Field reports from

Whaley Middle School

The Whaley Middle School garden was built in Spring 2015 with help from the Kitchen Community. There are multiple raised, horseshoe-shaped beds and a seating area.

Whaley Middle School

Read More...

Whaley – Getting Down in the DIRT!

At Whaley, we continued talking about the importance of top soil by understanding not only that we have so little (3%), but how the different types of soil degradation contribute to the rate of soil loss per year.  To get the kids to really understand, we started by examining different types of soil (sand, clay,…

Read More...

Ecology in a Worm Bin – Whaley

Worm bins are a great way to review all we have learned about ecology throughout the year. The students can physically determine what abiotic and biotic factors effect the worm’s environment.  They can also reference the bin as a mini ecosystem filled with a community, population, species, and organisms…lots of organisms! Although the worms are the…

Read More...

Minty Day at Whaley

The last day before summer break required a special activity and since our mint plant needed a good trimming, I thought we could use the trimmings to make some yummy treats!  Mint has so many great uses. It helps with upset stomachs, helps loosen phlegm, and freshens breath too! During class we made a tomato…

Read More...

Garden Pizzas at Whaley!

The garden at Whaley was in need of a good harvest and although the kids really enjoy salads, I thought we’d try cooking some of the bounty of veggies instead! The kids were all onboard, and went straight to work! I brought in a toaster oven, some tortillas, tomato sauce and cheese.  The kids harvested,…

Read More...

The Making of Edible Cells at Whaley

Most cells are not “delicious” but the ones the Whaley students made today were quite tasty! In an effort to have the students understand the different functions of the cell parts, we made an edible model of a cell…then ate it! To begin, we watched a short video about cell parts and their function.  I…

Read More...

Whaley Identifies Plant Cells

The 7th graders at Whaley haven’t had much experience using microscopes, so we brought them out this week to familiarize ourselves with them and look at plant cells.  After the students collected various types of plant leaves from the garden, we came indoors and followed the procedures to get the slide ready for viewing. The…

Read More...

Whaley Discovers DNA!

The students were studying DNA this week in class, so I thought it would be appropriate to show them what DNA looks like and the process for DNA extraction. They were surprised to discover that DNA can be extracted with some simple household ingredients and that at home they can follow the same recipe and…

Read More...

Vegetables Need “Support” Too!

We are back from spring break and preparing for summer at Whaley. The first set of cucumbers and pole beans were seed started two weeks ago and now are in need of a good support system to keep them vertical.  We briefly discussed why some plants need support and why it’s important to keep fruit…

Read More...

Direct Sowing at Whaley

With the garden cleaned out and plenty of open spaces, I had the students “direct sow” some summer fruit seeds.  I explained to the kids why we sometimes opt for starting seeds in trays verses starting seeds inground (direct sowing).  Some seeds grow best when started indoors in controlled temperatures, so we grow them in…

Read More...

Clipping, Amending and Clean-Up at Whaley

We spent the day doing various garden tasks in the garden today as the kids really needed the break from a full day of testing. Together, we clipped back the borage and basil bushes, amended the soil and picked up trash, leaving the garden pristine! The kids nibbled on borage and chard as they worked….

Read More...

What’s in Our Compost? at Whaley

What’s in our compost? That’s what the kids at Whaley discovered when we uncovered the composting bin and exposed the contents…let just say, it was ALIVE!  We found dark, nutrient rich “humus”  towards the base of the bin.  It was literally moving, due to the various invertebrates living inside.  We spent some time observing these…

Read More...

Biotic and Abiotic Factors – Whaley

To understand how systems work in our world, the 6th and 7th graders and I discussed Biotic and Abiotic factors.  We defined biotic factors as living factors that affect other living organisms. Abiotic factors are those that are not living but also can affect other living organisms.  The power point I presented had some good…

Read More...

Getting To Know Each Other in The Garden at Whaley

I’m excited to say, I had a great first day teaching at the wonderful little garden in Whaley Middle school.  Garden Ranger Christina did an excellent job nurturing the soil, plants and even more so, the people here at the school.  Everyone I’ve met is very welcoming and I’m happy to be their new Ranger….

Read More...

Seed Formations

To some gardeners when they see lettuce about the bolt, they immediately remove the plant. Rightfully so, the taste of the leaves become extremely bitter and it no longer taste good. But I personally love seeing lettuce go to bolt, because the we get to witness flowers turn into seeds. Lettuce blossoms are typically yellow…

Read More...

Companion Planting and Design

Last week at Whaley Middle School the students and I discussed companion planting and how it works with permaculture design. We used our  school garden as a great example of how different plants work best together. We took a look at a few different types of garden designs, from three sisters crops (Corn, Squash, and…

Read More...

Drops of Rain Goes A Long Way

This winter California has gotten the most rain it has seen since with in the past 6 years. The LA river is flowing and our county is looking greener than ever. Whaley Middle School Garden is looking lush, with a combination of diverse fruits,veggies herbs and flowers. This permaculture style has each plant working together…

Read More...

From Leaf to Bowl

Our garden has been looking super lush and ready to eat, and it was wonderful or the students for a chance to dig into their bowls, opposed to the soil. I am super impressed with how open Whaley Middle School students have been about trying different veggies from the garden. This school garden is growing a…

Read More...

Garden Goodies

In this beautiful bundle we have lemon sorrel (a class favorite), kale, buttercrisp letter, Purple basil, African blue basil, Moroccan Mint, and green onions. Thrilled to have Faculty at Whaley who love our veggies! I’ve been giving out produce weekly to the staff and I love hearing about what they do with it. We even got…

Read More...

Bean Hypothesis

Student’s at Whaley planted beans to compare how they grow in two different environments, they build decomposable paper cups they are using store bought soil with perlite (a volcanic glass used to help create air pockets for indoor plants). And planted the same beans outside in our gardens, students guess that they will most likely…

Read More...

TLC from seeds

Last week the young gardeners at Wilton Place added some more seed into the garden beds. Our gardens get a lot o Tender, Love and Care when seeds are growing in it. We planted quick sprouting radishes as well as some greens.  Using the tip of our pinkies, we poked the soil, dropped out seed, and…

Read More...

Bundle of Joy

One of my favorite things about being a Garden Ranger is sharing the wealth from our garden, also introducing both children and adults to new foods. Last week I made a few bundles of the faculty who have fallen in love with our produce that they’ve tried for the first time in our garden. This…

Read More...

Greener Garden at Whaley

I think I have documented this little fellow once a week since I have been here. This week I found our grasshopper friend in the African Blue Basil plant. Which is doing a wonderful job attracting insects into are garden. This plant it self has become its own mini ecosystem. This week Whaley School Garden…

Read More...

Seeds Popping Up at Whaley

  After a lot of patience we are beginning to see life emerge at Whaley Middle School.   And also a friend returned looking very good and rather mature today.  

Read More...

Still in Bloom

Our pollinators are very happy with the lovely blooms at Whaley Middle School.  

Read More...

The Lifecycle of Grasshoppers

Our Garden are home to all sorts of critters. This week at Whaley I got to witness a Nymph Grasshopper grow into its wings.. Below photographed is a young grasshopper walking about while his wings are beginning to push out and move a spot where it’s wings can dry and develop. And through out the…

Read More...

Welcome Whaley

(Featured Image Borage Plant, Planted to act as  living cover mulch) Last week Whaley Middle School got started in out garden. We began to discusses the changes happening in the weather and how we need to get active in order to start preparing for the garden. We also took a look at our food system,…

Read More...

A little dirt never hurt!

This week at Whaley Middle School Students helped nourish our soil with Soil Amend! It was impressive to see how excited the youth where to get there hands dirty. This amendment will help lock in moisture so that our plants will receive water to the soil more evenly and it also as more natural nutrients…

Read More...

Whaley Watermelons!

Wow, look at these writhing watermelon vines! One of the custodians mentioned he’d already harvested a couple sugar babies and can’t wait for the next one to be ready. I might need to convince him to share with the kids when they start classes next week 😉

Read More...

Happy Seedlings at Whaley

Ranger Christina planted new seedlings at Whaley Middle a couple weeks ago and they are doing wonderfully, thanks to the new irrigation system, installed before summer began!

Read More...

Grow, Share, Eat, Repeat!

As much as we grow gardens for our students, it’s just as much for the teachers. They have been very supportive and equally enthusiastic about the program. It is my favorite thing in the world to share the food we grow, especially with the staff and their families. My second favorite thing is to learn…

Read More...

Plant Revival at Whaley

Whaley Middle School Garden has transformed into one of my favorite school gardens. One thing I love the most about it has developed from learning about to to rebuild a garden space and what plants exactly need in order to create a thriving ecosystem. A couple of weeks ago we dove into to the topic…

Read More...

Whaley Middle School Beneficial Insectary

  Zinnias, Poppies, Cilantro, and Lavender and Borage have been dispersed throughout our school garden to help attract insects that benefit, the garden. These also add a bit of extra biodiversity spread amongst our plants as well.  

Read More...

Whaley Middle School

  After much needed soil amendments, Whaley Middle School is beginning to flourish with some beautiful fresh life. One of my favorite things about gardening is how much you learn through time, patience and observation. Our little Compton School Garden in is in bloom!     In continuing our work to keep the school beautiful…

Read More...

Aphids Begone

Using companion planting techniques, we planted lavender next to Kale and with in weeks we notice our Kale is free of aphids. Ranger Christina

Read More...

Tuber Madness

Potatoes one of the most perfect foods. Many cultures have sustain themselves in many creative ways. The wonderful root had a fascinating way of reproducing itself right before it dies. A river sprouts from the eye of the potato absorbing the last not bit of nutrients left of the potato. At Whaley Middle School we…

Read More...

“I’m no longer allergic to vegetables”

Student at Whaley proudly enjoying lettuce grown in his school garden.

Read More...

Spring has sprung

A few weeks back we put agriculture mustards seeds in ground At Whaley.  As you can see featured above that they are begin to pop up! We planted these mustards to help remedy the soil in the beds. Mustard greens add beneficial nitrogen into the soil and help detier unwanted pest. Ranger Chriatina

Read More...

Whole foods for the whole body

It’s that age old expression. “You are what you eat.” Last week at Wilton Place Middle School we began to discuss nutrients in the foods we eat. We went in depth on exactly how and why eating healthy and eating whole has long term benefits for our bodies. We talked about the whole foods that…

Read More...

Taking over at Whaley Middle School

A couple of weeks ago I met, Alexys and the students over at Whaley Middle School in Compton. We got our conversation started off with very simple basic of just what we know about gardening, and how we should behave around plants. It was a way to assess what they already knew and open a…

Read More...

Meet Christina- the newest Ranger at Whaley Middle School

Meet Christina!! She is the new Garden Ranger at Whaley Middle School and Wilton Place Elementary School. She had a passion for plants and nature, and loads of experience with kids. The students at Whaley had a blast learning to “bee a friend” and identifying everything growing in their garden. We can’t wait to see…

Read More...

Summertime at Whaley Middle School

Read More...

Our beautiful Compton gardens

While traveling south, I was able to visit 5 of our beautiful Compton gardens- Foster ES, Whaley MS, Dominguez HS, Sullivan Pre-K, and Bryson ES. Our rangers and students are doing a wonderful job maintaining these spaces. I loved visiting Sullivan Pre-K, which is maintained by Garden Ranger Hope and Garden Volunteer Extraordinaire Dee, and…

Read More...

The blossoming Whaley garden attracts students as the new school year arrives

At the beginning of the summer, the Whaley Middle School garden was filled with budding seedlings with so much potential. Now, those small plants have begun to produce some delicious fruits and vegetables. My visit today at Whaley coincided with the registration for the new school year. As I was working, I was able to…

Read More...

New seedlings at the blossoming Whaley Middle School garden

All of the plants at Whaley Middle School are looking healthy and green. Today, Dee planted some seedlings that she grew from seed herself into one of the beds. I was sure to give them plenty of water, and then we were on our way! ~Shaylyn, Intern

Read More...