Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Welcome Back to the garden Armadillos!!

Let me start by welcoming all of you back to this exciting new year!  

I hope that summer went well for all of you and that this new school year has gotten off to a great start!  The garden certainly has had a number of changes...  We started off the summer with some fantastic cantaloupe and watermelons, zucchini, okra, eggplant, tomatoes and more... As the long hot days drew on, and our ability to water was less, inevitably our crops died off and weeds surely took over.  As gardeners we are aware of the life cycles and we know that everything comes and goes, old plants die or hibernate and new growth comes in their wake.  The garden is a wonderful place to observe these cyclical changes!

As we returned to school we cleared out the weeds, tidied up the beds and have already begun planting new things.  Mrs. James structured learning class has been visiting regularly on Fridays and have planted carrots, beets and green beans and have done an excellent job looking after and watering them. We have also enjoyed reading books by the garden and tasting some tomatoes, herbs and figs that are currently growing.

I know that this first month has been very busy for all of the teachers and grade levels, which is why we have decided to start off the year working with pre-k, kinder, first and second and work with the third, fourth and fifth grade teachers to bring students into the garden during recess and through the upcoming club opportunities.  Over the next week I will reach out to the lower grades to see what months work best for your class.  As the weather cools down it is a great time to head out and see what is growing, read a book, poetry, draw maps, and of course make a tasty treat using our garden produce!

Our other good news that we received this summer is that we were awarded the Whole Kids Garden grant, and have become affiliated with the Whole Kids Foundation, a wealth of resources and information regarding school gardens and child nutrition. Please take a minute and scroll through their website!  We also have some great sample curriculum that can be made available to anyone!

Currently I have been at the garden on Fridays at 12:30, if anyone would like to meet before then or after 1 pm I would be happy to work with your class in the garden.  If that day does not work for you please let me know and we can try to make another time and day work.  

If anybody has a suggestion, idea, or question please contact me, I love to hear teacher feedback as this is the school's garden and my goal is to create an outdoor classroom that is safe, user friendly and productive.  To this end, we are using some of the grant money to install an irrigation system so that the garden will require very little maintenance and allow for more time spent learning and gardening!

Our upcoming planting plans, are:  lettuce, kale, swiss chard, broccoli, cauliflower, artichoke, more carrots and beets and for the first time we will have a bed dedicated to bulb flowers such as tulips! The idea is to create a colorful space that the kids can see start from underground and grow into a burst of color!

I look forward to seeing you in the garden, and please come and eat some cherry tomatoes before the birds eat them!

Artichoke in bloom!


Watermelon in progress.

Yummy Okra!

Our Satsuma tree before it died...

Huge sunflowers planted from seed by the garden club!

Lots of kids got to come see and taste where the seeds come from!

Our dried up Satsuma, we will be replacing it!

The freshly weeded garden ready to begin again!

This is a "volunteer" tomato plant that grew from a blown seed!

Carrot sprouts coming up planted by Mrs. James class!

Great new signs for our little plants! Thank you to our new volunteer!

Check out our grape vine as it winds around the fence!

The garden is fun for little ones too!


Friday, May 22, 2015

What a great year it has been!

A garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all it teaches entire trust.

Hello gardeners!

Wow!  How did a whole school year pass by so quickly!?  Like the plants in the garden, you all have grown so much and will be heading into the next grade!

This year we have seen many changes and have planted, cared for and eaten many delights from our garden.  Looking back, we have used our garden in new and creative ways, poetry, mural painting, spray paint, bug watching, plant measuring, fairy gardens and much more.

Since the fall we have made several crock pot garden soups with okra, eggplant, squash, tomatoes and peppers all grown from the garden.  Green beans, herbs, pizza, juices, pesto, fruit salads, smoothies and even artichoke have all been picked and turned into a tasty treat by students, teachers, staff and volunteers.

Our garden club has been and excellent addition to the school extracurricular program, and many thanks go out to Heather Mendez, Mrs. Mann and Mrs. Burgess.  Also, Mrs. Miller along with the help of Mrs. Malloy and Mrs. Burgess and the creativity of our students brought our garden a vibrant orchard of painted trees.  We thank you!

Another exciting endeavor has been working with Mrs. James and her structured learning students.  Their curiosity and eagerness to learn is very inspiring and we will continue to explore the garden into the coming year.

If you are near the school over the summer please come and see the garden, it will be full of tomatoes, okra, eggplant, herbs, figs, cucumber, squash, peppers, and hopefully melons!  These will all be growing when we return to school in late August.

Thank you for making our garden a place where we can all learn and grow!  Have a wonderful summer!

If you have any questions, ideas, suggestions or feedback in general please contact me!

Happy Summer!!


A growing crook neck yellow squash.

Yummy peach!

Keeping an eye on our satsuma tree!

Growing beautiful.

Our painted orchard!

Sweet peas!

Can you find the growing cucumber?

An eight ball squash.

Yummy zucchini!

Pretty artichoke.

Mama and baby artichoke.

A harvest for Mrs. James's class!

Some veggies for the lady that keeps the school running!!!

Lovely sunflower.

One day I will be a monarch!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Spring has sprung!!

No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, and no culture comparable to that of the garden.

Hello Reynolds gardeners!

The year is speeding by and it is already in full spring bloom!  If you come and see the garden you will see that it is teeming with change, new life and growth!  We have taken out the old and planted the new.  For our spring and summer season we have started to grow potatoes, green beans, tomatoes, peppers, okra, artichoke, onions, basil, parsley, cilantro, oregano, sage, squash, cucumber, cantelope and watermelon!!!  The potatoes are already well on their way and were all planted by our first graders and the garden club.  The kids learned that the plant grows from a seed potato, where they first had to cut out the sprouted "eye" of the potato and plant it in the ground, then as it grows new soil must be mounded around the plant so it can continue to grow new potatoes.

We have had a few new and exciting developments, the most visually exciting and impressive is our new mural that was completed by Mrs. Miller with the help of Mrs. Burgess and Mrs, Malloy and with the artistic hands of many students, please take a moment to come out and see their work, you will be happy you did!!!

Also, we have been working on forming a partnership with the Horticulture program at Wunsche High School and we are excited to have them come out and speak to our garden club at our next meeting.  This will hopefully be the beginning of a great relationship where the Juniors and Seniors can bring their knowledge to our students and we can our students can share their enthusiasm and eagerness to learn in return.

Our plans for the remainder of the year are to host a "open garden" during the spring carnival.  Last year we had some lovely fresh watermelon basil juice, and some fresh sampling of green beans!

The most exciting project will be for students from the garden club to host a market stand at the Grogans Mill Farmers Market, where they will price and sell the produce as well as share information regarding the benefits of school gardens.  The students from Wunsche will be working on this project with us!

We also had some interest from Spring ISD regarding the garden and they sent someone to come and video and take photos of some of our garden events.  The Houston Chronicle also contacted us, wanting to hear more about our garden.  Good news travels fast!  I will be sure to let you know when the final pictures, video or print are available.

I send out an email earlier this week asking if any other classes would like to do something special with the garden, it can be a cooking event, poetry, reading, observing, or just a simple visit to see what is going on?!  Please let me know what time is good for your class!

I look forward to seeing you in the garden!

Maryah Nijim Roberts
A cilantro transplant, yum!

A growing peach

Peaches and more peaches!

The lovely mural!

What a difference some creativity can make!!!

The lady bug is a helpful garden insect.

Our blue bonnets are blooming!

New pepper and squash plants!

Happy potatoes!

Yummy artichokes!

The fig tree returns and already has figs on it!

Perfect harmony of art and nature!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have never been discovered. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Hello Gardeners!

Although it does not feel much like spring yet, it is just around the corner.  In fact, we have already started preparing the garden for our spring planting.  At the moment we are rounding up the last of our fall and winter harvest, pulling carrots, harvesting cauliflower, broccoli, lettuce, chard, kale, parsley, cilantro and pak choi!  It has been a tasty season for sure!

As spring nears, some of the first graders helped to plant potatoes, this was done by cutting out the eye of the potato and planting it in the ground, a learning lesson for all!

Some fifth graders also popped in and helped me plant onions, and were able to munch on some carrots and broccoli while they worked.  

Our garden clubbers also were very creative with their use of river rocks, and painted fun critters on the rocks, some of the are currently decorating our garden!  They also did a great job of cleaning up the garden, thanks garden club!  

Also be on the lookout for the developing art mural that Mrs. Miller has been working on, displayed on the big wooden fence inside the garden.  

Looking towards sunny days and spring showers, we are going to plant green beans, tomatoes, potatoes, onions, herbs, melon, okra, cucumber and more!  If you have any ideas for planting please bring them to the garden!  Also be on the lookout for the blue bonnets that were planted by Mrs. Neskorik and her third graders, how lucky we will be to have our state flower in the garden!

After 1st grade finishes up February in the garden, Kindergarden will be in charge of exploring and watering the garden, what an exciting March we will have!

Also, as we can all see, after the cutting down of all the trees in the back of the school, lots of garbage is blowing onto the playground and green space, perhaps we can encourage the students to take ownership of the upkeep of their school and "pitch in!"  

Recently, I have connected with the FFA teacher at Wuensche High School and she is excited for her seniors to come and work with the students and garden at Reynolds, I am looking forward to see where our new partnership may lead!

Please contact me if you have any ideas, questions, comments or general feedback for the garden program!  Like the wise George Elliot said above, lets take the initiative to do what we can to improve each day!

Thank you all!


beautiful cauliflower!

one happy veggie family!

the fig tree grows a new leaf!

pretty and tasty carrots!

all washed up and ready to eat!

lettuce eat!

onions, yummy!

freshly weeded and ready for planting!

I think the oregano is winning!

beautiful and fragrant blossoms on our peach tree!