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!

Lasting Good byes

The time has come to wrap up the school year at Frank Del Olmo, which means we get to harvest, plant and celebrate! We dug up the rest of our carrots, and found some great shapes that had been hiding underground. We also took advantage of the abundant flowers to make some flower presses. During a…
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Seed Harvesting at 3rd Street Elementary

As we wrap up a spring season and move into the summer months, there are many plants that had wonderful seeds to harvest . At 3rd Street Elementary , we discovered this month about how seeds disperse and the importance of building an heirloom collection. We then harvested dried sugar snap pea & arugula seeds…
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Painting Party at Weemes Elementary

It has been a great year at Weemes Elementary and to cap off an awesome gardening year, some parent volunteers and staff helped to repaint our wooden fence lining the edible garden. We chose a bright grass green and on our last day of class students during class and lunch came and painted inspirational artwork…
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MCP Weeks 10 & 11 – 1st harvest!

Hey gardeners, Greetings from Mid City Prescott Middle School! Felt like starting the post with a landscape shot of our garden around 5PM, the senior trees are thriving and providing more shade than wished for, specially with weather being overcast and humid these past weeks. It will be quite helpful in a few weeks when…
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West Vernon Elementary bug detectives

Detectives on the Case Students at West Vernon remove their garden gloves and put on their detective hats this week. The case? We’re looking for bugs, and the only way to find them are the clues they leave behind. Are these bugs friends or foes? How can we tell the difference? What do each of…
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Wiggly and Ziggly: Worm friends at Mid City

Our 2nd graders had a blast this month learning all about worms! We learned about their bodies, what they eat and how they contribute to the soil. We then observed a few worms up close and personal (with a couple students naming their new friends “Wiggly & Ziggly”). We then went into the garden and…
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“What’s the Soil Story?” at 6th Avenue

May was a great month at 6th Avenue! Our 5th graders got down and dirty to learn about Soil Conversation. We learned about about ways to conserve our soil including rotating certain crops, adding soil amendments and planting natives. We then did soil tests of our garden bed soil to see if we have a…
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Audubon M.S meets EnrichLA!

Hello folks, This is a happier post than usual, because is always amazing news when new schools come aboard with a gardening project for their campuses. One of our latest additions is Audubon Middle School, where we have adapted an area right next to a building for 6 raised beds. We have 3 citrus trees:…
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Kale is King at Queen Anne Elementary

No words could be more delightful to a Garden Ranger than “I love kale!”  Most of the kids found out it was worth a try and now they can’t get enough of it!  Since we can’t meet the demand with our current supplies, more kale will have to be planted next year.  Especially the purple…
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Angeles: All classes back for a week!

  Hola, After a big harvest at Angeles Mesa, we have started getting our beds ready for summer! On our last harvest our 2nd graders  helped out gathering up 15-20 lbs of red beets! And also lots of yellow chard, rosemary, strawberries and lettuces. The only two crops that will stay for the summer are…
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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 – Week 12

By David Ames | June 14, 2019

BIG NEWS! (at least for us). Really excited for our latest additions to our farm! The EnrichLA team paid us a visit, bringing a welcoming storage box to the entrance of the garden. They also brought lots of hay to cover our paths, we’ve had to mow too often since it got sunnier and with…

MCP Weeks 10 & 11 – 1st harvest!

By David Ames | June 3, 2019

Hey gardeners, Greetings from Mid City Prescott Middle School! Felt like starting the post with a landscape shot of our garden around 5PM, the senior trees are thriving and providing more shade than wished for, specially with weather being overcast and humid these past weeks. It will be quite helpful in a few weeks when…

Audubon M.S meets EnrichLA!

By David Ames | June 3, 2019

Hello folks, This is a happier post than usual, because is always amazing news when new schools come aboard with a gardening project for their campuses. One of our latest additions is Audubon Middle School, where we have adapted an area right next to a building for 6 raised beds. We have 3 citrus trees:…

Angeles: All classes back for a week!

By David Ames | May 27, 2019

  Hola, After a big harvest at Angeles Mesa, we have started getting our beds ready for summer! On our last harvest our 2nd graders  helped out gathering up 15-20 lbs of red beets! And also lots of yellow chard, rosemary, strawberries and lettuces. The only two crops that will stay for the summer are…

MCP Week 8 – Encountering new challenges

By David Ames | May 15, 2019

Gardeners, here are the updates on Mid City Prescott Farm as we’ve had some cloudy days the past days. After giving a few more days to the seeds that were planted with the students before we filled up all beds with soil, I decided to finally plant some fresh stuff, and since the weather has…

Week 7 – Reporting from MCP Farm

By David Ames | May 13, 2019

Hello gardeners, we’ll pick up where we left on last week’s post about our Pepper plants at the Mid City Prescott Farm. It’s been 6 weeks since we planted those seedlings and unfortunately they are not thriving as everything else is at the garden. If we could make one exception, it would be the red…

Pruining and weeding on these first weeks of flowering

By David Ames | May 6, 2019

Hello Hello! Mid City Prescott’s school farm is thriving! Our latest gardening action has consisted on lots and lots of weeding around our row beds, grass is doing just as well as our crops. I think rather sooner than later, we will get some mulch to lay around most of our rows. Before and after…

Mid City Prescott – Post Spring Break Maintenance

By David Ames | April 29, 2019

Hey gardeners, back to school after spring break! Impressed by how much all of our cucurbitaceae crops grew over the past 2 weeks. After figuring out the irrigation system at the beginning of the project, the plants have really settled and are growing healthy. Tomatoes and zucchinis have started to flower, the same for all…