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.

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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Parts of a Plant and Spring Planting!

This weeks lesson we covered the six basic parts of a plant and the importance of each. We then played a game where where the kids broke off into two teams. I shared a clue with each team that related to a part of the plant that we eat. For example, a stem that we…

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Farewell Marilee and Let’s Talk Soil

This week was bittersweet as Marilee from Gavina coffee came by the garden to work and say good bye. She is moving to Portland and we will miss her presence and visual art contributions to the garden, via compost signage. The students learned about the three main ingredients that make up soil: sand, silt, and…

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Seed Starting

This week students had the chance to start their own plants from seed. We had three different seed packets to choose from; peppers, thyme, and oregano. Each student selected the seed they wanted to plant and then filled pots with potting soil. Next, they planted their seeds and watered them in. Finally, they made a…

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Tomato Care, Prepping Beds, Planting, and Composting

We had a busy day of garden work this week. Here are the projects we worked on: The tomato plants needed to be tied up, why you may ask? Because they get get tall and heavy and need to be supported, plus it makes it easier for us to pick the tomatoes when they’re ready. We…

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Spring Cleaning and Tomato Suckering

It’s no secret the tool shed needs some love. You open it up and it looks like a tornado hit it. This is something that commonly happens in many garden sheds because it is last priority when there are so many other priorities to take care of in the garden. So, today we pulled everything…

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Food Chains and Food Webs

Today we discussed how everything on earth needs energy to stay alive. We talked about where energy comes from, plants and animals, and shared what energy helps us do; for humans energy helps us move our body and use our brain. For a butterfly energy is used to flap their wings up and down. For…

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Parts of a Plant, Weeding in the Garden, and Adding to our Compost

Today we went over the 6 parts of the plant and played a game. We divided into two teams and each team had a correspondent who everyone would communicate with to weigh in on their answer. I gave each team the same clue about a part of a plant that we eat, and each time guessed….

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Thank You Gavina Coffee!

The secret is out! We heart Gavina Coffee! Today in the garden each class wrote a thank you card to Gavina Coffee thanking them for visiting our school last week. Each student drew an illustration of a coffee plant, a coffee cup, compost, and fruits and vegetables we put in the compost. Some students drew…

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Compost Lesson with Special Guest Gavina Coffee!

Last week we had a special guest join us in the garden, Gavina Coffee! Marilee and Oswaldo joined us in the garden and created a sign for our compost bin as well as a mini lesson on coffee plants the benefits of coffee grounds in compost. Thank you so much Gavina! Many of the kids were…

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Compost Lesson with Special Guests Gavina Gourmet Coffee!

This week we had the pleasure of collaborating with Gavina Gourmet Coffee to discuss composting and the benefit of coffee grounds in compost. I shared with the kids that compost is recycled food material (greens) in combination with dried leaves, grass, and cardboard (browns) that has been aged and broken down into a material that…

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Friends and Foes, Triple Tag, and Spring Planting

The lesson we covered was notably called, friends and foes. We discussed friend insects in the garden and how some insects are friends to the plants, just like the friends we have in real life. Friends look out for our best interest, help us flourish to be the best person we can be, and protect…

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Feed the Fruit Trees!

February 17, 2016 Today at West Vernon Elementary the kids got their hands dirty, and boy were they happy to do so! A cheer rose from the crowd of kids when I told them that we were going to use shovels and rakes, clear weeds, and fertilize the fruit trees. Hands shot in the air…

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Seeds: How They Grow in Nature

February 10, 2016 This week in the garden we learned about where plants originate from; seeds. We began by discussing the different sizes, shapes, and colors that seeds look like. Next we went over the 5 ways seeds are dispersed in nature. We ended with a creative activity where each child made their own “dandelion…

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West Vernon Elementary fills its garden beds!

West Vernon was buzzing today as the kids learned about garden “friends and foes” and played an educational tag game. We talked about beneficial and detrimental garden insects and critters. Students had a good time looking at pictures of all sorts of pests and especially liked the sound of the assassin bug! The students then…

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West Vernon Elementary Schopl Garden

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WEST VERNON ELEMENTARY

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New shade structure for west vernon elementary with Boston Consulting

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West Vernon Elementary Garden Looks Good but Needs Some Work

West Vernon Elementary’s garden looks relatively good but the beds looked a bit dry and it is loaded with weeds. I gave it a very thorough watering and removed what weeds I could but I think it will need a whole workday and some bark to alleviate the weed problem. Aside from the tomatoes and…

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The vast collection of plants that populate the West Vernon Elementary garden is astounding

Today I visited West Vernon Elementary to make sure everything was running properly with the garden, a green sanctuary attracting birds and bees amidst an area of Los Angeles primarily made up of brick and concrete. The vine-engulfed archway leading into the garden, along with colorful hand painted signs identifying each of the plants transform the…

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New Plants are Thriving at West Vernon

Our sunflower’s getting taller than our teachers! Our beautiful garden is flourishing. A beautiful pumpkin that we found last month Our classes got to taste some yummy pumpkin puree and toasted seeds.

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Blue prints and scale models at West Vernon

During last Friday’s indoor class, we made blue prints of our dream gardens! Then, we made clay models of some of our future plans: bird baths, plants, tables, etc. The children also took home some seeds to get their dream gardens started.

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Learning the Parts of the Plant at West Vernon Elementary

We learned about the different parts of the plant and what they do by learning a song! Then, after learning about them, we tasted them! The roots (carrot), the seed (chickpeas in the form of hummus), the stem (celery), the leaves (lettuce from the garden), the fruit (bell pepper), and the flower (broccoli from the…

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Flowers are Blooming at West Vernon

Beautiful & edible broccoli flowers have joined the garden This class is touching the fuzzy new peaches that are starting to grow. The Nasturtium plant is growing so much every day!

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Work day at West Vernon

What a day! We added cardboard and mulch around the beds to keep the weeds down, added a drip irrigation system, organized our tool shed, and added some new plants to the garden. Ashley helped make a lot of new garden signs We put drip cages together. A big thank you to all of our…

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What’s new at West Vernon Elementary?

Our harvest of swiss chard, kale, and lettuce to share with some of the grown ups in the school office (: Our very first Nasturtium flowers have just bloomed! Our fava beans are growing! And so are our purple cauliflower plants! We are also planning a garden work day this Friday, Feb. 13 from 8:30am…

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Learning about soil at West Vernon Elementary School

We explored tactile tables with sand, clay, and soil, and dried leaves (organic matter) for our 2nd graders to experience with their 5 senses. We drew pictures and wrote about what we wanted to learn about in the garden, what plants we wanted to grow, and what bugs we like. These students are excited for…

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Rainy day at West Vernon Elementary

When you can’t bring classes to the garden, we bring the garden to the classes! All of their little hands were eagerly harvesting basil seeds on this rainy day (: We learned about the parts of the plant and discussed our favorite plants to eat. Playing “guess that plant” was a hilarious, silly, and educational experience today….

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Talking About our Health Goals at West Vernon Elementary School

Imagine that you are rich, famous, live in a huge house, and work at your dream job, but you get sick all the time and you don’t feel healthy. Would you be happy? Today we discussed our health goals and what steps we can take now to try to achieve these goals: “I want to…

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Searching for Bugs and Laying Down Roots at West Vernon Elementary School

These bug detectives are on the scene searching for “friends” and “foes” This grub caused a lot of excitement today, it was so big! This ladybug was the only one we found and the class favorite (: We also planted some lettuce, broccoli, peas, and purple cauliflower. yum yum yum, the children were so excited…

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Visit from Gavina Coffee Company at West Vernon Elementary

  Thank you so much Gavina Coffee for coming by and teaching us about coffee! We all worked together to plant a coffee tree that Gavina donated Our beautiful coffee tree is one year old and will fruit in just four years. We tried pomegranate seeds today, they were quite a hit. We explored the…

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Fall crafts at West Vernon Elementary School

Autumn leaves, tape, crayons, and paper is all you need to make a beautiful rubbing and get creative in the garden!   A proud student’s leaf rubbing (:   Looking and learning about different leaves in the garden, why they are important, and discussing their different characteristics in class today really got our brains working…

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Out With the Old and in With the New at West Vernon Elementary

New additions to the garden coming soon! (: So many eggplants, so little time A garden tour for our new classes! Designing our new garden journals The seasons are changing and we’re excited to start planting new things! (:

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Tiny leaves are poking through the soil at West Vernon Elementary!

We learned about the different growing seasons today and why they are important to know when growing plants. It is so interesting to understand how our food grows and to learn about the ecosystem that we live in. These eggplants are growing fast! (Just like our little gardeners) We planted lettuce and radish seeds today! A lot…

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Bug Hunting at West Vernon Elementary

This week we learned about the different bugs that are found in our garden and whether their presence is beneficial or harmful to our plants. We played our version of “duck, duck, goose” in which the children used beneficial bugs in place of the word “duck” and harmful bugs in place of the word “goose”….

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Learning the Parts of the Plant at West Vernon Elementary School

We learned about the different parts of the plant, what they do, and what parts we normally eat. The students were very excited to share their favorite parts of the plant and match pictures of them to our plant diagram. They also enjoyed trying some watermelon on this hot September day. One of my students…

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Warm season crops ripening at West Vernon

Although it’s been chilly this week, the warm season fruits at West Vernon don’t seem to mind. The zucchini are huge! In just a week this thing grew from the length of my hand to practically the length of my whole arm! The students couldn’t believe it either: We are also very excited for the…

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Happy Pollinators make Happy Food at West Vernon

I bet the bees at West Vernon during Spring feel how we humans feel in a buffet line– so many options to choose from! There are so many different blossoms right now… from orange to lavender to apple to pineapple guava… and they all seem to be bringing our pollinating friends great pleasure! It feels…

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Green Juice! at West Vernon Elementary

There is SO MUCH KALE at West Vernon right now, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to make  some green juice with the students. Many people like to drink freshly squeezed juice because the vitamins, minerals and enzymes are much more concentrated, so they receive a high dose of their daily recommended vitamins…

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Common Vision plants at West Vernon

A very big thanks goes out to the Common Vision team for joining us at West Vernon Elementary today! These talented individuals worked with the always energetic after school clubs to plant a whopping NINE fruit trees, and made some amazing signs to go along with them.       Common Vision’s hard work and…

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Winter Harvest at West Vernon Elementary

Even after the harvest party last week, there is still lots to be plucked from the garden at West Vernon Elementary. I have a feeling that we will be harvesting every Monday for weeks to come. Yesterday we harvested plenty of turnips, cabbage, yellow squash and kale. The kids in the after school club took…

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West Vernon Gets a Lesson on Bugs (and a Nectarine Tree!)

The after school clubs at West Vernon Elementary School learned about all the creepy crawlers in their garden by playing an EnrichLA favorite, “Friend or Foe?”. Then, armed with magnifying glasses, the students took to the garden in search of some familiar and unfamiliar insects. Luckily for me, some very strong students eagerly volunteered to…

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Cool Season Crops are Thriving at West Vernon Elementary!

The garden West Vernon Elementary seems to be loving this chilly winter season. All of the cool weather crops we planted are really thriving! After our lesson about growing seasons, the students harvested kale and peas to snack on.    

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Parts of a Plant Lesson at West Vernon Elementary

This week at West Vernon Elementary, we learned the six parts of the plant and their functions. The students were surprised when they discovered that broccoli is the flower part of the plant. Other students learned that they had been eating roots quite often in the form of carrots! Then we enjoyed some yummy and…

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