Field reports from

West Vernon Elementary School

The garden at West Vernon Elementary School was built in Fall 2011. There are both raised beds and in-ground beds, a patio, and outdoor kitchen area.

Students pitch in to keep a healthy garden

Staying on top of pests and creating the best living conditions for its inhabitants is how a garden stays healthy and productive. Through best practices, careful observations, and a little elbow grease; the students play a role in the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) that keeps their garden bountiful and chemical free. There were plenty of…

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West Vernon Elementary Has a Soil Structure Lesson

The healthy plants at West Vernon are thanks to proper soil structure. An intricate root system illustrated the movement of water in well structured soil. Students sampled different varieties of greens in their garden after a challenging lesson. – Ranger Dan

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Cool Season Warm Season at West Vernon Elementary

At West Vernon Elementary the students learned that the environment dictates what plants will grow. Weather and temperature change and so do crops. Germination was explained and beet lettuce wrap was a good illustration of cool season crops. – Ranger Dan

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Busy Day of Seeds and More at West Vernon Elementary

Not only was there a huge gourd and okra harvest at West Vernon Elementary but the students also observed beautiful butterflies and the delicate flowers of okra. A snack of greens with lime juice was tart and refreshing. – Ranger Dan

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Leaves of West Vernon

Leaves were the topic of the day and a garden exploration showed the many types. Leaves are a great way to identify plants and detect illness. Some rainbow chard with scallions and basil made a great snack. – Ranger Dan

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West Vernon Learns about seeds

At West Vernong, students learned about seeds and drew diagrams explaining key parts of seed anatomy. They discovered and observed seeds in their garden; some we eat, some we don’t. We also found a large zucchini that could have fed the whole school! – Ranger Dan  

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Lessons Start a New at West Vernon

We had a great introduction class at West Vernon! Students explored and had a food hunt, discovering cucumber, basil, and garlic chives as a snack. A fallen sunflower gave the students a closer look at workings of flowers and seeds. – Ranger Dan  

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Parts of the plant at West Vernon

A lesson on plant parts and amending/aerating the soil filled the day for the students. Most parts were able to be observed on developing vines. A butterfly graced the students. Cucumber with mint made a refreshing snack. – Ranger Dan

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Compost is Building at West Vernon

As we take down the summer crops at West Vernon the compost gets a big boost in nitrogen. A lesson on compost and the balance needed between “brown and green” (dry or wet) plant materials filled a few pages in their journals.Students were able to snack on a giant zucchini from the garden! Students also…

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West Vernon Learns How the Garden Life Cycle is Completed

Pollinators to decomposers and back again. West Vernon received a lesson on the life cycle in the garden and how decomposers complete the loop. Cover crops were removed and the students help amend a row crop that had just produced a bounty of corn. Decomposers can’t do all the work after all. Garden cucumbers, basil,…

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West Vernon Reviews Plant Parts and Functions

Roots, stems, leaves, fruit, flowers, and seeds. The students at West Vernon went over the plants parts and their essential functions for the plant. They used their journals to sketch and write down the plant parts and what would happen to the plants if they didn’t have them. The garden was full of delicious and…

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West Vernon Elementary comes back to a busy garden

The garden at West Vernon Elementary was happy to have its students back. Fortunately there were secondary consumers present to keep the garden safe all summer. So much to harvest and eat!! A fresh corn salsa with garden cucumbers to dip greated the eager students. A garden review and journal construction were great welcome back…

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Finish with a bountiful harvest

West Vernon Elementary had a healthy harvest and cut back for summer. Beans, zucchini, tomatoes, onions, cabbage, and peas. Several dishes were prepared and enjoyed. Students also had time to work on their own garden designs. – Ranger Dan

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West Vernon Does the Numbers

Planning gardens is challenging without the right tools and know how. Fortunately at West Vernon Elementary the students are well prepared. A spacing chart of common edible plants and a blank scaled map of their school garden let the students fill the space with their own choices. Getting ready for their own garden space planning….

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West Vernon Elementary observes the garden for research

West Vernon Elementary has a lot to do getting ready to plan their own edible gardens. Sunflowers were harvested and examined for the effective seed spacing. Observing the spacing of plants and size of beds the students began to think about their own gardens. What end should the fruit trees be on? How many zucchini…

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West Vernon Elementary

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West Vernon Elementary keeps their garden green

At West Vernon Elementary the students know that the garden is a changing landscape. As we take out old plants and put in new there is something to consider. A lesson on crop rotation explained the benefits of changing what is grown in the soil year after year. Avoiding nutrient depletion, stopping the spreading of…

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West Vernon knows their friends from their foes

   At West Vernon Elementary the students had a lesson on welcomed garden insects and ones the garden could do without. They made the connection that insects that eat plants aren’t helpful but those that ate other insects were the garden’s friends. With so much to harvest, garden snacks are never in short supply. A…

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West Vernon enjoys some greens

West Vernon Elementary continues to enjoy zucchini and spinach from the garden, seasoned with fresh basil and a pinch of salt. A lesson on companion planting helped the students understand that even plants are stronger when working together. The grapes are coming in nicely as well. – Ranger Dan

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Refreshing day at West Vernon Elementary

As the days get warmer the garden at West Vernon Elementary is bright and busy. The students had a lesson on herbs for health and enjoyed some homemade lemonade with mint. They devoured fresh zucchini with basil, rosemary, and a dash of salt. Flowers are in bloom and the squash are growing more every day….

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West Vernon harvests some radishes

At West Vernon Elementary the students helped harvest radishes for a spicy snack. We discussed mulch and how it helps minimize weeds, keeps water from evaporating too fast, and slowly releases nutrients into the soil. Sunflowers are coming in and the grapes look very happy. – Ranger Dan

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Bacteria and fungus at West Vernon

For the compost lesson at West Vernon Elementary the decomposers are the stars. The students learned that it’s the micro-organisms that help turn plant material into food for plants. Humans also use micro-organisms to digest food. The students were inoculated with healthy microbes in the form of a snack consisting of cabbage, hummus, and mushrooms….

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Butterflies and colorful leaves

West Vernon Elementary students gat a special treat. The delicious colorful leaves aren’t the only things growing in the garden; several students witnessed a butterfly exiting it’s chrysalis during garden maintenance. The lesson on soil paled in comparison to the friendly butterfly. – Ranger Dan

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We Eat Many Plant Parts

West Vernon Elementary students received a lesson on plant anatomy and the functions of the various plant parts. A heavy harvest day in the garden meant a plant part filled snack for the students. Stems, flowers, and leaves were on the menu; all fresh from the garden. – Ranger Dan

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West Vernon Elementary Keeps Their Garden Healthy

Garden maintenance on a sunny day kept the students at West Vernon Elementary happily busy. Be it weeding, amending, or seeding; the students are always ready to get their garden into shape. A lesson on compost and a peek into their compost bin reminded students that the food web in the garden is cyclical, thanks…

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Soil. Where would we be without it?

Students at West Vernon Elementary learned the ingredients of soil and how proper proportions are able to form a hospitable environment for plant growth. In the garden they were able to get hands on experience in aerating and amending soil beds before planting seeds or transplants. It is a large garden but fortunately the students…

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Life Cycle Lesson and Some Producers for a Snack

At West Vernon Elementary the students learned about the life cycle in the garden. From producers to tertiary consumers it comes together with decomposers. Students spotted a chrysalis of a primary consumer (butterfly) and snacked on some fresh carrots. The broccoli is growing nicely as well. – Ranger Dan

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Plenty of Plant Parts at West Vernon Elementary

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A Summary of Good Garden Practices Wraps the Session Before Break

At West Vernon Elementary the students finished another round in the garden. A walk through and review reminds the students of the sustainable practices that take place in our gardens. Pollinators won’t be taking a break, thankfully. Fresh beans with a little seasoning wrapped the class.

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West Vernon Elementary gets a Helping Hand and Learns How Compost Helps Too

The garden seating and insutructional areas at West Vernon Elementary were brightened up by volunteer garden helpers. Pollinators arent the only ones that appreciate vibrant colors. The students learned how to help the garden with compost; nothing wasted. A peak into their compost bin illustrated how the beans they tasted (but may not have liked)…

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So many seeds at West Vernon Elementary

At West Vernon Elementary the students learned about seeds; how they start to develop in the plant and then from dormant to sprouting. We covered what makes them break dormancy and what helps them spread. A walk through the garden showed many examples of seeds in various stages of growth. – Ranger Dan

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West Vernon Elementary is Blooming and the Garden Upgrades are to Thanks

At West Vernon Elementary the students help the garden by removing unwanted guests and bringing them to the compost container. A lesson on plant parts teaches them that the blossoms on the peach tree could become fruit. Dead heading the butterfly weed makes sure it continues to blossom. A snack of fresh beets on basil…

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Seedling Station Growing at West Vernon

Seed starting station at West Vernon Elementary is in full force! With the shelving system, hooked up to button-drip irrigation, we can fit a maximum of 24-small plug trays filled with over 100 plants in each tray. As the seedlings grow, we then transplant them in larger containers for a few weeks before taking them…

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West Vernon Learns About Soil and Helps Fill the Garden

At West Vernon Elementary the students learned about soil; what it is, how it helps the plants, and how important the proper proportions are. A few fresh green items from the garden need nothing to be a tasty treat. – Ranger Dan

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West Vernon Elementary Witnesses and Learns Sustainable Farming First Hand

At West Vernon Elementary the garden received a makeover and some exciting additions. As the students toured the modified garden the sustainable farming techniques that are taught were reinforced and practiced by the students. – Ranger Dan

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Thanks to Mercer for their hardwork at West Vernon!

Last week, we had a successful workday at West Vernon thanks to the help of Mercer volunteers! With their help, we are testing some farming techniques at West Vernon that we will hopefully implement in other of our gardens. We built a mini farm, a nursery station, mulched the pathways, added more shade, extended the…

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West Vernon Elementary Learns About Seasons and Helps the Transition

Students at West Vernon Elementary learned that the garden changes with the weather. As we transition into a cool season we remove the old and plant the future. A little snack helps the energy levels. – Ranger Dan

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West Vernon Elementary Helps the Garden Life Cycle

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Seasons begin and end at West Vernon Elementary

The summer crops meet the winter crops at the active garden of West Vernon Elementary. – Ranger Dan

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West Vernon sees plant parts in action

Students at West Vernon Elementary got to see first hand the different plant parts and their various functions. Beneficial insects got to enjoy a snack. – Ranger Dan

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West Vernon Garden Full of Life

It was a busy summer for this garden. Still producing fruits and vegetables into the fall!!! -Ranger Dan

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Garden Ranger Training going strong!

It’s been about a week since we started Garden Ranger training at EnrichLA! This is the first time we’ve been able to offer training to incoming Rangers and it’s been a blast so far! We are getting ready to start our Garden Ranger program after Labor Day! Last week, we were at West Vernon where…

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Three Parts of a Seed and the Stages of Seed Growth

Today we learned about the three parts of a seed and the stages of its growth cycle. The three parts are: The Coat The Food Storage The Embryo The kids had a chance to look at a seed from the gourd seed packet and make observations about it. We then discussed the various sizes and…

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Climates and Seasons

This weeks class we discussed climates and seasons. We went over the definition of each; weather describes the current and predicted temperature, wind/air/humidity conditions of a particular ecosystem. Where as climate is the historical weather conditions of a particular ecosystem. We discussed which season we are in currently; late Spring. The kids discovered that Los…

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Friends and Foes

The kids learned about some of the other living things besides plants in the garden; beneficial and harmful insects, also known as friends and foes. We discussed how friends and foes act, and then we went through examples of friends and foes in the garden. We passed out cards to a handful of kids and…

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