Delevan Drive Learns About The Secret Life of Soil

A Young Sunflower Sprout

Delevan’s second lesson focused on the importance of soil knowledge and a healthy soil foundation. Since healthy sediment is full of nutrition for the plants to absorb for growth, it is imperative that we replenish those nutrients organically instead of modern agricultural’s false panacea with chemicals. This brought our attention to worms, those very helpful and skilled tunnel diggers will also help with nutrition (Nitrogen) replenishment, better drainage and aeration for the soil. They are some hard workers!

We broke down soil into three types (sand, silt, and clay) and reviewed their characteristics to determine which are best to host plants. Sand has the largest particles of the three types and as a result, it cannot hold water well. However, silt has smaller grains than sand, which allows it to hold water well. But it can blow away easily in harsh weather such as rain or heavy winds. Lastly, clay has very fine grains, which also allows it to absorb water and makes it very dense. This density can create trouble and prevent movement for any plant trying to spread out in clay. We concluded with loam: the best soil combination made of silt, clay and sand that maximizes all of their potential and provides the best environment for plants.

The students then explored the different types of soil in their garden: the three tiers and soil outside the lower beds offered the most contrast to the bed soil. We finished with a soil test to use their newfound soil knowledge, with each carefully observing a handful of dirt from every corner of the garden. Several found loam in the beds, with others found soil more akin to clay or sand. Some described the sediment they found as “rocky, dry, grainy, dusty, and moist”.

Searching for some soil

Searching for some soil

A Young Sunflower Sprout

A Young Sunflower Sprout

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Think you know your soil well?

Shylana Roman

Shylana (Shy-lane-uh) would say that the two greatest loves in her life so far have been gardening, and a deep emotional bond with sandwiches. Her hometown is Chelsea, MA (right by Boston), and she has lived in Los Angeles for seven years now. It took her a while before she could really notice and appreciate the beautiful and diverse nature that exists in a city in a desert. The bright poppy colors make even the rainy days colorful with the clear skies and strong contrast of the blooming succulents. The scents of the jasmine and citrus trees are especially enticing in Highland Park, where she currently lives. There is nothing more rewarding than when a student asks her if they can spend their recess in the garden. That's how she knows she is doing her job right!

Vine St Sustainable Students

In March, Vine St students created serious solutions to reducing waste. Recycling, reducing, and reusing doesn’t only mean using the blue bins in our backyard (which we absolutely should). We can also donate clothes, shoes, toys, and lots of other things. We can take plastic water bottles and make them into planters. We can buy…
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Gardner’s Plant Experiment

In March, Gardner scientists took Masaru Emoto’s water crystal experiment and started a plant experiment. They had six different studies running at once. The experiments as follows: Plants that receive positive words Plants that receive negative words Plants that is in the sun but gets no water Plants that receive water but no sunlight Plants that are…
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Arroyo Seco’s Worms Are Cool!

Who thinks are gross? Not us! Worms have five hearts, are blind, and have no noses but who else makes the best compost with little fuss? In March, Arroyo Seco learned about worms, what they like to eat, and about vermicompost. It’s easy to build a vermicompost. You can buy a plastic bin, makes hole…
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OLPH Garden is Thriving!

The garden at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Downey is doing great! There is a variety of seedlings growing and students continue to help with composting.  
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Mid City Prescott – April 9th and 17th: More planting, prepping, pruning + GRUBS!

Hola! Spring break 2019 is here for LAUSD, and at MCP we are excited and ready for all the crops to start thriving within the next few weeks. This week decided to spent two days at the (coolest) school farm since won’t access to it next week. Efforts were dedicated to ensure the correct operation…
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New Tumblers at Carson Gore Academy

Carson Gore Academy hasn’t had a tumbler up until now, but we’ve still been going over the fundamentals of composting.  The kids were eager to get started and our new green pails have been employed to help keep things separated.  Banana peels and apple cores from breakfast are being brought to the garden by the…
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Flowers, Flowers, everywhere!

Spring is (definitely) here! Well, “spring”– it was quite hot in DTLA for the last few weeks. Our class with Academy Leadership Community (ALC)  at Miguel Contreras Learning Complex is in the early afternoon so we can feel that heat! Of course, these kind of things are always a good opportunity for learning and teaching–…
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Composting at home = Beautiful Gardens at home

The more we compost, the more “texture” get in our edible garden at home. https://web.extension.illinois.edu/homecompost/benefits.cfm “Incorporating compost into soil dramatically improves soil structure. Soil structure refers to how inorganic particles (sand, silt, clay) combine with decayed organic particles (compost, humus). Soil with good structure has a crumbly texture, drains well, retains some moisture, and is…
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Fearless Kale Eaters

  This Los Angeles version of spring is upon us, preemptively sending lettuces to bolt, premature marigolds to flower, and beans to pack-it-in. We’ve sadly had to watch (and taste) our super sweet snap peas go from juicy candy to cellulose-y seed bombs, but behold!—our leafy greens—rainbow chard, lacinato kale, and purple kale have become…
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Here Comes the Sun, Valley View!

Longer days mean that here in Los Angeles we have officially switched over from one planting season to the next.  For my veteran students there is no question as to what changes are taking place out in the garden!  They know that flowering plants mean it’s time to take note and start saving those seeds.…
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Fearless Kale Eaters

By Alicia Papanek | April 12, 2019

  This Los Angeles version of spring is upon us, preemptively sending lettuces to bolt, premature marigolds to flower, and beans to pack-it-in. We’ve sadly had to watch (and taste) our super sweet snap peas go from juicy candy to cellulose-y seed bombs, but behold!—our leafy greens—rainbow chard, lacinato kale, and purple kale have become…

OLPH Garden is Thriving!

By Soinia Burgueno | April 17, 2019

The garden at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Downey is doing great! There is a variety of seedlings growing and students continue to help with composting.  

Mid City Prescott – April 9th and 17th: More planting, prepping, pruning + GRUBS!

By David Ames | April 15, 2019

Hola! Spring break 2019 is here for LAUSD, and at MCP we are excited and ready for all the crops to start thriving within the next few weeks. This week decided to spent two days at the (coolest) school farm since won’t access to it next week. Efforts were dedicated to ensure the correct operation…

Mid City Prescott – A LARGER THAN GARDEN , SMALLER THAN FARM 2 (3/26 – 4/2 2019)

By David Ames | April 5, 2019

WE ARE TRYING A LARGER SCALE PLANTING AT THIS SITE Tomas And over to David!   And off we go at Mid City Prescott Middle School! After a few days of planning, designing and creating the new gardening rows, we have now planted what will be our first crops of the season. The school has…

Hummingbirds feasting @ oregano flower

By David Ames | March 22, 2019

2nd rotation of the year started at Angeles Mesa Elementary. K, 1st and 3rd graders have been interacting with the garden and enjoying Unit 1. 3rd graders are so intrigued and curious about bugs, they liked the Friends & Foes lesson a lot! We recently harvested arugula, more radishes, chard; and have planted sweet snow…

Freshening Angeles Mesa Elementary

By David Ames | January 31, 2019

We have been super excited and entertained during our first Unit at Angeles Mesa. Kids from Pre-K, K and 5th grade have enjoyed learning and interacting with plants and garden. EnrichLA resumed activities at Angeles Mesa in the middle of November, bumping into a few days-off due to Thanksgiving, Winter Break, and then the strike,…

Flowers, Flowers, everywhere!

By Marina Frugone | April 16, 2019

Spring is (definitely) here! Well, “spring”– it was quite hot in DTLA for the last few weeks. Our class with Academy Leadership Community (ALC)  at Miguel Contreras Learning Complex is in the early afternoon so we can feel that heat! Of course, these kind of things are always a good opportunity for learning and teaching–…

Getting organized at Taking the Reins

By Marina Frugone | November 21, 2018

“How do we know when to harvest?”  aaaah…. a hunch? a feel? it smells right? fruit’s the right size? Why don’t we make a harvest calendar! Pulling out the trusty UC Master Gardener Handbook and looking up the approximate harvest time for each of our plants. The girls are attentive!    Also, though it is…

A world beneath our feet… ALC students dig it up

By Marina Frugone | November 21, 2018

“Eeeeeewwwwwwwwww!” said ALC student. “What did I do?” said squirmy worm exposed to the sunlight. “Worms are amazing. Here, grab one and I’ll tell you about what they do” said Garden Ranger. “Their poop is really good for the plants and they create air pockets for roots. Worms are legit.” said other ALC student. ”…

Sprouts for the Sprouts at Mid-City’s Prescott

By Marina Frugone | November 20, 2018

The 1st and 2nd graders of Mid-City’s Prescott School of Enriched Sciences (the sprouts, the 3rd, 4th and 5th graders are the seedlings…) watched these radish babies grow from seed to seedling and last week we discovered why root vegetables sometimes grow hugging each other…like these carrots… Once roots start to grow and grow under…