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From Apples to Zucchini at The Accelerated School

The apple tree in the TAS garden has given us a nice supply of fruit this season.   The kids never tired of our crispy cut up snacks and learning about this delicious food.   I asked them to find out something interesting about apples and they wrote about how apples are part of the…

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Growing in the City…

Between Westlake (McArthur Park) and Downtown LA you’ll find Miguel Contreras Learning Complex, a high school made up of several ‘sub’ schools. One of them, the Academic Leadership Community or simply ALC. The after school garden group meets every Tuesday from 1:30-3PM in a small but oh so mighty garden overlooking downtown. From day one,…

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Learning can be meditative

As mentioned in the last blog post, we have been learning about what an eco-system is and studying the eco-systems within each garden bed here at Taking The Reins this Fall. Each student is assigned a garden bed to explore and within that bed, I’ve challenged the students to each choose one plant to explore…

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A praying mantis steals the show

We were enjoying a lovely day following the class outline I had planned. We’ve been studying eco-systems for this session at Taking The Reins and everyone was busy working in their assigned garden bed. All of the sudden, a couple of students found a rather large praying mantis hanging out in the lemongrass. This lemongrass…

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Worms!

  I’ve never quite understood the fear that follows worms. From my experience, about 1 in every 100 kids fears worms but maybe 1 in 20 adults is scared of them. Why is that?  Somewhere along the way people are taught to hate them.  I believe it’s because they don’t understand them! Not only are…

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Earth Day 2018

Earth Day is a worldwide event in support and protection of the environment. In the garden, students are learning that is possible to coexist with nature despite living in urban busy cities.  It requires ingenuity and care and appreciation of the natural world. As for now, keeping the edible garden alive and thriving is a great start to honor…

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Flower to Seed to Flower

It was a beautiful day in the garden this morning at Toluca Lake Elementary! Many of the plants are flowering and the garden is fi lled with vibrant colors and buzzing pollinators. The students were also buzzing with excitement to be among the plants in the sunshine. Today’s lesson was about pollination and flower reproduction….

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May Happenings

Summer is almost here, though it certainly feels like it already. There are only a couple months left in the semester, which means only a couple months left with the kiddos. However, there’s still our summer City Farm Camp to look forward to! Students that join City Farm Camp with EnrichLA will have the opportunity…

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Join the Team, Become a Garden Ranger

Garden Rangers are responsible for leading weekly garden-based lessons for students, increasing their knowledge of gardening, complementing classroom curriculum, and maintaining their school gardens by ensuring that the garden is well kept, healthy, and bountiful throughout the year. Being a Garden Ranger is a rewarding and challenging experience! Your main responsibilities are: TEACHING: Engage students with…

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Van Ness School making seed bombs with the VI kids

This was a great exercise for the kids especially Udie.  Chelsea the OT specialist at Vanes and I partner to play with our students at Vaness.  Udie also helped to crush roasted eggshells for the compost.

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Fungi and flowers at ERHS

The rain has brought out some beautiful fungi in the garden. With the arrival of spring, the brassicae and onions are flowering. These are a favorite of our local pollinators. We are excited to get our summer plants in the ground.

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Magnified Exploration and Potatoes

After learning about parts of a plant, we got to use our new magnifying glasses to investigate and explore the plant parts in our garden. And, after watching our potato plants go through their life cycle, we got to dig up fresh grown potatoes!

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Van Ness Reviews Plant Parts

Van Ness students pulled grass and put down cardboard in the first two beds, as they had a lot of grass.  The kids were taught about the different root systems: Tap Root and Fibrous Root.  When pulling up the grass, they were able to understand the Tap Root system.  Students also planted seeds and seedlings…

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Learning and reviewing Parts of a plants before planting

At Vaness School 11/16/17  We spoke about parts of a plant. General Ed reviewed parts of a plant and planted in first two beds.  Planted seedlings artichoke and pumpkins. Planted Zinnia and Garnet lettuce.  The kids totally took ownership from planting what to posting in the beds what is there. [I will have pictures from…

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Calvert – Worm Race

Hello Garden Friends, This week, we talked about decomposition with the 5th graders. To help explain the importance of decomposition in the garden, I brought them some red wiggler worms from the b ait shop, old newspapers, and my kitchen food waste scraps. After explaining how worms take the food waste and transform the nutrients…

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Sustainability in the Garden at Glenfeliz

Fall is in and students are gearing up for the spookiest time of the year – Halloween. While this is a fun and exciting time for the students to dream up costume ideas and fantasize about sweet treats, it also signals a shift from the (extra) late summer this year into Southern California’s cool season. This…

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Harvest Party

Wilton Place finished their 6-week class by testing radishes, tomatoes, and herbs.  Students planted radishes seeds in the beginning of the six weeks and they were surprised to see how fast they were growing. Students put their gardening skills to test and all that they have learned in previous classes to practice. We are working…

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Flowers A-Bloom at Atwater Ave

Class today at Atwater Ave was all about stopping to smell the flowers. Stopping to smell, and then looking for some brightly-colored floating stamen covered in pollen, and then seeing how the sepal forms…well, you get the idea. Students today learned all about the brains behind the beauty of a flower, and what each part…

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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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Vibrant blooms at AIA

It is a beautiful cloudy day here on the rooftop. We got a sprinklong of rain today which is good for our plants! Squash, sunflowers, and marigolds are all blooming, which makes food for bees! Today we learned about harvesting seeds from our garden to plant next year.

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Garden Love – Dominguez High

So, Dominguez high school’s seniors are feeling the senioritis, I hurt my leg and the weather, well, Im not going to blame anything on the weather haha. But, on this gloomy day, we visited the garden to assess what was needed to be done on our next and last visit (sad face)..  We took our…

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Super Signage at Luther Burbank MS

We finally finished up this long term project on the last class of the year at Luther Burbank!  The graduating 8th graders were happy to leave something behind for future students. We made these sturdy wooden signs labeling the things we have planted and giving a little more info about them (sometimes the info is…

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End of the Year Garden Celebration!

Today we celebrated our very last garden class with a splendid tea party! The kids were in high spirits as they entered their final week in school. Before our party we walked about the garden and saw the very first ripe tomato! We also had a timely opportunity to witness the pollination of our blue…

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Salad, artichokes, and baby mantids

Today was a fun day in the garden. The lesson was on fungi and microbes. We had a salad with homemade dressing for a snack. There were a bunch of baby praying mantids on the plants!

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Welcome New Cycle

  The garden looks welcoming with its colors and fragrances, and  students  experienced that on a crisp Monday morning Their first lesson: Warm vs Cool season. The edible garden is growing corn, beans and  squash (three  sisters). These are heat loving crops that make  a great friend and companion to each other.  Along with tomatoes,herbs and flowers, the garden is…

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First day of garden class at Arroyo Seco Museum

Today was a great first day of garden class at Arroyo Seco Museum! We learned about the rules of the garden and proper tool usage techniques. We planted tomatoes, peppers, basil, and swiss chard. We also spied a hawk soaring through the sky!

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Rio Vista – Magic Potions

Hello Garden Friends, Last Wednesday at Rio Vista we toured the spring garden and harvested ingredients to make delicious infused water beverages.. or magic potions. The garden is full of nutrients and vitamins and organic chemistry that has incredible healing abilities. Making teas and infusions is one way we can keep our bodies balanced and…

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Basil, lavender, swiss chard

Another great day on the rooftop! Today we learned about the 6 edible parts of the plant. We snacked on swiss chard. We had a lot of fun learning to plant summer veggies like tomato and squash.

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Herbs & Compost

What are herbs? How do we use them? Students enjoyed the garden with their sense of smell, touch and vision while looking for herbs to match the one on their paper. After their lesson on herbs and their use for cooking, medicine, beauty supplies and much more; students wrote the name of the five herbs…

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Harvest hunt at Atwater Ave

This week at Atwater Ave, the students got a chance to show off their gardening chops with a garden scavenger hunt! The students were challenged to use their senses and observational skills to find different things in the garden. Many of these were from different lessons we’d had together- root types, learning about seedlings, and…

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Seeds and Seedslings!

Students had their lesson about seeds. They conducted observations by comparing different size of seeds, color and shape. The class also made seedlings of warm season vegetables and flowers.. all these in preparation of Spring and Summer garden.

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Herbs vs. Spices | Eagle Rock

An herb and a spice, whats the difference? Our lesson was all about herbs and spices, where do they come from and how different cultures utilize different herbs and spices to create their unique cuisine. Herbs are the leaves of a plant, whether dried or fresh, and a spice is the seeds or roots, ground…

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Sand, Clay, or Loam? | Eagle Rock

The kids learned how to test the moisture level of the soil, and whether soil has more sand or more clay. We all practiced by putting different types of soil in our hands getting them wet and closing our hand into a ball. Did our soil stay together or fall apart? Stayed together. Did it…

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Spring is Among us – Dominguez high

sSpring is on the horizon and the plants oblige! The students didn’t mind the rain but they love the sunny vibes. The bees are on the broccoli. Except the one that stalked me. Spring is well on the way. Shew fly. Don’t bother me. I’m waiting patient for the buzz of my friend the Bee….

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Seeds

Students had their lesson on seeds. All plants need certain things to grow, including: room to grow, the right temperature, light, water, air, nutrients, and time. With this in mind, students planted seedlings of corn, squash and flowers. students helped water, spread compost around the plants, and kept the garden clean.

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Hommage to St Patrick

As the season changes a lesson on crop rotation was perfect for the students at Valley View Elementary. Carrots were harvested and eaten with cabbage and a little garlic sauce (greek yogurt, fresh garlic, salt/pepper). The spring flowers are already blooming and bringing in some pollinators. – Ranger Dan

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Carson-Gore – Weeding and Woodchips

Hello Garden Friends, This weekend the Carson-Gore community got a big helping hand from the strong capable women in Kappa Alpha Kappa UCLA chapter. From 9 to 1 these ladies helped weed all the pathways and unloaded about 7 cubic yards of fresh woodchips on top of the bare soil. The woodchips not only give the garden…

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Holy Family School – Irrigation Renovation and Compost

Hello Garden Friends, Pleased to report that the installation at Holy Family School in South Pasadena is up and running again. After the garden got moved inside the school grounds, the community needed a little help setting up the irrigation lines again. Thursday morning Rangers Matt and Tahereh joined me to hook up the old…

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Using our senses to explore the garden

Today, the students used their senses to explore the garden. It was the first time in a few weeks that they were able to go out into the garden so we observed together what changed since the rains. My 4th grade class split into 5 groups, for each sense, and wrote a story using their…

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Rio Vista – Spring Cleaning and Garden Art

Hello Garden Friends, Ahhh yes the apple tree is blossoming and the fig tree is leafing out, the signs of spring are all around. The newly transplanted cabbage are growing quickly, as are the weeds; Thus the inspiration for todays lesson. After breezing through the intro with the third and fourth graders,  we identified the…

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Log swale construction continues

Today we continued work on our wonderful log swale. The swale will keep biomass on site, retain water, prevent erosion, and host fauna. We filled it with wildflower seeds so it will sprout and attract pollinators. We also studied how annual vegetables go to seed as once they detect a change in conditions.

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El Sereno – a garden in a day

Hello Garden Friends, Quick update and post with some photos from the work party last Saturday. We completely transformed one of the areas of the garden that had been buried under bermuda grass. It took some heavy intern labor and loads of compost and manure for sheet mulching but we got some nice rows ready…

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Sunshine and Beautiful Weather at Atwater

Week two at Atwater Elementary brought us sunshine and beautiful weather, making it the perfect day to get my young gardeners’ hands dirty. We started the week by learning the 6 different parts of a plant and all of the roles they play. Students drew the life cycle of a plant, from seed to shining…

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Bees

Students  learned about  bees and how we can protect them and provide them with food.The  diet of bees consist of pollen and nectar which they will transform into honey to feed their larvae and the colony. Flowers like sunflowers, cosmos, alyssums and snapdragons bring bees to the garden.  students learned some fun facts about bees…

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Rio Vista – The pulse of the garden

Hello Garden Friends, Take your index and middle fingers and place them on the right side of your neck, right under your chin on the side of your throat. You feel that? That’s your pulse! That’s how you know you are alive! Right now blood pumps through your veins and into your thinking mind, allowing…

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