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Butterfly and Poetry Garden Update November 21, 2008

Filed under: 2008-2009 School Year — gardenexplorer1 @ 5:16 am

First and fifth grade buddies in Mrs. Rothchild’s and Ms. Lim’s classes are taking a break from butterflies for a few weeks and are beginning to build a poetry garden. In the classroom, buddy pairs read poetry and picked out words they wanted to include in their poetry garden. Outside, buddies painted approximately 40 bricks white. The bricks will become a template for words. Buddy pairs will paint the words they have chosen on four sides of the bricks. Then the words will be lined up in the garden, available for arranging into poetic combinations by any child who chooses to create a poem.

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Mr. Sarda’s Kindergarteners Plant Peas

Filed under: 2008-2009 School Year — gardenexplorer1 @ 4:57 am

Mr. Sarda’s Kindergarteners went out last week in small groups to plant peas in their garden bed. After reading a nonfiction book, The Life Cycle of a Bean, students went out in groups of five to plant. Each child planted two seeds of edible peas, and two seeds of flowering, inedible sweet peas. The different kinds of peas are planted on different sides of the garden bed, so that they won’t get mixed up. Students looked at how different the seeds looked, and looked at pictures of the plants.

Inside the classroom, Mr. Sarda helped his class make Garden Journals in which the recorded their experience through pictures and words.

After Thanksgiving we will check and garden bed and see which peas are sprouting first!


Third Grade Gardeners Make Seed Balls November 20, 2008

Filed under: 2008-2009 School Year — gardenexplorer1 @ 6:51 am


Third Grade gardeners in Mrs. Glover’s, Ms. Cribbs’, and Mrs. Newman’s classes learned about planting seeds using Seed Balls. They then created their own Seed Balls, which will be used to plant seed throughout the garden after Thanksgiving.

Seed Balls were first developed by Japanese farmer and scientist Masanobu Fukuoka, a pioneer in the sustainable agriculture movement. Fukuoka felt that the most important way to preserve soil health and viability was to never till, or turn, the soil, resulting in no loss of soil fertility. Fukuoka’s book, The One-Straw Revolution, explains many of his ideas.

Seed Balls are made by mixing 5 parts powdered red clay (ground by Mrs. Glover’s class) with one part seeds, three parts compost, and a small amount of water. Students mixed these dry ingredients together and then added small amounts of water until the mixture had the consistency of brownie batter. Then they rolled the “dough” into 1/2 inch diameter balls. The balls will dry for a week before planting.

Seed Balls are often used to replant native vegetation in denuded and disturbed land. Seed Balls are scattered across the surface of land, ten balls per square meter, and left to sit. The hard clay protects the seeds from gathering insects, wind and birds until rains come. Then the rain softens the clay, softens the seed coat, and allows roots and shoots to grow down and up.

While Seed Balls can be very effective in reseeding areas that have lost vegetation, it is essential that no non-native seeds be added to seed balls that will be used in wild areas. Only seeds that come from a particular piece of land should be used on that piece of land to prevent non-native and invasive species of plants from overwhelming native species. When non-native plants are introduced to an area, they often replace native plants, effectively removing the foods and sheltering plants that animals need in a habitat.

For more information on Seed Balls, see an excellent video on You Tube — The Seed Ball Story by Jim Bone.

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Mrs. Glover’s Third Grade Gardeners Grind Clay the Old Fashioned Way

Filed under: 2008-2009 School Year — gardenexplorer1 @ 6:10 am

Third Graders in Mrs. Glover’s class learned how the Kumeyaay Indians used to find and grind natural clay for making red clay ollas, or pots for holding water and for cooking. Students listened to a chapter, “Clay Weather,” in the book Indians of the Oaks. The book described how a boy learned to dig the finest, sand-free clay for working pots.

Then students tried their hand at grinding some less-than-perfect clay from San Diego’s clay-rich soil. Like the Kumeyaay, they used rock’s to grind the soil. But instead of grinding it in a mortero of granite, students used plastic cafeteria trays as a grinding surface. The powdered clay will be used to make Seed Balls (see next post).

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