Garden Air Fresheners

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 5.41.50 PM

Does your car smell stale? Could your sock drawer use a little freshening up? Got a funky scent in your laundry basket? Never fear, the kindergarteners of Glassel Park Elementary are here! This little project took us two weeks to complete, but boy, was it worth it. First, the students picked which “smells” they wanted in their air fresheners. They were able to choose from lavender, thyme, rosemary, lemon balm, mint and basil; all harvested from our very own garden. Then, the students made little cards to help identify who picked which scent. With the help of my high-tech dehydrator (aka my car on a hot day), I dried out the little nosegays and brought them back the next week. Students were returned their cards and collection of aromatics and given a piece of an old bed sheet. With a helping hand, they crushed up their plants and tied them into a little bundle to make a perfect satchel for their local potpourri. Students were very excited to give their parents their creations and many of them declared they were going to put them in “their” car. While I do not know about kindergarteners driving cars, I am happy their lives will smell just a little bit better.


Michelle Alger-Mintie

Michelle Alger-Mintie is an urban farmer and garden educator. She grew up in Los Angeles County and studied Environmental Studies at UC Santa Cruz. For the past 5 years she has worked on farms, in food distribution, in greenhouses, with special needs students and as a non profit program coordinator; all the time striving to make LA healthier, greener, better. She also currently works as a private edible gardener and makes vegetables beds out of pallets in her free time. To engage her services, send an email to

All About Cilantro at Aspire Gateway

Yes, cilantro is a common herb that most of the kids know is used in the Latin American cuisine. They definitely knew a sprinkling on a taco, pozole or rice gives food a punch of flavor…yum!  But what they didn’t know is that cilantro in also used heavily in the Philippines, Thailand and India. We…
Read More

A Bountiful Harvest

Atwater Elementary is booming with so many plants that are ready to harvest, so the 3rd graders and 5th graders spent their classes making a delicious salad and having a harvest party! We harvested mustard greens and leafy lettuce, chopped them up and put them in a big bowl. We harvested the broccoli and Chinese…
Read More

Warm and Cool Season Planting

The 5th graders had a lesson about our climate, which is a Mediterranean climate. This means we have mild winters and hot summers. So we really have two planting seasons, a warm and a cool season. So it’s easy for us to grow food all year long. The warm season crops, which we plant in…
Read More


The 5th graders were so excited to study worms! We discussed the main jobs of a worm — to make tunnels in the soil, eat rotten food, and make soil. We talked about where worms live, their senses, their anatomy, and their diet. Worms do not have eyes. They are very sensitive to bright light…
Read More

Brand New Garden at Erwin Elementary

Erwin Elementary has a brand new garden! The first rotation of garden classes started with three 5th grade classes. Their very first lesson was learning the parts of a seed. We discussed the seed coat which has the job of protecting the seed. We talked about the food storage that gives the seed the nutrients…
Read More

Seed Saving

The 3rd graders spent their class learning how to collect seeds from plants. We discussed that it is important to save seeds to ensure bio and genetic diversity and long term success of a species. We also talked about how early agricultural civilizations saved seeds to plant crops because they did not have a store…
Read More

Loving Leaves at Valley View

Our last class of 2019 was held on a sunny and brisk day at Valley View Elementary.   First graders spent a lot of time discussing the importance of leaves and how they are the plant’s food source and large reason for growth!  We ended our discussion by selecting leaves from mature plants in the…
Read More

Green Energy ~ Woodlawn

For the past four weeks I’ve been blessed to have two Nutrition students from Cal State LA, assist me in my garden lessons here at Woodlawn elementary.  These two were such an asset to the program.  They were excited to dive in and research nutritional aspects as well as help me with garden tasks. Here…
Read More

Radish Hunt~Woodlawn

Radishes are a great seed to plant year round.  Here in Southern California, these little seeds germinate quickly during Spring, Summer and Fall.  They can be tricky to to grow though. Sometimes they only grow leaves and fail to produce a bulbous root.  Mostly this is due to root disturbance during the time when the…
Read More

Winter Harvest~ Ramona

The Ramona Elementary garden is small but it sure can produce a fair amount of produce. Broccoli and collard greens are abundant right now. So are the mint, lemon balm and snap peas. The office and staff got most of the harvest but we used some of the ingredients to make a Winter salad.  We dressed…
Read More

Slow down, and the garden comes to life!

By Sanjay Gupta | December 18, 2019

This week Castelar students were taken for an observational walk in the garden since it’s been raining most weeks during class. Students used the knowledge they learned over the semester to identify plants and scratch & sniff things that have wonderful aromas. There were insects climbing around, and one in particular was a sure show-stopper!…

Worms Worms Worms!

By Sanjay Gupta | December 2, 2019

This week we learned all about worms and how important they are to the garden! It was raining inside, and Ranger Sanjay has a worm bin so he brought it in for all the kids to see. There were hundreds of them and we learned about how their “castings” are super healthy for garden plants.…

Learning about Water Conservation with Fourth and Fifth Graders at El Sereno Elementary

By Zina Denevan | January 20, 2020

Returning from winter break last week the students were excited to get out into the garden and see the changes brought about by nearly 31/2 inches of rain! After exploring the garden a bit and snacking on the cherry tomatoes still thriving there we sat down to talk about water conservation. The students were surprised…

Plants are Alive too! Investigating Leaves at Bushnell Elementary

By Zina Denevan | November 13, 2019

After discussing plant respiration (plants breathe too!) Bushnell elementary 1st and 2nd graders used magnifying glasses to search for evidence. The students were delighted to discover tiny bubbles of oxygen coming from their submerged leaves. To help the concepts sink in we alternated between breathing like humans and animals (inhaling oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide)…

Seed Exploration at Bushnell Elementary

By Zina Denevan | September 21, 2019

This week’s lesson was all about seeds at Bushnell elementary. Students broke open pre-soaked pinto beans to discover the baby plants inside. Once located they shouted with excitement, “Look, I found the embryo!” Students then used magnifying glasses to get a closer look. After talking about the parts of a seed and what they need…

42nd Street Students delighted to decorate

By Harriet Shaham | December 18, 2019

Indoors and outdoors, the students at 42nd Street School were delighted to decorate their school with images related to gardening and growing

Angeles Mesa kindergarteners thrilled about compost

By Harriet Shaham | December 18, 2019

The kindergarten students were excited to learn about how compost feeds other plants, and they were energized to help tear up weeds and other plants to facilitate decomposition.

Audubon Middle students gentle with seedlings

By Harriet Shaham | December 18, 2019

The middle school students at Audubon were so gentle as they planted seedlings

Kindergarteners love the garden at Angeles Mesa

By Harriet Shaham | November 28, 2019

Kindergardeners loves all the hands on exploring and work at Angeles Mesa. They proudly shared their successes in weeding many of the beds. Upon discovering a monarch Caterpillar, the children oohed and ahhed at its unique pattern. Before planting seeds, each youth examined and admired the potential plants they could create. Finally, the youngsters took…

42nd Street Elementary students help the decomposers

By Harriet Shaham | November 28, 2019

Learning about how bugs help the process of decomposition, the students at 42nd Street School were energized to aid in the process of breaking down weeds and other leaves to help create compost fertilizer.