Garden Reflections before Summer

At the school year’s end we ask all the students what they remember about the year’s activities and lessons and share a few of their favorites. The answers are always fun to hear:  Garden nibbles! Carrots! Taking down the bean teepees, Planting, Eating, Harvesting, Pulling out the old Kale Plants, Making a salad right from the garden, Putting up the bean teepees and more. It helps the farm team see the garden through their eyes and gives us all time to reflect. It’s always clear that the students love the garden and love spending time therein.

Primary students in Kindergarten through grade two did some reviewing of our garden song: Roots, Stems, Leaves, Flowers, Seeds and Fruit. We took it to the next level by going out into the garden and finding all the parts of the plants that we eat. After thinking and finding the parts, we collected each part for a delicious garden burrito. The outcome of this garden lesson was a big hit with the students and some questions did come up that led to learning about the life cycle of plants. For instance:  Where is the fruit? The apples aren’t ready to eat yet, so how do we collect fruit? We learned that the part of the plant that produces the seeds is the fruit and the peas are producing in abundance right now, an excellent addition to our garden burritos!

The carrots in our hoop house are ready for picking and all the students were able to pull a carrot out of the ground and eat these popular roots for the first time this spring. Satisfaction guaranteed in both harvest and tasting!

Recently, Grade three students said goodbye to the garden by examining leaves. They took time to draw the leaves and to used words to describe shape, color, and texture of the varied leaves in the garden. It gave students the freedom to sit in a favorite spot and observe the life around them. Observations multiplied into finding ladybugs, noticing that the delicious sorrel leaf is going to seed and that there are quite a few birds nesting in the thickets nearby.

There seems to be no limit to the delights and discoveries the students can make given a little time in the garden. When asked, ‘did anything surprise you?’, the answers were plentiful. Children who visit the garden weekly and participate in the work of preparing, planting, and harvesting can be surprised by what they find when they are guided to look at the garden from a different angle. There’s really no limit to their involvement with growing, nature and food. The garden is a living science lab that nourishes both our bodies and minds. Here’s what some of our students had to say:

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Posted in Children in the garden, Lessons, Updates from the garden!

Thank you Goosefoot!

A huge appreciation to the Goosefoot Community Fund for their support!
On Thursday, June 14th, at 3 pm at the School Farm,
Goosefoot will be presenting a $50,000 check to the School Farm program!
5476 Maxwelton Rd., Langley WA.
Read more HERE.
All are welcome!

Photos of the celebration HERE

 

Posted in Updates from the garden!

Summertime Work Parties at the School Farms!

Join us at one or both of these work parties and picnics
weekly through the summer…

School Farm on Tuesdays
from 9:30 am – 12 noon
with picnic lunch at noon
starting June 19th

High School Garden on Thursdays
from 9:30 am – 12 noon
with picnic lunch at noon
starting June 21st

 

 

Enjoy salad from the garden and garden “tacos”

Bring your parents, grandparents, friends, and family members.
Help grow vegetables for the school and our community!

All ages and skill levels are welcome!
Join us at any time during the morning.
Children must be accompanied by an adult.

The School Farm is located at 5476 Maxwelton Road, Langley, WA.
To the south of the Elementary School, behind the South Campus.

The SW High School is located at 5675 Maxwelton Rd, Langley, WA.

Questions? Contact Cary Peterson (360) 593-2725 or email schoolgardenswhidbey@gmail.com

Posted in Updates from the garden!

A Fabulous Frijole Friday Feast!

The School Farm fundraiser at the Langley Methodist Church brought our community together for a feast of homemade tortillas, scarlet runner bean frijoles, garden fresh toppings and so much more. Friendship and conversation over delicious healthy food is always a winner and especially when it helps support the farm and culinary program. With the match, we raised over $10,000!

Appreciations to all the community members who generously donated, and to

Each and every person who participated
contributed to the success and enjoyment of this event.

Thanks to our amazing South Whidbey community!

Posted in Updates from the garden!

Fresh Salad from Seed to Bowl

Grade three students have been learning about diversity in the garden. The big idea that they are working toward understanding is: Life Thrives on Diversity. What better way to understand than to look at a variety of salad greens and plant a salad bar garden!

The students started out by sorting a variety of seeds and trying to identify them. We had  big trays of seeds all mixed together. It was fun noticing how different each seed looked in terms of shape size and color. Once the sorting was done, students identified the seeds and started the process of learning to recognize and name the seeds. We had several types of lettuce, kale and spinach seeds.

Of course the purpose of our explorations led us to the garden by way of planting the seeds in pots and watching the sprouts emerge. Once we had our little seedlings to the right size, we planted them in a garden bed and watched, watered and waited. Our salad bar garden was well on it’s way to harvest.

By May, the array of greens were beautiful and ready for harvest. What do you do with a salad bar garden? Make salad! Third graders had fun picking and making bowls of salad right from the garden bed. They were able to add some fresh new peas and we even had some herbed dressing and some fresh pea shoot dressing as an optional topping. It all tastes so much better when we get to do it ourselves from seed to table!

 

Posted in Updates from the garden!

Scarlet Runner Beans = Magic Beans!

Like Jack and his famous adventures with the beanstalk, the School Farm Scarlet Runner beanstalks tell a story that keeps the students engaged from beginning to end. It’s a story that children from kindergarten to grade 6 take an active part in creating and a key part of our School Farm curriculum. The bean teepees are a clear and much loved example of the cycles that inform us of the seasons and the activities that mark our year at the School Farm.

Each spring the big bamboo poles are secured into the circular garden beds in the form of a tall teepee. This spring the sixth graders did a fantastic job of digging the holes and securing the tall bamboo poles in the ground. Prior to the bean teepee construction, fifth graders have set out the circular beds using geometry. Click HERE to see how they created a compass and measured the beds.

Beans are planted around the base of each pole by the students. When school begins in September the teepees are a mass of green with some red flowers and many bean pods hanging from the vines. Excited feet run to the teepees and inside go the students. How many can fit inside? Surprisingly, quite a few! Click Here to see!

As autumn progresses and the bean pods mature and begin to dry out, the once bright pink beans turn a dark purple and black inside. Kindergarten and first grade students worked on collecting the beans from the dried pods. You can see the third graders working on taking the teepees down last fall HERE.

The students especially love collecting the beans from the dried pods. During the cold winter  months we dissect the beans and learn about seed anatomy. The Scarlet Runner beans are a particularly good specimen for studying all the parts of a seed. Students get a good idea of how a seed sprouts and grows and how the cotyledon feeds the sprouting seed until it is strong enough to live on its own.

This year we’ve added a new dimension to our bean saving efforts. Taco Tuesdays have been a wildly successful way for the School Farm to use the Scarlet Runner beans. The freshly cooked beans are made into frijoles and add a delicious base to our home made masa harina tacos. Students were first introduced to freshly made tacos in their culinary arts lessons. Their enthusiasm was our inspiration for Taco Tuesdays! Click HERE to see the students in culinary class making the tacos. Don’t miss our final fundraiser for the year on June 1st and enjoy Scarlet Runner bean frijoles along with other garden fresh toppings. Click HERE for details.

Posted in Children in the garden, Lessons, Updates from the garden!

Growing and learning at the High School gardens!

Only a year ago, the front garden had been just created. Already this year, beds have been cleared, fertilized, mulched and planted for spring, with students learning every step of the process.

The High School and Middle Schoolers have planted peas, lettuce, spinach, radishes, beets, turnips, kale, bok choi, tsa tsoi (in photo), onions, broccoli, brussel sprouts, collards, and flowers. A little bit of everything is going on! Students are eating and sharing the produce, as well as taking home spring veggies and plant starts.

In the back garden, our new hoophouse is already producing radishes, lettuce, kale and bok choi with beets, carrots and onions on the way.

The lush cover crop in the field was tilled and additional compost spread. Potatoes, garlic, asparagus, rhubarb and flowers have been planted. We’re also expanding the field to include an orchard.

Last but not least, the storage shed is going up!

Things are really shaping up nicely as we renovate and expand the back area. We’ll be planting the fall crops soon. Work parties this summer will be Thursday mornings from 10 am – 12 noon followed by picnic lunch.

Our appreciation to the South Whidbey Schools Foundation
and the Whidbey Island Garden Tour for their funding support!

Posted in High School Garden, Updates from the garden!