Field Reports

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Melrose Elementary School

The edible garden at Melrose Elementary School was completed in Spring 2014. There are seven raised beds, an outdoor sink, and picnic tables

New Starts and Happy Harvest

New Starts and Happy Harvest

With the changing of the seasons comes the time for new starts in the garden. Students at Melrose Avenue Elementary started seeds during the rainy days and finally had an opportunity to get those sprouted seeds in the ground. We also learned the importance of keeping our garden plants well fed so spent class time…

Sanding vs Staining

Sanding vs Staining

Hello Garden Friends, Today took me to Melrose Elementary in Hollywood, where I sanded down the outdoor kitchen area and welcome gate. I often get asked by parents/volunteers, “why don’t we stain our raised beds or tables?” Here is the answer: Firstly, redwood is already a termite and rot resistant wood and while the aesthetic…

Rain Day Snacks and new Seeds Sproutin

Rain Day Snacks and new Seeds Sproutin

Students at Melrose Avenue Elementary took our rain day as an opportunity to try out new snacks (seaweed stuffed with garden fresh veggies!). We also got the opportunity to starts seeds in order in prepare for our return to the garden after the rains. One thing we learned with our new seed sprouts is how…

Seeds! Seeds! Seeds!

Seeds! Seeds! Seeds!

Using a wide variety of seeds from which to learn, students have been focused on mapping the spectrum of possibility with seeds – size, shape, color and texture. Built into these lessons, students have also used research to determine when, where and how to plant each seed for maximum success. After the lovely rains, students…

New Beginnings

New Beginnings

New classes are beginning in the garden at Melrose Elementary. The miraculous work of the outgoing First and Fifth grades offers the incoming classes a look at a vibrant garden mid-cycle. New students are able to experience the garden in full bloom along with some new plants such as the updated basil bed. Outgoing Fifth…

Parts of a Seed and STEM in Action Part Three

Parts of a Seed and STEM in Action Part Three

Three weeks after putting our STEM lessons to action, Melrose Avenue Elementary 5th grade garden students have succeeded in creating a container in which to propagate seeds. During this week’s class, students presented their containers to eachother and discussed design elements, including what they would keep next time and what they would design differently. 1st…

STEM in Action Part Two

STEM in Action Part Two

Fifth graders at Melrose Avenue Elementary have been learning about the garden through the use of a STEM curriculum. During our last class, students used what they’ve learned via STEM in the garden to design and build a garden container. Success of the container meant once finished it could hold soil, a seed and water.…

Putting STEM to Garden Practice

Putting STEM to Garden Practice

Over the past several weeks, 5th graders at Melrose Elementary have been exploring how STEM relates to the garden. This week we put those lessons to the test by starting a process to design and build a garden container. The test for success will come in two weeks when we load the finished containers with…

Sprout Search and Snack Time

Sprout Search and Snack Time

Jam packed day at Melrose Elementary! We started off the day by searching for sprouts from last week’s planting of seeds. And sprouts did we find! Lucky for us and our lesson on germination, we were able to see sprouts in several different stages of growth – from just popping through the soil to ones…

STEM in the Garden at Melrose

STEM in the Garden at Melrose

For our garden lessons at Melrose, we have been using a STEM curriculum to further incorporate the garden reality into everyday practical use. Students have discovered through investigation and observation how Science, Technology, Engineering and Math is related to our garden. Today, students used these concepts to design a blueprint for the ideal garden. Such…

Back in the Garden at Melrose

Back in the Garden at Melrose

After a long summer out of the garden, Melrose students got back in to observe (using sight, smell, and touch) what has been going on since their last visit so many months ago. Some observations included: the difference between similar looking but very different smelling basil, lemon verbena (which they identified themselves!) and mint, the…

Abundance on Melrose!

Abundance on Melrose!

We can’t wait for Melrose Elementary students to return so we can get back to having fun in this lush garden.

Melrose is Flourishing

Melrose edible garden is looking great! A shade has been added to the sitting area in the garden, and all the trimmings for the compost pile have been moved out of the garden. Everything is looking fantastic for school to start. Today I did a lot of pruning, cut back everything that was growing out…

Flower Power at Melrose

Flower Power at Melrose

The sunflower plants are amazing here at Melrose, they are huge and producing so many flowers every week. Today I worked on pruning the two huge sunflower plants. I think I cut off a hundred flowers. The vine plants are not doing well and I worked on helping those and trying to figure out the…

Basil for Days at Melrose

Basil for Days at Melrose

Last week I pruned a few of the basil, but focused on getting a lot of little things done, instead of focusing on one major thing. I was wrong. The basil came back in full force. Today I spent most of my time pruning back all of the basil plants in the garden, really pruning…

Crazy Basil at Melrose 

Crazy Basil at Melrose 

I eat my lunch in the beautiful Melrose Elementary garden. The plant manager was very friendly and very helpful to what I need to do maintain the garden for the summer. The basil in the garden is out of control. It needs a lot of help with pruning.I could spend days pruning the basil, but…

Mint Madness at Melrose

Mint Madness at Melrose

Stopped by Melrose for a check in and there’s sooooooooo much mint! And basil and strawberries and peppers Just the start of these peppers, this garden is about to get really spicy really soon! Peace and farm magic, S.K. (intern)

A Great Year at Melrose Elementary!

A Great Year at Melrose Elementary!

We did and learned so much this year in our school garden at Melrose Elementary, I thought a recap would be fun! We learned where cacao ( above) comes from and how chocolate is made, we also learned how to grow pineapple, chayote squash, and bananas to name a few. We learned about how everything…

Closing the Loop at Melrose Elementary

Closing the Loop at Melrose Elementary

Here at Melrose Elementary, we are concerned with the health of our environment, we have been recycling our green waste and making compost. Compost is the best way to replenish your soil, it is like vitamins for your plants. Now our Scholars have all put stuff into the compost, now look what comes out the…

Planting Seeds of Change at Melrose Elementary

Planting Seeds of Change at Melrose Elementary

Since the season is turning to summer, we need to plant a good summer fruit. We pick  watermelon.   We plant the whole package, just so we can all participate. We add water… We will also get some lunchtime garden helpers to put some of our newly harvested compost to replenish the soil. ~Garden Jenn

Melrose Elementary Garden

Melrose Elementary Garden

            We put the gloves on today…   We took out some winter kale and chard. We cleaned our garden beds and  planted these lovely heirloom filet bush beans in yellow, purple, and green. We are an art magnet after all! Here we are planting and setting up a trellis.…

Organic Pest Control at Melrose

Organic Pest Control at Melrose

No need to harm the environment with pesticides, fertilizers, and un-natural pollutants that end up in our food web somewhere. We talked about spraying insecticide on bugs, and how that poison may end up in the beak of a bird, how sad. We talked about how intertwined nature is. We had a large hatch of…

Guacamole Challenge at Melrose Elementary

Guacamole Challenge at Melrose Elementary

Today we had one of our garden classes face off in hopes of coming up with some good guacamole recipes. We had three teams at three tables, all stocked with the same items. The head appointed chef got the final say on what went in. Everyone works so well together. So the big challenge was…

How Often Should You Water Your Plants? MelroseElementary

How Often Should You Water Your Plants? MelroseElementary

How often should you water your plant I asked…twice a day, every day, every other day… these were some of the options that got offered up. The real answer is a bit more complicated but for our purposes the answer is; it depends on the plant. A cactus that originated in the desert does not…

Grafting Trees at Melrose Elementary School

Grafting Trees at Melrose Elementary School

Here at Melrose Elementary, we have learned how to propagate, germinate, duplicate with potatoes… I think one last chapter on the power of life. Grafting  We graft a citrus, and a stone fruit, here is the stone fruit…saw off branch. Cut a slit in it offset to the center. We do not want to disrupt…

Herbs, Tea, and Strawberry Patch at Melrose Elementary

Herbs, Tea, and Strawberry Patch at Melrose Elementary

      Today we talked about herb uses and labeled them in our garden. We then collected for two projects. One group collected items to dry for tea, Our tea will be hibiscus, tangerine rind, mint, and lavender tea. The other group collected herbs to dry for a salad dressing, most used a combination…

Strawberry Fields Forever at Melrose Elementary

Strawberry Fields Forever at Melrose Elementary

We decided to expand our strawberry production here at Melrose. First we harvested some shoots from our existing strawberry bed. Then we added compost to last year’s tomato bed that we cleaned out a few weeks ago. We made 2 hills.   We then cover our hills, cut slits, and plant our berries.   We’ll plant…

Gardening At Melrose Elementary

Gardening At Melrose Elementary

Today we got our hands dirty at Melrose, theis is our second year of garden classes and the kids know what to do! We find our monstro tomato plant is ready to be replaced for the upcoming summer , so we need to take it out. We need to get rid of dead leaves, and…

Tea Time at Melrose: We Made It Ourselves

Tea Time at Melrose: We Made It Ourselves

A few weeks ago we picked mint, roses and a tangerine to dry out for tea. We shaved some peel off tangerines, and put it with the mint and rose petals to dry in the classroom. Here is what it looked like. Now it’s time to add hot water and honey, and steep. This is…

Melrose Elementary Fresh Ingredients

Melrose Elementary Fresh Ingredients

So many vegetables, so little time! We have an abundance of veggies growing so we had better get eating. With broccoli and lettuce we make a salad. We also need to learn about the herbs we grow, so we label them on a paper and then go on a hunt to locate them in the…

Extracting Seeds From Plants To Grow More

Friday our kinder class extracted seeds from sunflowers and basil flowers to populate the kinder yard garden. Thank you Melrose Elementary for the dead headed flowers! We put out some paper so we could see the tiny seeds and differentiate them from the other parts. We then dug in the dirt ( our favorite )…

Nature Boards at Melrose Elementary

Nature Boards at Melrose Elementary

If there were only one organism living in the ocean, let’s say great white sharks, what would happen? We had two outcomes: they would die of starvation then die off, or eat each other then die off! Good job Melrose Scholars, This is why nature is important: we need our complex web of life to…

Using Herbs at Melrose Elementary

Using Herbs at Melrose Elementary

Herbs and spices are at the heart of culinary art, today we are trying some of our garden herbs in salad dressing. Salad dressings can be healthy and simple; we will learn to make our own. We lay out some herbs, label them, smell them, then we go try to find them in the garden.…

Tea Party at Melrose Elementary

Tea Party at Melrose Elementary

Tea does not come from the store, or the corner coffee house, it comes from plant leaves.Camellia sinensis is the plant that tea leaves come from, however, herbal tea can be made from our favorite plants like mint, rose, and lavender. We decided on mint, so we harvested our mint. We washed it, and put…

Melrose Engineers Way Around Grub Problem

Melrose Engineers Way Around Grub Problem

Trying to grow new seedlings in grub infested garden beds is a challenge, Melrose Elementary STEAM is loaded with engineering scholars…so Melrose Scholars decide on a method around the little root eaters. First we pull out as many grubs as we can, which is about 100 of them. Now we take the un-grubed soil and…

Creative Gardening a Melrose

Creative Gardening a Melrose

So I always tell people anyone can have a garden. We have an extra hay bale from a project last year, so I say: let’s plant it! We pull out some holes and fill them with dirt. Then we went through this beautiful donation from Renee’s Garden Seeds and pick a nice winter crop. Then…

Learning About Garden Insects at Melrose Elementary

Learning About Garden Insects at Melrose Elementary

So at Melrose Elementary we set off to explore our garden, and figure out what is eating our bell pepper plants, and the general role of insects in a vegetable garden. We saw some obvious culprits, and some grubs that probably ate some seedlings before they had a chance to sprout. We found this grasshopper,…

Melrose Elementary Kindergarden Scholars Try Peppers

Melrose Elementary Kindergarden Scholars Try Peppers

Today we finished planting the Kinder yard beds. Some scholars chose peas, some swiss chard, and a few picked lettuce. we planted around the sunflowers and carrots that have already come up from the past week. One of our first picks was half green; half red. We found about 6 different varieties in the garden,…

Planting Chayote Squash at Melrose Elementary

Planting Chayote Squash at Melrose Elementary

I found a few organic chayote squash in the market, so thought we should grow our own. I purchased two, one for each fifth grade class and enlisted a caretaker for each one. The two kids put it in a damp ziplock bag and put it in the classroom for 3 weeks, until we had…

Melrose Ave is in Full Bloom!

Melrose Ave is in Full Bloom!

This week on my visit to Melrose Ave. Elementary I was excited to discover so many veggies that were ready to harvest. Ripe tomatoes were climbing up the chain linked fence, and the smell of basil and mint permeated throughout the garden. This is a beautiful garden that is full of so many different plants!…

Quite the Bounty at Melrose Ave!

Quite the Bounty at Melrose Ave!

Yesterday was my first visit to the Garden at Melrose Elementary School.  I would have to say that this has been my favorite garden so far.  The variety and quantity of vegetables was amazing, and every plant seems to be taking advantage of the summer sun.  Nasturtiums were overflowing from the planting beds, and some…

Last day of garden lessons at Melrose Elementary!

Last day of garden lessons at Melrose Elementary!

Kudos to Garden Ranger Jen for overlooking an amazing garden at Melrose Elementary! Today was the last day of garden lessons and it was full of excited kids and a lot of cooking! Garden Jen, as the kids refer to her, started off the class by showing the students the potatoes she harvested from the…

Making Raw Peach Cobbler at Melrose Elementary

Making Raw Peach Cobbler at Melrose Elementary

Our Peach tree gave us several hundred peaches this year: time to get cooking… Everybody harvested a peach, washed and cut. We then blended some other peaches a few dates, (instead of sugar), cinnamon, and vanilla. Poured the sauce on, and sprinkled with oatmeal toasted with cinnamon.    

Making Kale Chips at Melrose Elementary

Making Kale Chips at Melrose Elementary

So our winter garden is growing strong, so what to do with all the veggies? Let’s make kale chips! We each picked a dino kale leaf to make chips out of… Then we cut out the spine and cut into squares…   Then a good wash, squeeze lemon juice, sea salt, and a little garlic…

Planting Potatoes At T.S. King Middle School and Melrose Elementary

Planting Potatoes At T.S. King Middle School and Melrose Elementary

  When these potatoes sprouted roots  we cut them into about eight pieces. We gave the pieces a few days to crust over; this helps them be impervious to disease once in the ground. We removed a lot of soil from the planters so that when the potato begins to show its leaves, we can…