We had a great beet harvest at San Pedro recently. After pulling some gorgeous beauties from our garden, we bi-sectected a beet to see how the nutrients travel from the root up to the leaves. We talked about how beets are high in vitamin C, and how beet juice is a traditional natural dye! Then we sliced those sweet raw beets up, drizzled them in fresh lime juice and olive oil, sprinkled them with fresh basil from our garden and munched them all up! Delicious!
…and our discussion of good critters and bad critters in the garden, a Black Widow spider showed her scary face amidst the strawberries at San Pedro!
While spiders in the garden are usually very welcome, since they snack on ants, moths and other plant munching foes, Black Widow spider bites are dangerous and can even be fatal to our young gardeners!
So unfortunately, Ms. B. Widow had to ‘relocate’.
The same went for her eggs. Safety first!
The end of the summer growing season has come and all the gardens are getting a make-over! At San Pedro, old tomato plants have been removed and new beet seeds have just begun to sprout!
San Pedro students turned into a bunch of hungry pollinators in the garden!
Many of the students knew that bees, hummingbirds and butterflies were important pollinators, but they didn’t know exactly why or how they pollinated the plants in the garden. To illustrate the pollinators’ important role, we studied some beautiful Irises!
We discovered that the pollen is formed on the anthers, the orange-powder covered stalks on the outer circle, and the eggs — which will become seeds when fertilized — are located at the bottom of the pistil, the long stalk in the center.
Of course, everyone knew that the bees collected pollen to make honey. But what in the world do the butterflies and hummingbirds want?
Well, in addition to containing the eggs, the pistil is full of delicious nectar that the hummingbirds drink with their long beaks, and the butterflies drink with their uncurled proboscis. This is where they get their energy! And while trying to get to the delicious nectar, the birds and butterflies get covered in pollen. Once that pollen gets on the pistil, the eggs become fertilized and seeds are formed! We owe pollinators lots of thanks; without them, we’d have no beautiful flowers or delicious food!
After transforming into pollinators, the little pollinators were pretty hungry for a snack! So we made Almond-Honey Energy Balls!
Once, a long time ago, a scientist named Leonardo Fibonacci discovered the secret code the universe uses to organize itself!
We learned all about this secret code at San Pedro Elementary this week! Fibonacci discovered that flowers order their leaves according to a sequence of numbers:
These numbers can indicate the number of petals on a flower, or the number of sets of petals on a flower.
But Fibonacci numbers aren’t limited to just flower petals! The Fibonacci sequence can be found in other parts of nature as well, such as the arrangement of leaves on a plant:
1+1=2, 1+2=3, 2+3=5, 3+5=8, etc…
…by adding the last two digits together!
The best part is that this code applies not only to petals and leaves and spirals of sunflower seeds, but to distance as well. We experimented with this concept using simple graph paper:
By connecting the diagonal corners of each square with a curved arch, we discover something similar to a seashell…
Indeed, it seems that everything on our entire planet is controlled by the number discovered by Fibonacci.
Perhaps that is why the Fibonacci Sequence is considered a Law of Nature!
In honor of Mister Fibonacci, we planted sunflowers, and had a delicious snack of bananas (arranged in Fibonacci spirals) drizzled with honey (produced by the Fibonacci masters — bees!), lemon juice and snipped oregano from our garden.
The garden at San Pedro Elementary was bustling with activity!
Two volunteer interns, Jennifer and Darlynn, from New Village Charter School, came to help with the classes this week! It was great to have extra hands for our busy day, so we divided the classes into two teams:
The Bug Team’s mission was to track bugs in the garden. Bugs were identified as beneficial to the plants in the garden, like pollinating bees and earthworms that fertilize and oxygenate the soil, or pests, like aphids and slugs that eat our lovely plants!
The Bug Team also planted marigolds in the tomato beds.
The Plant Team’s mission was to identify the different parts of plants that we eat.
ROOTS: radish, turnips, carrots, onions, jicama, potatoes
STEMS: celery, green onions, rhubarb, leeks
LEAVES: mint, basil, rosemary, lettuce, cabbage, spinach, cilantro
FLOWER: cauliflower, broccoli, marigolds, brussel sprouts, artichoke, rose, squash blossoms
FRUITS: tomatoes, apples, oranges, avocado, peaches, strawberries, pumpkins, cucumbers, watermelon, peppers
SEEDS: sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, peas, coconuts, beans, peanuts, chili seeds
We had so much fun naming the different parts of plants that we eat, that we almost didn’t stop in time!
But the best part of the day was making our snack — A Plant Parts Salad!
We used one plant part (6 total) to make our salad. Then we drizzled it with a simple dressing and served it on romaine ‘wraps’.
Here’s the recipe so you can try too!
Plant Parts Salad
Marigold petals (flowers)
Sunflower Seeds (seeds)
Fresh lemon juice (fruits)
Chop all ingredients. Whisk together dressing and toss with salad. Place one scoop of salad on romaine leaf, wrap and enjoy!
Last week’s classes at San Pedro were filled with making seed bombs!
We blended recycled newspaper into a pulp and then mixed in tomato seeds. We then pressed the pulp into muffin tins and left them on our garden counter to dry in the sun. It was a very popular activity!
We celebrated with a tasty snack made from sliced radishes, drizzled with lemon juice, salt and pepper!
Mushrooms were the order of the day at San Pedro’s garden this week, not only in our snack, but also littering the garden as a result of the recent rain and good, rich mulch!
The students loved hunting for the mushrooms and we were all happy to see them, even though they aren’t edible, since they are a sign of a great growing environment!!
Although San Pedro’s garden in only a few weeks old, there are some amazing things happening! The beds are loaded with tomato and pepper plants, and we have some beautiful herb beds filled with many types of basils, oreganos, rosemary, terragon and mint! We all sampled each herb, and rosemary was definitely the favorite!! Thank goodness rosemary is a resilient plant, since so many students wanted second and third samples!
We were hungry after all that herb sampling, so using oregano and basil from the garden, we made mini mushroom pizzas!
Mini Mushroom Pizzas
Small Portobello Mushrooms
Optional: shredded cheese
Remove the stems from the mushrooms, keeping the caps intact. Finely dice the stems, tomatoes, olives and mix together. Snip fresh oregano and basil, and add to tomato mixture.
Carefully spoon mixture into mushroom caps. Sprinkle with optional cheese, if using. May be eaten raw, or broiled for a few minutes till warm.
Crowded in to the herb beds, were arugula seedlings and several strawberry plants. Since strawberries like space to spread out, we transplanted them to a brand new bed of their own!
It was a lovely warm and sunny day to begin gardening classes at San Pedro Elementary last Thursday.
This beautiful new garden is situated under a large oak tree on the playground, and is wonderfully accessible to all the students as they come out to play or eat lunch. The students seem equally excited about this garden, and even kids who didn’t attend the garden classes stopped by to ask questions about all the new trees, shrubs, flowers and veggies (and some mushrooms that they discovered in the corner, as well)!
Two classes came out to the garden on Thursday, and we spent the first half of our time exploring all of the plants in the garden. We discovered tomatoes, peppers, chard, strawberries and radishes seedlings. We also smelled and tasted many of the herbs in the garden as well, such as basil, oregano, sage, thyme and rosemary.
In addition to discovering what was growing in the garden, we kept a chart of all the bugs we encountered. We discovered lots of bees, ants and a few spiders (and albeit not an insect, we saw a hummingbird as well). We’ll continue to track the bug population in the garden in the next few weeks to see what that tells us about the relationship between plants and insects!
After our tour and bug tracking, we made a snack. The basil in the garden was ready to be pruned back a little, so it was the perfect addition to our recipe. We discussed the differences between the food found in grocery stores versus the food grown in a garden, such as pesticides, nutrition, food processing, cost effectiveness and being a part of – and in touch with – our planet.
Our snack consisted of fresh organic strawberries and chopped basil, drizzled with honey and served on fresh apple ‘chips’ –
–a simple, healthy and beautiful snack that all the kids wanted to take home to share with their families! Delicious!
On Apple Slices
Pink Lady or other crisp apple
Fresh Sweet Basil leaves
Remove the stems from the strawberries and discard. Chop the strawberries into small chunks and toss with honey. Let sit for a few moments.
Using a mandoline, or a knife, thinly slice the apples and arrange on a serving plate.
Finely chop the basil leaves. Add to the strawberries and stir to combine.
Carefully spoon the strawberry-basil mixture onto the apple slices.
A few new improved design features make San Pedro Elementary garden a nice addition the school garden empire. There is a 4′ deck running right through the garden making it perfect for a wheelchair. All but 2 of the garden beds are within reach of the deck. There is an outdoor kitchen arbor ( still unfinished) at the entrance and this garden has no fence. Working with our friends Tracy and Teresa and LaMonte Douglas at LAUSD, We have a fence-less garden that saved us money and encourages children to walk through!
With only two pairs of hands the kitchen at San Pedro Elementary was put together and put in place yesterday. EnrichLA makes it happen!
We went back to San Pedro Elementary School on Thursday to finish our custom built walkway for them, and to get the irrigation of the edible garden up and running. We were a bit concerned as to how only the five of us would be able to finish everything by ourself in the few hours we had.
Of course we needn’t have worried, because as we’ve learned over the past week during the pre-build and the build, the students at San Pedro Elementary take pride in their school and are only too happy to help with big tasks. Whether it was drilling…
… carrying items…
… or shoveling dirt and moving around mulch.
These students know very well the rewards of volunteering with a few hours of hard work.
A stunning new garden.
Today we were joined by Tree People, Disney, USC Helenes, and De La Raza radio station for our garden build here at San Pedro El! Its been a great and busy morning, leveling our new garden space, digginf trenches for our pathway, and planting all typea of trees around this playground! Its so great to see all these volunteers here helping for a greater good.
On Saturday, March 24th, we will be at San Pedro Elementary School building a compost bin, raised beds, and outdoor kitchen. We will also be planting fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers and installing a sprinkler system. What a wonderful way to spend a warm spring day in Los Angeles, please sign-up to volunteer! Coffee, pastries and lunch will be provided.
Making room for a new edible garden, new trees, vines and ground cover adding about 4,000 sq.ft. of permeable surface to the urban school, Phase 1 of campus greening, a partnership of LAUSD’s Facilities and Office of Sustainability, School Principal and Community members, the Downtown LA Neighborhood Council, Tree People and EnrichLA.
Please check our Volunteer page for upcoming Build and Plant Day in March 2011.
The San Pedro Elementary School Garden is a proposed garden by EnrichLA.
According to the Principal, most students live in apartments and therefore have minimal or no access to gardents. The map below shows the lack of parks near the school.
San Pedro Elementary School
1635 S San Pedro St
Los Angeles, Ca 90015
More information at the San Pedro Garden Blog!
Click here to view demographics of San Pedro Elementary School
Volunteer at San Pedro Elementary School Garden
See more photos of the San Pedro Elementary School Garden
See detailed plans and documents for this project here