Field reports from

Utah Street School

The garden at Utah Street School was completed in Fall 2013. There are garden boxes with native plants, a huge tree bench, fence, arbor, and bridge walkway.

Kohlrabi, Spinach, and Broccoli- Oh my!

We are now in our second session here at Utah Street School. This unit, I have the 1st and 3rd classes coming to the garden. Almost all of these students were in my classes last year, so we started the unit with a fun reunion and discussion about what they remembered learning in the garden. Many…

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Water, Water Everywhere at Utah Street

Today marks the last day of our young special education classes. Luckily our garden buddies from Mendez High School will keep visiting and helping us out on Fridays. Last week we learned about water in the garden. Almost all plants need water to survive, but some less than others. We looked at our succulent plants…

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It all Starts in the Soil at Utah Street!

The past couple of weeks at Utah Street School we’ve been learning about healthy soil. The nutrients we get from the plants come from our soil. To grow healthy and tasty fruits and vegetables we need nutrient-rich, well-composted soil. We did have cover crops over the summer, but it’s been a few months since we…

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Welcome Back to the Garden Utah Street!

This will be my third year working in the Utah Street Zalin Smith Community Garden, so I was very excited to go back to classes at the beginning of September! On my first day back many kids came by the garden to say hi and to find out when it would be their turn for…

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Utah Street School

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We love our pollinators!

After reviewing what we learned about worm anatomy, we turned to other important pollinators in the garden — bees, butterflies, and dragonflies! I explained how pollination allows plants to make new seeds. Pollination plays a vital role in the plant’s lifecycle. The kids were surprised to hear that many of the foods we enjoy wouldn’t…

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Diary of a Utah Street Worm!

Utah Street students were welcomed back to the garden with worms this week! I started by reading the Diary of a Worm to the kids. This fun and playful book explores some aspects of a worm’s life in a whimsical way. We then focused on the more serious side understanding worms by learning about the…

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A Very Colorful Plate

After discussing nutrients last week in our compost lesson, we shifted to how our body absorbs nutrients. We talked about the different vitamins and minerals that cause fruits and vegetables to be different colors. Purple foods for example have anthocyanin giving them their coloring and benefits for our brain. Orange foods have beat-carotene which the body converts…

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Carbon and Nitrogen Balance Makes a Happy Compost!

This week we transported compost from our rotating compost and vermi-compost into the garden. I started class by teaching the kids about how to balance a compost with carbon-rich and nitrogen-rich matter. We drew greens and browns on a plate to learn some of the things we can use for each category. Compost fills our soil with…

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Parts of our Plants at Utah Street

Each part of a plant plays a vital role in keeping the plant strong, hydrated, and nutrient rich. it is important that we protect all the different parts of our plants in gardening. We took out grubs to protect the roots, spray off the aphids with water to protect our leaves, and use trellises to…

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Seed Starting and Planting at Utah Street

New season, new seedlings! At Utah Street this week we learned about the different ways seeds travel. We talked about how new seeds may find new soil to grow in by gravity, wind, rain/water, animals, or mechanically. The kids learned hand motions for each of these ways and used these to remember all the ways seeds…

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Using Our 5 Senses at Utah Street

The students at Utah Street Elementary started a new rotation! They were very excited to explore the garden, some of them for the very first time. Being the clouds were not dribbling with rain, it was a perfect day for exploring our space. After going over garden rules, the students used their five senses: smell,…

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Friend or Foe?

What animals help and hurt our garden? I started class by having different kids present cards with friends and foes on them. We explored our garden and looked for traces of foes, finding that there were many grubs in our soil. These grubs would eat the roots of our new plants, so I had the…

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A Rainy Rainbow Harvest

We made the most of another rainy day at Utah Street School by making our own rainbows! Rainbow stamped plates along with a rainbow salad. We discussed how foods are different colors because of the nutrients in them. Carrots for example are filled with beta-carotene that the body processes as vitamin A (which is good for your eyes)….

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Greens & Browns

This week at Utah Street we learned about composting. We talked about the two composts we have in the garden, a vermicompost and a turning compost. Our vermicompost is a worm compost filled with red wriggler worms that rapidly breaks down food and paper scraps into fresh compost. Our turning compost takes a little longer,…

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Where does energy come from Utah Street?

Today was another rainy day at Utah Street School. We brought garden class into the classrooms, which turned out to work quite well with the white board! We discussed how the food chain works, transferring energy from the sun out to plants and animals. We made paper food chains and with sample food chains. The…

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Ladybugs, worms & root maggots, oh my!

This week at Utah Street School the rain had subsided and the sun and students were out in the garden! We learned about the different animals that live in our garden and the ways they influence our plants. We call some animals friends of the garden because they eat the bugs that eat our plants and/or…

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A rainy day to learn about seeds

It was pouring rain this week at Utah Street School! We learned all about how seeds travel in the classrooms. Sadly I didn’t get any pictures of our indoor seed lesson, but we did learn a lot as the kids seem more used to focusing inside their classrooms. We discussed the fact that seeds need…

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Sensing the changes in our garden

A new group of students started garden classes at Utah Street this week. To introduce them to the garden, I had them do a worksheet about the different ways we sense what’s around us in the garden. The kids explored the garden and drew pictures of things they saw, touched, heard, and smelled in the…

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What’s going to grow now that it’s getting cooler?

We played Planting Season Memory with our garden buddies at Utah Street school this week. We also looked at some of the cruciferous plants growing in our garden now that it’s cooler out such as broccoli and Brussels sprouts! After class Ms. Green our garden intern/parent representative and I went down Mission street to where…

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Roots, stems, leaves, flowers and fruits at Utah Street!

With the help of our high school garden buddies, our special needs students at Utah Street school learned about the parts of a plant. We went out into the garden and collected some leaves, flowers, and soil to glue to our worksheet to learn how different parts of the plant feel differently. We talked a…

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Friends, foes & garden buddies!

This week at Utah Street we learned about friends or foes. We looked around our garden to find insects that are good and bad for our garden. We distributed good bugs, ladybugs throughout for garden health! We then spent some time exploring different pretty parts of the garden. Our garden buddies from Mendez High School…

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Garden Buddies learn about soil

This week with our high school garden buddies we learned about soil and composting. We talked about how different organisms can break down our food scraps to make new soil and started our own compost using Watermelon rinds and red wriggler worms. We are loving having our High School garden buddies coming to help us…

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Mendez High School joins us for Garden Buddies program at Utah Street!

This week at Utah marked the first week of our Garden Buddies program! We’ve partnered with the high-schoolers who maintain the school garden at Mendez High School to help out our elementary students with special needs. For the next six weeks (and possibly more) we’ll be having the high-schoolers come to our garden to do…

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A very colorful harvest at Utah Street!

This week was our last garden class with the Pre-K and kindergarteners for the semester. The kids harvested purple cabbage, green cabbage, green onions, and carrots for our colorful salad. We talked about the different colored foods that give us a variety of nutrients to have a strong, healthy body. We tossed some apple cider…

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Digging and drawing at Utah Street

At Utah Street this week we also learned about the changing seasons. We talked about the 4 seasons they’ve learned about in school, but how in gardening we only have 2 seasons: the warm season and the cool season. We discussed what the weather is like during the cool season and what the weather is…

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Seeds and Things at Utah Street!

This week at Utah Street we learned about the parts of our plants that we like to eat and how they grow. We planted broccoli and cauliflower seeds and discussed how they would grow roots, a stem, leaves, and a flower that is the part we like to eat. We looked at our new radish…

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What other living things are in our garden at Utah Street?

This week at Utah Street we learned how a bit more about the critters in our garden. We started with a friend or foe card scavenger hunt and presentation of our findings. We then looked at the baby lettuce plants and saw that there were small holes in the leaves from a lettuce worm so we…

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Utah Street learns about soil and composting

This week at Utah Street School we talked about what makes up healthy soil: clay, silt, sand and organic matter! One way to ensure our soil has plenty of organic matter is by making fresh compost in a compost bin or vermicompost. Luckily at Utah Street, we have both! We all took turns looking into…

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Starting pea sprouts at Utah Street!

Check out this beautiful bougainvillea plant blossoming in honor of Zalin Smith, the namesake of Utah Street’s memorial garden. This week our pre-k and kindergarten students learned about soil and planted pea seeds! We discussed the fact that most of us have eaten the seeds of green peas, and therefore the seeds we’re planting look like…

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Welcome back to Utah Street

First week back at Utah Street and we have some things to celebrate. For one we have a brand new drip irrigation system! I’m so excited to see the improved growth for our plants with this efficient watering system. Some of our crops from last year flourished in the sun, while others got a little…

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DoGoodBus+Utah St.

We all had a great time spreading new soil, planting seeds, pruning plants, and making herb bouquets for staff members! The Do Good Bus always brings wonderful volunteers!  

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Happy Mother’s Day from Utah Street School!

  This week at Utah Street we talked about the impact of our trash onto the earth and the value of re-using and recycling products. We started two weeks ago by collecting dying flowers in the garden and pressing them into books. We gathered used paper as well throughout the week to be recycled into garden paper….

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Coleslaw and seed friends with Utah Street Middle Schoolers

              With our middle schools this week we discussed the way seeds get dispersed from the original plant to new soil where it can grow. We acted as the method of dispersion by making seed friends with native wildflower seeds, soil, and clay. The kids spent time shaping their…

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Garden Tea Bags & Beet Salad at Utah Street

This week at Utah Street School we used our dried lemon balm, mint, and nasturtium flowers to make garden tea bags.  We also made a fresh beet and onion salad wrapped in collard greens.   Check back next week to see how the middle schoolers liked their garden tea!   -Garden Ranger Claire

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Harvest Party at Utah Street School!

This week at Utah Street School we celebrated our final week of 4th and 5th grade classes. We took a class tour throughout the garden to pick fresh veggies for out veggie lettuce wrap tacos! After having collected edible leaves and flowers from the garden last week, we let them dry throughout this week as…

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UCLA Students visit Utah Street School to learn about School Gardens

We recently had some visitors to Utah Street School’s garden studying outdoor education and accessibility to healthy foods in LA neighborhoods.  We discussed what was growing and the format of our classroom before the kids came and then our visitors got to sit in on our lesson about soil and composting! We pulled out our…

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Welcome to the Garden, 4th and 5th Graders!

We recently started our garden curriculum with our newest group of kids at Utah Street School, the 4th and 5th graders. The classes are pretty big, so thankfully our large garden has plenty of room to walk and explore. We spent some time going over the rules of the garden and then explored our outdoor…

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Harvest Party at Utah Street School

In culmination of a fun, educational 6 weeks in the garden with the 3rd graders we had a harvest picnic. Many of our vegetables were ready for harvest, so we decided to have a mixed pasta salad. We started by taking a tour of the garden to see what was growing, beginning with our cauliflower….

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Seed Friends at Utah Street School

This week at Utah Street we focused on one very important part of our plants- seeds! We learned about the ways seeds are moved from a plant into new soil, and created seed friends to act as wildflower seed transporters. We took clay, soil, and native California wildflower seeds and rolled them together to shape…

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What parts of our plants are safe to eat, Utah Street?

This week at Utah Street we focused on the parts of a plant. We talked about some of our favorite vegetables, discussing which parts of the plant we usually eat. We gathered a mini-harvest from the garden to discuss the edible parts of the plants we’re growing including collard greens (leaves), cauliflower (flower), radish (root),…

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Friend or Foe, Utah Street?

This week we learned about what animals are friends and foes in our garden at Utah Street School. We began by brainstorming what animals we’ve seen in the garden and discussing the ways they help and hurt our growing plants. We focused on two friends of the garden: ladybugs and earth worms. We explored the…

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Cauliflower blooms at Utah Street School

As we returned to school from the winter break the kids, volunteers, and I were looking forward to seeing how the plants were fairing. We were excited to find our first cauliflower bloom! We also saw that our peas were starting to produce, and the red radishes were growing well under the soil. This week…

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Exploring the Utah Street garden before the break

With a new group of 2nd graders, we started exploring the garden before the school break. After discussing the rules of the garden and preparing to learn in the outdoor classroom the kids spent some time exploring. They each drew five things they found in the garden- things they saw, smelled, heard, touched, and tasted….

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Harvest party at Utah Street School

This week was the last week for our 1st grade students time in the garden. We took a tour of the garden to see everything that we’ve planted this season. Fava beans, crimson clover cover crop, snap dragons, radishes, turnips, carrots, and beets are all on the list! We picked some fresh mint to put…

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