Rio Vista – First generation seedlings

Hello Garden Friends,

In tandem with the mud brick post, teaching the children how to make their own seedlings has been a process a few weeks in the making. I can’t tell you how many lessons I have gotten out of our new seedling station.. oh wait, I can – in this blog post!

Our first lesson highlighted the difference between the seasons and whether or not we should plant peas or beans based on hot or cold temperatures. Follow the link for a recap!

Rio Vista - From the Nursery to the Garden - 1 of 3To the right, you can see the students counting how many had seeds had sprouted in just one week! As they were counting I gave them one question for the day. If answered correctly, the whole class could enjoy free time. What was that question you ask? “Based on how many seedlings sprouted, how many seeds would we have to plant if we wanted each student in the class to take home a sprouted seed today?” Fractions!! Yayy!! I’ve been trying more to incorporate math into real world settings and the seedlings gave me an opening. We first counted the total number of seedlings, then the number that sprouted and made a fraction that represented our germination percentage. After figuring out how many students in the class, we divided the total by the germination percentage and presto.. class was almost over. While useful, I might have gone a little over their heads on this one. I’ll save this problem for the 5th graders, haha!

While waiting for the seedlings to grow a bit more we did the mud brick activities and soon enough it was time to transplant! Moving the plants into the garden is such a special time. Organic gardening heavily relies on this process to make sure that the favored plants are taller than the weeds growing in the soil. Below you can see the students carefully holding the plants as they stand lined up along the raised bed. Half of the students dug the holes while the other half planted them in the garden. The transplanters teased the roots out of the plastic package and gently loosened the roots to get accommodated to the new soil.

Until next time,

Farmer Jeff

Rio Vista - From the Nursery to the Garden - 3 of 3

Jeff Mailes

Jeff Mailes is a garden designer and environmental educator working out of Woodland Hills, CA. A Los Angeles County Master Gardener and UC Davis Alumni, Jeff earned his B.S. in Environmental Resource Science in 2012 and has been growing edibles and natives for the past 6 years. Jeff's passion for plants and garden education has led him to school gardens from Los Angeles to Sacramento and all the way up to Portland, Oregon. Now familiar with ecosystems across the West Coast, Jeff has settled back home and works to bring people together over food and inspire the next generation of earth stewards to leave it better than they found it. When not writing about himself in the third person, Jeff enjoys singing with his guitar, going on camping and hiking excursions, and tossing a frisbee around with his friends.