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Building a Garden from the Ground Up June 14, 2010

Filed under: 2009-2010 School Year — gardenexplorer1 @ 5:57 am

For Art from the Heart, Garden Coordinator Mrs. Elliott worked with nonprofit organization Victory Gardens San Diego (VGSD) to auction off a garden to be built at an Explorer family’s house.  The Fabiani family offered up the highest bid to raise money for Explorer, and won the garden!

June 9, VGSD volunteers, apprentice gardeners from Seeds at City, the new garden at San Diego City College,  some of Explorer’s Kids Korps volunteers, and Mrs. Elliott came together to build the Fabiani’s garden. Thanks so much to everyone who contributed!!!

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Our Wheat Crop for Mr. Sarda’s and Mrs. Feitelberg’s Buddy Classes

Filed under: 2009-2010 School Year — gardenexplorer1 @ 5:47 am

Mr. Sarda’s kindergarteners buddied up this year with Mrs. Feitelberg’s fourth graders to make a spaghetti garden. Since pasta is made from wheat, they planted wheat seeds in the fall. And since pasta sauce has tomatoes and herbs in it, they planted tomatoes, oregano, basil, garlic and onions. Last week the fourth graders picked wheat, oregano, basil, garlic and onions.

Harvesting: The wheat was nicely headed up — with beautiful, visible green grains. Since wheat is not ready to eat until the stalks turn stiff and golden, and the school year is over, we harvested some wheat, but used wheat that had been purchased in the fall at a farmer’s market for our experiment.

Threshing:  Next, we tried threshing the golden grains  — loosening the grain from the chaff, or outside coating of the seed — by smashing the wheat between two hard objects. In days past, that might be a stone and the hooves of an ox, or a giant mortar and pestle. Today, threshing machines are attached to harvesters in giant “combines.”

Winnowing: After the students threshed, they tied winnowing — separating the wheat seeds, or grain, from the chaff by tossing it up into the air in a winnowing basket. It worked a bit — the hard, heavier grain fell down, and the lighter hull made a big mess on Mr. Sarda’s carpet. In traditional settings, the hull and husk would blow away in the wind while the grain fell to the ground.

Grinding: After the grains were separated from the hull, they could be ground into flour. We used wheat grains from a grocery store (as are harvest would not have amounted to more than a few teaspoons of flour) and ground them in a special attachment on a food processor that we borrowed from the Brown family (thank you!!). Grains went in, flour came out!

Cooking: The next logical step would be to make our own pasta — mixing the flour with egg and water to make a dough, and then rolling it out into noodles. Instead, our classes purchased noodles and focused on the pasta sauce next.

Sauce: Tomatoes — the tomatoes are not yet ripe — they need a few more weeks of hot sun — so we bought tomato sauce and mixed in onions, garlic, oregano, and basil from the garden. Yumm!!!

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End of the 2009-2010 School Year Work Party June 5, 2010

Filed under: 2009-2010 School Year — gardenexplorer1 @ 11:48 pm

Thank you to the five families who came to our end of the year work party to get the garden ready for the summer: the Bedfords, the Browns, the Maginnises, the Hymers, and the Rosenblooms, who brought and unloaded 2 cubic yards of wood chips to keep weeds at bay, pulled weeds, raked beds, took out overgrown sweet peas, and — finally — ate pizza together! The garden looks lovely, and we couldn’t have done it without you!


Butterfly Buddies Finish their Butterfly Garden and Bench

Filed under: 2009-2010 School Year — gardenexplorer1 @ 11:36 pm

The Butterfly Buddy classes finished creating their butterfly garden, with a beautiful bench, right before the end of school. In the course of the year, the classes have transformed an ugly dirt patch into a lovely garden, with wildflowers, a tree that will one day provide nice shade, a bench to sit on, stepping stones, and a mosaic sign. Take a look at before and after pictures.

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Birds in the Garden May 31, 2010

Filed under: 2009-2010 School Year — gardenexplorer1 @ 6:18 am

Room 4, after building bird feeders, got to take a look at some taxidermy birds from the San Diego Natural HIstory Museum. They learned about the adaptation of birds, the qualities, such as beaks, legs and feet, that help them survive in a particular habitat. Then the children went  out into the garden to see what kind of birds were visiting.

They saw sea gulls (eating lunch garbage), grackles, pidgeons, morning doves, some small song birds, and some ravens. They drew what they saw in their garden journals.

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Fourth Graders Make Spanish Colonial Herbal Remedies

Filed under: 2009-2010 School Year — gardenexplorer1 @ 6:11 am

Fourth Graders learned how Spanish explorers, padres and soldiers had to bring food, seeds, and medicinal herbs and the seeds to grow them when they first came to San Diego. Padres brought seeds for food and medicines, including beans, melon and squash, according to ships’ records. Mission gardens served as apothecary gardens for colonists.

Earlier this year, fourth graders planted herbs such as oregano, basil, and thyme, to go in the already thriving Spanish Colonial Herb Garden. This month, they harvested some of the herbs — mint, white sage, and lavender — to make three products. First, they boiled white sage and mint to make a medicinal tea. They took dried lavender and made it into lavender sachets, which would have come in handy in an era when bathing was an awful lot of work, due to the difficulty of hauling water. Then they made an ointment of beeswax, warm Crisco (the recipe calls for lard), and mint run through the blender. The resulting green ointment was thought to soften the skin — and the students found that it works well!

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Green Machine Visits Grades K – 1

Filed under: 2009-2010 School Year — gardenexplorer1 @ 6:00 am

The Green Machine, a program of the San Diego County Office of Education Outdoor Education Program, visited Explorer’s first graders, and Ms. Schultz and Mrs. Hawke’s kindergarteners. The program consisted of a segment of the water cycle, a segment on Integrated Pest Management, a section on what soil is, and a part about how food gets from farms to people’s homes. The visit was sponsored by Kaiser-Permanente, as part of their initiative to prevent childhood obesity, and the program fit well into our garden program.

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