Stewardship at Taking the Reins

Every Sunday I teach at Taking the Reins, a non-profit dedicated to building their four core concepts: responsibility, confidence, teamwork and leadership to teen girls in LA. Last Sunday, our main lesson was on garden troubleshooting and land stewardship where we made a list of things to do when you walk into the garden: watch for pests, check that every plant is close to its drip irrigation, pull out weeds, deadhead and harvest where necessary. Then, one of the students shared her current interest in herbal remedies from native plants and herbs, so I discussed the ecological importance of planting perennials and indigenous species in any garden.

Now it was time to get our bodies moving! Into the garden we went… The picture on the left is from the end of the summer, on the left is last Sunday! After weeding out, clearing most of the squash and leveling, the students gathered rocks and created a team system to pass them, dig, place, and step. It was important also to remind the students that gardens can thrive from imperfections. For example, the ground might be better off not being totally and perfectly level as it can direct water flow to different areas.

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Marina Frugone

Marina Frugone

Purple Kale is a Huge Hit at T.S. King Middle School

Since we’ve been working together in the garden for almost 3 months now, we are happy to have so much to harvest. Carrots, onions, radishes, broccoli, a variety of lettuces, and a crazy amount of kale! So this week we decided to do some outdoor cooking and make a cheesy purple kale dip that we could…
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Pride in Our Garden at T.S. King Middle School

One of the big challenges of a school garden is to make it useable for all–it shouldn’t be a museum where students can only look at what is inside or a pristine place limited to only the kids who are enrolled in a garden class. At King, we are lucky to have a garden that…
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From Earthworms to Kale Tacos at KIPP Comienza

Garden time this month for our friends at KIPP Comienza involved learning about compost, harvesting, and the butterfly cycle. Our compost lesson began with a short lesson on the compost cycle and was followed by a card game they played in pairs. We played with three different cycles: apples, bananas, and pumpkins; the objective was…
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Worms Are Our Friends at Bushnell Way Elementary!

I had let the students know I was going to bring worms so they were all very excited. When the class of kindergarteners came into the garden, they immediately swarmed around me asking “are we going to see the worms today?!” I laughed and said yes. They eyed my large worm farm container with excitement.…
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Discovering Seeds at El Sereno Elementary

The students at El Sereno Elementary discovered that seeds come in all different shapes and sizes. They had fun investigating the seeds and guessing what plant the seed would turn into. And then finding some of the plants in our garden! We examined lima beans and cut them in half in order to see all…
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A Compost Relay at Atwater Elementary

One of the 4th grade classes at Atwater Elementary participated in a compost relay race. It was pouring rain outside in the garden so we had the race in the library. The students were placed in 5 different groups and had to complete 8 tasks to finish the race. Before we started the race, we…
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The Wait for Water is Over- Berendo is Blooming!

This month at Berendo Middle School, the students learned about the soil pie chart, producers & consumers, climates & seasons, and parts of plants. This was these students first exposure to the garden so there was lots to learn! With the construction going on, the water had been turned off for a couple weeks so…
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Ladybugs, Seeds, & Weeds at 2nd Street!

This month, the students at 2nd Street Elementary learned about dirt, friends & foes, seasons, and parts of plants. This was these students’ first exposure to the garden class so we were starting from ground zero- very exciting! For the “Let’s Talk Dirt” lesson, the students got their hands dirty touching some wet clay soil…
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Vine St Gardeners

This month Vine St students worked hard on creating a good environment to cultivate and grow new plants. We learned about what we can compost and where we can put our food scraps to make healthy organic matter to add to our beds. We learned about water conservation and spread hay over our beds to…
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Sherlock Gardner Detectives

This month at Gardner Elementary, we talked about the importance of composting and reducing our waste in the world and built a compost pile when they can easily be taken to create new things, new life. We learned about what native plants means and talked about the benefits and deficits of growing non-native plants in…
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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…

Stewardship at Taking the Reins

By Marina Frugone | November 20, 2018

Every Sunday I teach at Taking the Reins, a non-profit dedicated to building their four core concepts: responsibility, confidence, teamwork and leadership to teen girls in LA. Last Sunday, our main lesson was on garden troubleshooting and land stewardship where we made a list of things to do when you walk into the garden: watch…

Growing in the City…

By Marina Frugone | November 5, 2018

Between Westlake (McArthur Park) and Downtown LA you’ll find Miguel Contreras Learning Complex, a high school made up of several ‘sub’ schools. One of them, the Academic Leadership Community or simply ALC. The after school garden group meets every Tuesday from 1:30-3PM in a small but oh so mighty garden overlooking downtown. From day one,…

The Wait for Water is Over- Berendo is Blooming!

By Catherine Siefert | November 30, 2018

This month at Berendo Middle School, the students learned about the soil pie chart, producers & consumers, climates & seasons, and parts of plants. This was these students first exposure to the garden so there was lots to learn! With the construction going on, the water had been turned off for a couple weeks so…

Ladybugs, Seeds, & Weeds at 2nd Street!

By Catherine Siefert | November 30, 2018

This month, the students at 2nd Street Elementary learned about dirt, friends & foes, seasons, and parts of plants. This was these students’ first exposure to the garden class so we were starting from ground zero- very exciting! For the “Let’s Talk Dirt” lesson, the students got their hands dirty touching some wet clay soil…

Getting Kids Going with Composting @ Micheltorena

By Alex Arciniega | October 29, 2018

Kids are awesome! No, really, they are! They intuitively get things that take adults years to understand, and they don’t have all of these ingrained barriers. With that said, let’s get dirty. Compost. EWWWWWW right? Not really as it turns out, I only heard one “ew” from my classes and we moved on. I was…

Adjusting Lessons for Autistic and Special Needs Kids @ Micheltorena

By Alex Arciniega | October 29, 2018

One of my biggest challenges has been teaching children on the autism spectrum, not because they are different, but because I had such a limited scope of what these kids are able to accomplish individually. Initially, I believed that the lessons were too complicated for them to grasp, and after seeing how well they adjusted…

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle @ Micheltorena

By Alex Arciniega | October 29, 2018

The kids at Micheltorena had a great time with our reduce, reuse, recycle lesson. Not only were the kids already fairly aware about recycling, but they were ready to get their hands dirty by helping me sort items we use on an everyday basis at home. After reviewing definitions of reduce, reuse, recycle, we laid…

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