burbank

By Alexandra Carbone / May 7, 2017

The warm weather has caused all the plants to say, “Oh, you wanted me to grow FOOD? Okay!!”. So we had a day of hands on learning as we split into three groups to weed, plant, and harvest.  The food coming out of the garden is beautiful!!! The kids particularly enjoyed the carrots and strawberries.…

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Back from Spring Break at Luther Burbank Middle School

By Alexandra Carbone / April 20, 2017

We are back at Luther Burbank … and the garden went CRAZY over spring break. It seems all the weeds grew MUCH faster than the plants we put in the ground before vacation! So we did much maintenance today. In addition, the kids chose plants to focus on to research so that they can create…

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Cook Off! At Luther Burbank MS

By Alexandra Carbone / March 24, 2017

The kids had a blast learning about healthy eating and reading and creating recipes at our last class, inspired by the show Iron Chef.  The kids split up into two teams after reading a kale salad recipe and were sent on a mission to create their own version from the produce in the garden.  The…

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Plant Babies at Luther Burbank

By Alexandra Carbone / March 10, 2017

We’ve been transitioning to Summer crops at Luther Burbank. We pulled out the onions, got a new load of compost to amend the beds with, and put in eggplant and peppers. We’ve also put corn in which has sprouted so we will put in beans and squash next to them soon to make 3 sisters…

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Food Marketing at Luther Burbank Middle School

By Alexandra Carbone / March 2, 2017

We had some healthy eating educational fun at Luther Burbank talking about food marketing and the things companies have to do and say to get people to buy their products, and get their products to people to buy.  It’s an ah-ha moment to stand in a garden with veggies growing and think about all the…

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Factory or Farm? At Luther Burbank Middle School

By Alexandra Carbone / February 3, 2017

We have been doing a healthy eating unit at Luther Burbank. Last time we talked about the food pyramid/balanced plate, the different categories of foods, and what they do for our bodies.  This time we talked about how to tell if a food is processed or not, and the health differences between fresh foods and…

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Botanical Drawings at Luther Burbank Middle Schools

By Alexandra Carbone / January 24, 2017

The middle schoolers really dug into this project at Luther Burbank! They were shown botanical prints and asked to choose a plant in the garden, observe it and sketch it as accurately as possible at its different life stages. They were asked to take into account shape, size, pattern, texture and color. The project emphasizes…

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Salad Day at Luther Burbank

By Alexandra Carbone / December 12, 2016

It was a busy day in the garden. The classes are finishing up their botanical drawings, we amended the garden beds with our homemade compost and planted carrots, and we talked about the ecological concept of the edge.  Edges are fonts of biodiversity. We broke down that word: bio (life) and diversity (difference). The edge…

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Makin’ Compost at Luther Burbank

By Alexandra Carbone / December 6, 2016

Our first round of compost is coming through and the kids helped filter it with our compost tumbler to remove sticks and large clumps. We were able to fill a large wheelbarrow and have more to do next time.  The compost is made of food scraps from nearby restaurant Room Forty , mixed with clippings…

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Botanical sketching at Luther Burbank

By Alexandra Carbone / November 18, 2016

The kids have been hard at work making their own botanical prints from plants of their choosing in the garden. They were shown examples from the 18th and 19th century (above) and we discussed how before the camera was common these very detailed drawings were important for cataloging and sharing plant knowledge.  Many kids were…

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Marmalade Season at Luther Burbank

By Alexandra Carbone / November 6, 2016

Well, we did it! Under some trying al fresco conditions, we managed to convert a tree full of these sour mini oranges into delicious marmalade!  Making marmalade is actually really simple and easy. Here is the recipe we used in case you want to try it at home: Two different classes helped out with…

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Growing at Luther Burbank

By Alexandra Carbone / November 2, 2016

It’s been challenging starting plants that the animals don’t eat at Luther Burbank, but look at these new sprouts! Beets, cilantro, radishes and lettuce have a good foothold in our raised planters. The kids planted a bunch of red Russian kale starts in the ground and we protected them with baskets. Hopefully we’ll have a…

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Autumn Harvest at Luther Burbank Middle School

By Alexandra Carbone / October 22, 2016

We harvested and had a fantastic autumn salad at Luther Burbank with kale, pomegranate, basil, mint, cherry tomatoes, and chives. We dressed it with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and orange juice. It was a very fitting meal for our discussion of the climate in Southern California, which is Mediterranean with rain only in the colder…

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Kicking up the compost a notch at Luther Burbank

By Alexandra Carbone / October 5, 2016

Luther Burbank MS is blessed to have the folks down the street at Room 40 Restaurant.  Head Chef Libry and his cooks bring their food scraps over once a week to be composted, and even helped put together our new compost bins at a workday recently. We mix the food scraps with dried up foliage…

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Planting out Luther Burbank for the Fall

By Alexandra Carbone / September 25, 2016

The seasons are changing and Luther Burbank is in need of some changeover. We planted out a bed that previously had fava beans in it with crookneck squash, weeded away and also put in some lettuce and cauliflower. There’s a decent chance this crazy heat will fry everything we put in, but at least the…

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Lemonade stand on back to school night – Luther Burbank Middle school & Fig House

By Tahereh Sheerazie / September 10, 2016

Our newest collaboration at Luther Burbank, is with Fig House, a bespoke event venue across the street from the school. Talmadge their beverage expert and manager helped organize a lemonade stand for back to school night, using herbs harvested by the sixth graders from the garden and infused in a simple syrup. They were walked…

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Mint and Artichokes at Luther Burbank Middle School!

By team / July 30, 2016

The gardens are getting closer to being perfect for the new school year and we are all excited to start! While gardening at Luther Burbank Middle School we have weeded a lot and groomed the plants LOTS AND LOTS OF MINT! The garden is flourishing with Marigolds, corn, and so much more to come!

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Amending soil

By team / July 16, 2016

Cutting back fava beans and weeding are only a couple of solutions for easy growing. Sheet mulching has proven to be most beneficial to keeping grass out. As we prepare for new growth at Luther Burbank, we are working hard to have a healthy foundation. The corn continues to grow tall, but nothing grows as…

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‘…you watered and sunned it, until i saw a stem leaf and flower’…

By Tahereh Sheerazie / May 28, 2016


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Tasting Pleasure!

By Tahereh Sheerazie / May 28, 2016

A long process but so worth the wait. We planted Sonora wheat, Tibetan purple barley and Rye seeds in Oct – we’re eating bread and soup in May!  Eight months of postponing gratification, learning patience, respecting hard work, knowing soil, recognizing differences, understanding symbiotic relationships, working as a community, and tasting pure pleasure:-) ready for…

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Misty Spring day

By Tahereh Sheerazie / April 9, 2016

Weeds everywhere greeted us on this drizzly Friday after spring break, as did tons of roses, juicy lettuce, and over five feet tall fava beans! Even our month old two foot tall Jujube tree has blosooms. The purple Tibetan barely nearly mature, while the Sonora wheat lush green. We observed how our cover cropped beds…

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Celebrating Spring!

By Tahereh Sheerazie / March 22, 2016

  Ancient cultures particularly native American and Iranian, celebrate the spring equinox with customs that date back to thousands of years. Last week before breaking for spring, we took a small peek at the traditional Iranian ‘Norooz’ with the spread of our own ‘Haft Seen’ (the seven seen’s or the letter S in farsi) a…

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Nitrogen rich fava and grains plus a growing compost pile

By Tahereh Sheerazie / March 13, 2016

As spring exhibits its vigor, so do the children. Adding to and turning compost piles, observing rapid growth and understanding how the earth comes back to life after the winters rest are all exciting times on a Friday morning. The first artichoke buds have bloomed. The year portends an abundant harvest. Meanwhile we’ve planted both…

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First fruit tree of the year – Ziziphus jujuba

By Tahereh Sheerazie / March 4, 2016

Last week we dug through the incredibly rich top soil which the students created by sheet mulching in the fall. Six inches down we hit solid clay. Even so we planted the tough drought tolerant Jujube, donated by Sylmar High school’s garden program. A thorny deciduous small tree or shrub (Ziziphus jujuba) is native to…

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Corn, then and now

By Tahereh Sheerazie / March 4, 2016

Teaching the children the significance and importance of corn in general and black corn in particular, we panted both hybridized golden corn and an heirloom black corn variety. An heirloom variety dating back to the 1860’s from South America Students will followup on today’s planting work with research about corn traditions and growing practices, then…

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Alexys visits Luther Burbank Middle School

By team / March 3, 2016

What a beautiful day to explore the garden at Luther Burbank Middle School! Garden Ranger Tahereh has been quite creative with the seating here, using tree stumps for the students. The barley is growing beautifully, and the fruit trees are in bloom. Seedlings are on their way to be planted here!

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Hello Spring !

By Tahereh Sheerazie / February 26, 2016

The first California poppy has popped its head The Ceanothus has survived all the balls that come flying from the playground The broccoli is loving the sun and mycelium laced oak mulch. Our garden is finally growing! Safe from prying hands, the Sonoran wheat is loving the sun, the garlic shoots are growing again,  the…

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Spring is in the Air

By team / February 13, 2016

Spring is in the air ! Our days now begin with walking the garden and observing change. This week has seen exceptionally rapid growth. Our cover crops are thriving, our cilantro has bolted, and the narcissus have popped their yellow faces bright and smelling like spring! The favas are full of flowers and the Tibetan…

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Weeds we Eat

By team / February 5, 2016

Last week we learned to read our landscape in different ways. Walking the grounds to identify edible weeds. At first it was ‘hmm do i eat that?’ so I led by example and tasted from each edible weed. Everyone followed suite. We harvested mallow, dandelion, plantain, wild lettuce and added thyme, cilantro, sugar snap peas…

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Springs first blooms at Luther Burbank

By team / February 5, 2016

Spring jumped the gun! our cover crops are still growing and our spring blooms are popping. Tiny narcissus bulbs have begun to show their faces even as the lush green fava and grains glow in winter/springs bright rays. We cant wait to smell the sweet smells of the flower and eat the first beans from…

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2015; a journey of explorations at Luther Burbank Middle School Garden

By team / December 20, 2015

At Luther Burbank middle school we began with cardinal directions and why they matter in a garden, the importance of place and knowing the lay of your land, the basic components of soil, what helps improve its health, how to suppress weeds organically, recognizing seeds, bulbs and rhizhomes, bed prepping and sowing winter cover crops,…

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‘Farm to Plate’ workshop at the Huntington Ranch Gardens

By team / November 6, 2015

El Sereno and Luther Burbank middle school’s special needs classes took their first field trip together to the Huntington Botanical Gardens pilot ‘Farm to Table’ workshop series, designed for high school children. We requested an exception for these very special children who learn in more hands on ways than most, and were given the opportunity…

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Cover Crops – Legumes and Grains

By team / November 3, 2015

Our first winter cover crop beds got worked on last week at Luther Burbank Middle School. First order of the day was seeing touching tasting smelling the seeds, why they were necessary for planing for winter, and what purpose and function a cover crop provides. We pulled out weeds, recognizing the nasty ones that got…

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Of Logs and the Joys of free Bamboo Bug Airbnbs.

By team / October 24, 2015

Most kids in my classes haven’t sat on logs – it freaks some out. Some find it hard and ‘icky’ others are intrigued, a few like hopping from one to another, and some keep nipping at the bark. Either way it piques their curiosity and solves our bench-less garden problem. Under wonderful tree shade to…

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Weed Control the east peasy way!

By team / October 19, 2015

At Luther Burbank middle school we began our organic weed control project last Friday, sheet mulching our struggling overrun orchard with tons of discarded cardboard, some from the school cafeteria and some donated by Trader Joe’s So Pasadena Thirty six kids laying out cardboard, soaking it down in place, hauling mulch and spreading a good…

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Theater At Luther Burbank!

By team / September 25, 2015

I got my first batch of 6, 7 and 8th graders to visit the garden today. What better than a mixed grade Theater class! Our ‘play’ (what to do, how to behave in the garden) was the interaction of the children with their ‘audience'(the plants, the animals, and all the inanimate objects) We talked, we…

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Stylish Summer Strawberries at Luther Burbank Middle School!

By team / July 17, 2015

The stylish strawberries, tasty tomatoes and mint plants are all flourishing at Luther Burbank Garden. After some watering, weeding and signage placement, a few cages were set up to help support a few of the younger tomato vines. The squash and carrots are growing robust and the bees are busy pollinating all the wildflowers. Luther Burbank Garden…

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Luther Burbank Middle School Looking Lush and Green!

By team / July 6, 2015

After a massive effort in ridding the garden of weeds, the Luther Burbank garden is thriving and ready for the school year. The weeds were taking up space that could have been used for more fruits and vegetables, so after the weeds were taken out some basil, parsley and cilantro were planted in their place.…

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A Summer Bloom of Flowers, Vegetables, and Fruits at Luther Burbank Middle School Garden

By team / June 26, 2015

Sunflowers, roses, carrots, strawberries, and tomatoes are just a few of the crops that keep the Luther Burbank garden nice and balanced. All crops are growing wonderfully and are right on time for the return of kids to be harvested. ~ Edith, Intern

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The Weed Wackers of Luther Burbank

By team / February 9, 2015

The recent rains have done wonders for our garden, but also for the weeds.  Now that Spring is quickly approaching it’s time to get some new seeds and seedlings into the ground so we had to do some much needed clean-up work at LBMS.  Students were challenged to a Weed Scavenger Hunt where they got…

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Garden Love at Luther Burbank

By team / January 30, 2015

After my first week at Luther Burbank Middle School in Highland Park, I realized how beautiful the garden is and what an amazing space the students and staff have here.   A lot of love has been put into this space and a lot more love is headed its way!  As soon as I started the…

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