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!