Vernal Equinox/No-rooz


March brings with it the first day of spring. The vernal equinox. A time for rebirth, and a fresh start, not just in our gardens but in our lives. We got to learn the physical and symbolic importance of the moment when night and day are equal and the sun shines directly on the equator. This important balance in nature, something to strive for in our own lives as well.

Starting March 19, stretching to its modern day version of earth day on April 22, many cultures around the world celebrate this time of year in one fashion or another. Many of these celebrations are markers of a new beginning and treat the vernal equinox as the first day of the New Year.

In North America the Native Americans, are the primary group celebrating this day with prayer, dance and music at the time of the equinox. The most common association with the vernal equinox however is Norooz (new day) celebrated by all Iranians world over and in countries where the Persian Empire ruled thousands of years back.

The tradition of sprouting wheat and growing it in a platter, to be laid on a festive spring table called the Haft Seen (Seven S’s) is where we began our cultural journey three weeks back.


As the wheat grew slowly, the children learned about the symbolic significance of these seven items laid on the spread – all denoting an aspect of growth, a healthy harvest, healthy lives and bodies, wisdom, wealth, happiness, fertility and eternal sunshine in the new year.

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Even though we weren’t ushering in the equinox at 3.30 am on March 20 together, we did get to eat a traditional Iranian breakfast at 8am on this first day of spring along with boiled eggs painted by our interns and some of the children.

To all our gardens!

Tahereh Sheerazie

Tahereh likes to hike, bike, quilt, cook and most of all garden. She has been a garden ranger with EnrichLa since January 2015. She teaches middle school children, many of whom have special needs which has necessitated a slow, mindful approach to place based garden education. Improving soil, making compost, harvesting water, growing natives and ancient grains and journal writing, is what she enjoys doing most with the children.

Food Making Factory!

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happy Valentine’s Day

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What do the colors of our fruits and vegetables mean?

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Slow down, and the garden comes to life!

By Sanjay Gupta | December 18, 2019

This week Castelar students were taken for an observational walk in the garden since it’s been raining most weeks during class. Students used the knowledge they learned over the semester to identify plants and scratch & sniff things that have wonderful aromas. There were insects climbing around, and one in particular was a sure show-stopper!…

Worms Worms Worms!

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This week we learned all about worms and how important they are to the garden! It was raining inside, and Ranger Sanjay has a worm bin so he brought it in for all the kids to see. There were hundreds of them and we learned about how their “castings” are super healthy for garden plants.…

Meeting Garden Friends at Bushnell and El Sereno Elementary

By Zina Denevan | February 19, 2020

This session of garden class at Bushnell Way and El Sereno Elementary is all about garden friends and garden foes. During the first week I introduced the students to a couple foes that I brought from my home garden, aphids and green cabbage worms. Last week they met some important friends of the garden, ladybugs!…

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By Zina Denevan | January 21, 2020

Last week Bushnell third graders explored the garden and looked for plants that had gone to seed (lavender and Basil) and others with visible seeds (strawberries and snap peas). We then talked about the practice of seed saving. the students were eager to try for themselves! I passed out dried sage and lavender flowers and…

Learning about Water Conservation with Fifth and Sixth Graders at El Sereno Elementary

By Zina Denevan | January 20, 2020

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By Zina Denevan | November 13, 2019

After discussing plant respiration (plants breathe too!) Bushnell elementary 1st and 2nd graders used magnifying glasses to search for evidence. The students were delighted to discover tiny bubbles of oxygen coming from their submerged leaves. To help the concepts sink in we alternated between breathing like humans and animals (inhaling oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide)…

Seed Exploration at Bushnell Elementary

By Zina Denevan | September 21, 2019

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As the students of 42nd Street Elementary School learned the necessity of healthy soil to grow our food, they had opportunities to personally handle the different components and feel the ease of digging with tools.