Calvert – Transplantation and Compost Relay

Hello Garden Friends,


Last week at Calvert was the last week I will get to teach the third graders this year. These students were the first students that got to use the greenhouse, and I have been hung up on the fact that they never got to plant any seedlings. How can this be?! Well, let me tell you – here at Calvert we have established the “pay-it-forward” seed starter system whereby the incumbent greenhouse managers grow seeds for the following class. The next class then plants the seedlings and continues the cycle by planting seedlings for the following cohort. The system was established because it is really hard to get seedlings ready for transplant within the 6-week period that I have them. I think this system has the added benefit of getting students to let go of the “that’s mine” mentality and think more about community and the health of the garden as a whole.


Unfortunately, the system does not benefit the cycle starters (except for maybe warm fuzzy gratification derived from altruistic doing-goodness). So, I started some seedlings at home and brought them in for the third graders to plant. Now my heart is at ease.. Phew!

After planting the seedlings we did a little compost relay, rolling our tumblers around obstacles and back to aerate the compost. That was pretty fun, and the kids don’t seem to mind doing hard physical work. Next time, I’ll ¬†make sure that the tumblers weigh about the same.. though it did give one team a valid excuse for why they lost…

Anyhow, class ended with a fond farewell, and a nice see-you-next-year vibe.


Until next week,

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.