Sustainability in the Garden at Glenfeliz

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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 means we will be seeing some classic fall produce and lots of leafy greens that will be able to thrive throughout the fall and winter months!

For our lesson this week, we started with the basic concept of sustainability and worked to expand that term to our practices in the garden. We defined sustainability as, “the act of using resources only up to or below the point of their depletion” and also more simply as, “using things for as long as possible.” With that in mind, we spoke about recycling plastic and paper to minimize the amount we must continually produce by reusing it as frequently as possible. In the spirit of the upcoming holiday, we also talked about how students could sustainably eat their Halloween candy – having a little bit at a time over a long period of time rather than eating it all at once so that it would be gone sooner. Once students began understanding the idea of sustainability and things they can do at home or in their lives to be sustainable, we turned our focus to practicing sustainability in the garden.

Compost in the garden is maybe the best example of sustainability – it is the garden version of recycling. We take dead and unused plant parts and add them to our compost, which over time turns that plant matter into hyper-rich soil that can be added to our garden beds and encourage new plant growth. Instead of throwing the plants away, we can continue to use them which in turn helps our new plants grow – this is a great example of sustainable practice. Next, we observed as a class how to harvest leafy greens by pulling only a few at a time and always from the bottom of the stalk – encouraging new leafs to continue growing so we won’t have to plant all new plants. Lastly, we talked about how we plant multiple different plants in the garden as a way to keep the soil diverse and healthy rather than depleting it by only growing one type of plant. This way, our soil continues to get richer and we will not need to bring new soil into the garden!

We continue our investigations into plant life and how gardens play an important role in our own lives whether we always notice or not!

-Farmer Ted

Teddy Menard

Hi there! I'm Farmer Ted. I love nurturing plants throughout their growth from little seeds to nutrient-rich produce. As an educator, there is no more important space for me to share knowledge with youth than in the garden, where my experience as a chef also informs my relationship to the things that we grow and the creative ways we can approach our harvests!

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