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Fourth Grade Mission Herb Gardens March 13, 2009

Filed under: 2008-2009 School Year — gardenexplorer1 @ 5:27 am

Mrs. Adams’s and Mrs Kuhl’s Fourth Graders began their Mission Herb project, planting herbs that were used during the Mission period of California history. Their lessons began in the classroom, learning about what Explorers found botanically when they came to California, what they needed to bring with them to make their new world feel like home — and for sheer survival — and how they needed to change the landscape to grow what they needed to form a mission. Students discussed how water sometimes needed to be diverted for gardens and how padres brought seeds on board their ships.

Students learned about Apothecary Gardens, gardens that were used for medicine, and how medicinal herbs were usually kept in strictly separated beds to ensure that the correct medicines were created from the correct herbs, in a similar way that different medicines are kept on different shelves of a drug store today.

In the garden, the students weeded the herb beds last year’s classes planted, and then added plants of their own to the mix. Currently, the herb garden includes lavender, rosemary, oregano, basil, betony, fennel, dill, camomile, borrage, yarrow, sage, epazote and catnip.

Later in the month, students will be creating some simple remedies and preparations from herbs.


Picking Peas

Filed under: 2008-2009 School Year — gardenexplorer1 @ 5:07 am

Our peas have grown big and fat and green! They are sweet and crispy. Some pods have four peas and are flat. Others have as many as six or seven peas, each one enormous. Some children take them apart and eat the peas one by one. Others pop the whole crispy thing in their mouths!


Garden Critters

Filed under: 2008-2009 School Year — gardenexplorer1 @ 4:55 am

Kindergardeners looked under leaves, in the soil, on flowers (blossoming sweet peas) and everywhere else to see who is living in our garden! They found a Golden Garden Spider, a Fiery Skipper butterfly, the tiny caterpillar of an Anise Swallowtail butterfly, ladybug larvae, pupae and adults, and many more critters.

The peas are still going strong, and everyone got to pick a pod and eat it!


The Butterflies are Back!

Filed under: 2008-2009 School Year — gardenexplorer1 @ 4:03 am

Spring arrives in San Diego in February, with rain, the greening of hillsides, flowering native plants, and the return of insects and spiders. Butterflies have started to return to the garden. One day, a Monarch soared over, looking for  milkweed. Another day, a yellow and black Anise Swallowtail, with a wingspan of 3 1/2 inches, landed on the anise we planted from seed in the late fall, curled its tail under and planted five eggs.

Buddy classes are doing  informal species counts in the garden in late February and early March, visiting each planter and rooting around among the plants to see what insects, spiders and other animal life they can find there.

While we haven’t learned the names of every animal we found, we did see ladybugs at various stages of develoment, aphids — both yellow and gray — a katydid, some small fiery skipper butterflies, pill bugs, sow bugs, small brown spiders called Metaltella simoni, a tiny Melissa Blue butterfly, and orb weaving spiders called Golden Garden Spiders.

We’ll do another count in a couple of weeks, and work to create a field guide to our garden.


Harvesting, Cooking and Eating the Foods of our Ancestors

Filed under: 2008-2009 School Year — gardenexplorer1 @ 3:53 am

We have been eating! Second grade gardeners have held three sessions of harvesting, cooking and eating this month. Each meal includes a grain typically eaten on the harvest continent, and a dish cooked from vegetables.

During the first session students harvested Asian vegetables such as Bok Choi, Brocolli, Cauliflower, peas and Asian Carrots and chives to make a stir fry.

During the second session — Europe —  students harvested Sorrel, Beets and Fennel, and made beet, fennel and orange salad with rasperry vinagrette, and a sorrel and tomato soup. Their European grain was wheat, which cooked as noodles.

During the third session — Africa — students harvested Collard Greens and the leaves of brocolli and cauliflower and garlic and made Sukumo Wiki, or Stretch the Week, stewed greens. Their African grain was corn, served as Ugali, or cornmeal grits.

I’ll add photos when I can — I keep forgetting to take pictures!