Eating what we grew at Hamlin Charter


It’s harvest time! Neither the LAUSD teacher strike nor intermittent rain could stop us from having a tasting of vegetables planted by kindergartners last fall. Thanks, Kinders! We talked about what part of the plants we were eating. Radishes (roots), green onions (roots), lettuce (leaves), Swiss chard (leaves), broccoli (flowers), and green peas (seeds) were all pronounced tasty–well, maybe not the Swiss chard. “Just bring the Ranch dressing!” declared a 4th grader. The veggies were gobbled up by all but a couple of the pickiest of eaters.

Melanie Golder

Gardening and teaching are my two favorite things, so I feel lucky to be a Garden Ranger where I get to do both! I am a retired academic science reference librarian and middle school science teacher. I have a Master’s degree in Botany from the University of Texas at Austin as well as too many other degrees in a variety of subjects. I started my first garden as a form of meditation while I was a caregiver for my late husband and gained so much peace and enjoyment from watching my plants grow that now I can’t stop.

happy Valentine’s Day

How wonderful it is to receive a letter, postcard or a note. Nothing can compare to the feeling one gets when someone hand writes a message for someone special. Students at Eastman did that. they made their own cards and adorned them with flowers, seeds, and herbs.
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Frank Del Olmo Gardeners Get Creative!

The little hands at Frank Del Olmo have been put to work! While learning about the different parts of a plant, each student used pipe cleaner to create all the different parts – resulting in a colorful garden that they could bring back to their classroom to enjoy! .   And after the rain early in…
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Bryson Gardeners Plan Ahead!

Our Bryson Elementary garden is thriving, but not without serious help from our mini gardeners! This shady garden has caught the eye of the neighborhood squirrels – but have no fear, we have a plan of attack. The kids loved getting creative with ways to lure the pesky squirrels to the park instead. .   …
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Carrots @ Eastman E.

The cool season is in full swing and Eastman E. has carrots-lots of them. Students planted carrots seeds last autumn,  many of those seeds have sprouted and grown into yummy carrots!  Now carrots are the talk of the town, students come to garden classes eager to learn, and others volunteer their recess or lunch to…
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Multnomah Street Elementary tips the 400lbs scale

400+ lbs of greens Last week marked the end of the third grade rotation at Multnomah Street Elementary. Since September, each grade has participated in a “composting challenge” where they spend 5 weeks collecting their organic breakfast scraps. This past week upon finishing the 3rd grade lessons, the three classes combined weight  totaled a whopping 115…
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What do the colors of our fruits and vegetables mean?

Changing the way we talk about  vegetables Today at West Vernon we focused on the colors of the vegetables in our garden and how they help our bodies. Often we find that when we change our tone from “must eat” to “we eat these when…” even the pickiest eaters are enthusiastic to try something new.…
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Design Your Own Garden

This week at Rio Vista Elementary school, the fourth and fifth graders learned about the importance of biodiversity in the garden, specifically within Polyculture and Permaculture practices. We introduced this topic by thinking about food webs in nature, and how many different plants and animals both above and below the soil interact with each other.…
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No Peaking!

This week at Selma Avenue elementary school, the Kindergartners got the chance to live life like a plant…no eyes. We began class reviewing our physical senses; taste, touch, smell, hearing, and sight. We added a “secret” 6th sense of balance, and the kids all practiced balancing on one foot. Next, we tried to balance on…
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Pollination Station

This week at Toluca Lake Elementary school, students in the first and second grade learned about pollination, and the importance of pollinator animals. We started the day with our calming “bee breath,” where we make a humming sound like a bee as we exhale our breath. This breathing technique helps to soothe the nervous system…
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Angeles Mesa appreciates good soil

The Kindergardeners at Angeles Mesa delighted in digging when the soil was soft, but struggled with the hard packed clay. They could see and feel the difference, appreciating the better conditions for plants and animals.
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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!

By Sanjay Gupta | December 2, 2019

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!…

Winter Garden Bounty and Seed Saving at Bushnell Elementary

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

Returning from winter break last week students were excited to get out into the garden and see the changes brought about by nearly 31/2 inches of rain! After exploring the garden a bit and snacking on the cherry tomatoes still thriving there we sat down to talk about water conservation. The students were surprised to…

Plants are Alive too! Investigating Leaves at Bushnell Elementary

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

This week’s lesson was all about seeds at Bushnell elementary. Students broke open pre-soaked pinto beans to discover the baby plants inside. Once located they shouted with excitement, “Look, I found the embryo!” Students then used magnifying glasses to get a closer look. After talking about the parts of a seed and what they need…

Angeles Mesa appreciates good soil

By Harriet Shaham | January 30, 2020

The Kindergardeners at Angeles Mesa delighted in digging when the soil was soft, but struggled with the hard packed clay. They could see and feel the difference, appreciating the better conditions for plants and animals.

42nd Street students value the soil

By Harriet Shaham | January 30, 2020

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.

Audubon students enjoying the benefits of insects

By Harriet Shaham | January 30, 2020

The students at Audubon Middle School were getting down and dirty learning about the beneficial insects, helping the decomposers make compost, petting live worms and keeping the soil moist for both the plants and bugs. Getting to know the worms that help is grow plants Sorting insects by how each benefits us Teamwork in keeping…