Calvert – Kindergaten Wrapup


Hello garden friends, 

Today we look back at all the magical moments we shared with the Kindergarten classes. Our first class was extremely foundational. Learning the garden rules and practicing. 1. Respect all life. 2. Don’t pick or eat plants unless Farmer Jeff says its OK. 3. Leave the garden better than you found it. After call and repeating the rules we put on our garden hats and practiced the rules outside – treating the bugs with care, washing and tasting some chard, and picking up trash on the way out.


The second week we talked about the 6 plant parts. Roots, stems, leaves, flowers, fruits, and seeds. We then took turns naming examples of foods we eat that come from different plant parts. Roots (carrots), Stems (potatoes), Leaves (lettuce), Flowers (broccoli), Seeds (cashews). Afterwards, we went to the garden to pick some carrots. These ones were red!

After plant parts, we moved onto bugs. I find kids are much more intrigued by things they can watch move around, often times the temptation to pick up these little creepy crawlies is overwhelming. So, we practice imagining how a bug feels when a giant comes down and takes it away from its job/family/food. “How would you feel if a giant came into your house and pulled you away from your family?” Most of the students are able to empathize with these fragile soil builders after that.

Below are pictures of some mystery eggs that we placed inside a water bottle to watch what they would hatch into. Below that is a picture of a cabbage moth caterpillar spinning its cocoon and entering the next stage of life.

Moving on to the final weeks of our time together we talked about corn. Arguably the most influential plant in our society, we talked about the different parts of the corn plant. Soda, tortillas, corn bread, cereal, even hot cheetos would not be possible without processing corn. We talked about all the foods that come from corn, and then we ate some.. in the form of popcorn.

The cooking lesson utilized a small propane powered camping stove. We talked about how the water inside the seed expands when its hot. After the water expands beyond the maximum pressure of the seed coat, the seed coat fails and blows out the energy and protein of the seed..making a fluffy and tasty treat.

Mmm.. popcorn, nothing like ending the year with a tasty snack!

Until next time,

Jeff Mailes


Jeff Mailes

Jeff Mailes is a garden designer and environmental educator working out of Woodland Hills, CA. A Los Angeles County Master Gardener and UC Davis Alumni, Jeff earned his B.S. in Environmental Resource Science in 2012 and has been growing edibles and natives for the past 6 years. Jeff's passion for plants and garden education has led him to school gardens from Los Angeles to Sacramento and all the way up to Portland, Oregon. Now familiar with ecosystems across the West Coast, Jeff has settled back home and works to bring people together over food and inspire the next generation of earth stewards to leave it better than they found it. When not writing about himself in the third person, Jeff enjoys singing with his guitar, going on camping and hiking excursions, and tossing a frisbee around with his friends.

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