Companion planting

For our second class on December 1st,I thought it would be great for the kids to learn about companion planting.

We started off by seeing what the class remembers about their friends and foes. What was good or bad about them, or just simply what they remembered about it. Then, we made a connection of how companion planting can help rebel some foes in the garden as well. Companion planting not only helps with fighting foes, but can provide other good things for different veggies growing in the garden, so we took the example of The Three Sisters. I still have some dried corn stalks in the garden, as well as our black-eyed beans, and used that for our example. We had three volunteers from each class, two held the corn stalks and one held the bean (stalk), and we had an imaginary squash growing below them. We talked about some benefits that each one provides, the corn provides a surface for the bean to grow nice and tall! The bean provides nitrogen for the soil. The squash with its spike like leaves fights some foes off, provides ground cover, which means shade and not letting weeds get sun to grow, as well as keeping moisture in the soil!

Our three volunteers!

Our three volunteers!

We then played a quick game of companion planting, the upper grades got their individual card, and the younger grades partnered up. Then they had to find a partner or group that their fruit or veggie “likes”, which was a companion. After our fun game, the upper grades had the chance of planting lettuce and broccoli as they are good companions. The lower grades got to search the garden for companions while I prepared them a nice little treat!

Showing each other what their veggies likes or dislikes during the game.

Showing each other what their veggies likes or dislikes during the game.

Seedlings going in!

Seedlings going in!

Lettuce and broccoli going into the garden beds!

Lettuce and broccoli going into the garden beds!

Swiss Chard and Radish with a rice vinegar dressing to end the class!

Swiss Chard and Radish with a rice vinegar dressing to end the class!

-Ranger Cindy