Thank you so much everyone for the amazing clean up of the garden! I can’t believe what 35 people can do in 3 short hours –especially when half the people were under four feet tall! We weeded all the beds and paths, laid down two truckloads of wood chips over all the paths and even over the open dirt area, transplanted poppies, pulled out edibles and bagged them up, chopped up peas and buried them and composted them, pruned the Laurel Sumac, cut back the overgrowth on herbs, pulled out the masses of Feverfew, as well as the giant mother plant and mother Sorrel plant — did I miss anything? Wow!
Fifth Graders in Mrs. Carrico/Mrs. Frost’s class and Ms. Malesky’s class made lavender sachets using the purple silk cloth they dyed with purple cabbage. They have the sachets to their mothers for Mothers’ Day! Mrs. Goerke brought extraordinary skill in guiding Ms. Malesky’s class through the sewing process!
Fourth graders studying the Spanish Colonial period planted herbs that were grown in the California Missions. Now that the herbs have grown, Ms. Kuhl’s and Ms. Adams classes used their herbs to make a variety of products.
- Culinary Herb Mix: Leaves of basil, oregano, and garlic were taken from their stems and mixed together for students to take home for cooking.
- Mint leaves and lavender stems were steeped in boiling water to make a mint/lavender tea once thought to be useful for stomach ailments.
- Using a recipe supplied by our Master Gardener and said to be hundreds of years old, students cooked mint leaves in Crisco (the recipe called for lard!) until the oil turned green. Then the mint was strained from the oil and the green oil was beaten with grated beeswax until it was the consistency of frosting or chapstick. (We thought of this as f a Burt’s Bees meets Betty Crocker sort of concoction.) The resulting poltice was once used to soothe burns. Most students, however, thought it would make a good Mothers’ Day gift for soothing their mothers’ rough and tired feet!
- Lavender sachets — students peeled lavender blossoms from their stems and crushed them to release their fragrance. Then they wrapped the crushed blossoms up in cloth and tied it with a ribbon as a Mother’s Day gift.
Mr. Sarda’s kindergarten Sweet Pea garden has really taken off! Students in five different classes were able to pick large bouquets for their mothers for Mothers’ Day! Mr. Sarda’s class also made sequential, circular books about the cycle of their pea planting experience, learning to write some garden words while they worked: Peas – Plants – Flowers – Pods – Peas.
Pulling Weeds April 29, 2009
First Graders pulled up some very tough, invasive weeds this week.
Fifth graders in Mrs. Carrico/Mrs. Frost class, and Mrs. Malesky’s class learned how colonial American’s used plants to make and dye cloth this week. They learned about colonists’ choices about importing cloth or making their own by growing flax for linen, and cotton for cloth, or raising sheep for wool. Colonists spun thread and year, and wove and knitted it into cloth. They recycled cloth, after clothing was worn out, into rag rugs and patchwork quilts. They made their cloth more beautiful with vegetable dyes, handmade lace, and embroidery. Boys and girls learned to stitch — girls stitched to make clothing and household goods, boys stitched to make harnesses and farm good, and/or sails if their family fished. Students had a chance to see hand spun and dyed wool, hand woven garments, a patchwork quilt and a rag woven place mat. Then they tried their hand at making a vegetable dye out of purple cabbage — an aromatic experience for the whole school!
Explorer Elementary parents had a chance to explore the garden as part of the school’s ongoing parent education class series. After taking a look at Richard Louv’s book Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder, on two Monday mornings in April, Explorer parents took some time to examine their own attitudes toward nature, their families’ reasons for getting out — or not getting out — into nature, and some resources they have found helpful in outdoor exploration. During the second week, parents headed out into the garden to try out some garden activities — making inspirational word rocks for students to discover in the garden, transplanting our overabundant poppies into pots to take home, pulling weeds, picking mint and sweet peas, and discovering caterpillars. Parents expressed an interest in starting an Outdoor Explorer’s group in which families can connect with one another for weekend hikes led by a different family each week.