What a great way to fertilize our fruit trees! Collect as many Halloween pumpkins as we can, have great fun examining them during our last garden classes of the year, and then put them around the fruit trees where they will decompose and nourish next year’s fruit.
The pumpkins were arranged from most intact to most decomposing and the students followed this progression as the pumpkin trail led to the fruit trees. Each grade examined and drew the pumpkins according to their developmental level, gradually becoming more sophisticated with their observations and tallying of data about the different features of the decomposing pumpkins in all their variety.
Our thanks to all the families who donated their pumpkins! You can see in the grass the difference last year’s pumpkins have already made to the soil. The children eagerly anticipate watching the pumpkins disappear and transform into fruit!
Fall is a season of harvest, and in October we also turn our attention to putting the garden to bed for the winter. After the crops are harvested, the beds are planted with cover crops. Every child learns about the cycle of the seasons, and how to create fertile soil. It’s also an ideal time to be creating new garden spaces that will be planted in the spring! (Click on the photos to start a slide show.)
A big Makah Ozette!
Third graders harvesting potatoes
Fifth graders pulling beans and examining the seeds
Fourth graders harvesting pumpkins
First graders making worm habitat cups
Weighing and tallying the different kinds of squash
SWA student getting a circle bed ready for cover cropping
Second graders planting cover crops
Two new gardens were launched this fall, and the kindergarten garden was spiffed up. There is still more work to do, but now there is a new 6th grade garden started at the Middle School (thanks to support from the Whidbey Island Garden Tour), and also a new healthy snacks garden started at the Elementary School (with appreciation to funding from KidsGardening.org and Chartwells).
Abandoned garden on the south side of the Elementary School
Removed the raised beds and transplanted native plants
Children came and helped spread out the soil
Once that is done it will be tilled!
Kindergarten garden at the school farm spiffed up!
Digging in the grass in the new beds at the Middle School
Langley Middle School empty field being transformed
Students measured the beds
Sheet mulching is next to build the soil.
The end of the season is coming! We still have lots of overwintering kale and field peas for the students to munch on, but all the other beds will be cover cropped or mulched. The garlic and bulbs will be planted. We’ll be sending out a call for your decomposing Halloween pumpkins to help fertilize our fruit trees. And we’ll celebrate a wonderful feast of Thanksgiving at the Elementary School on Thursday, Nov. 17th!
Click HERE for great article in the South Whidbey Record about the film!
Grow Whidbey is an apprenticeship program to give motivated individuals the skills and knowledge needed to become growers and teachers in the field of sustainable community agriculture. This collaboration between the South Whidbey School Farm and Garden and the Good Cheer Food Bank is now hiring for the 2017 growing and teaching season. Click HERE for more information!
Taste Washington Day is a state-wide celebration of Washington-grown foods in school lunches. The Langley Middle School cafeteria and students took it to the next level by celebrating our school grown produce.
Susan Milan’s 7th grade Health and Wellness elective organized the Thursday, Oct. 6th event with drawing publicity posters, selecting recipes, preparing them for a sampling table of delicious local food, and serving it all to their fellow students.
On Wed., Oct 5th, some of the students came to the Whidbey Island Nourishes kitchen at the Primary School to prepare, all from school-grown produce, these dishes for the sampling table during lunch:
- carrot/zucchini/cabbage coleslaw
- zucchini noodles with fresh tomato sauce
- basil pesto with carrot sticks and green beans for dipping
- cucumber salad
Then, on Thursday, Oct 6th, the students set up the sampling tables. To the fresh food prepared at the WIN kitchen, students brought baked items from home including kale chips (school grown), baked cinnamon apples, and Thunder cake (chocolate cake made with tomatoes). All these delicious offerings were very much enjoyed by the Middle School students, teachers and staff!
Last but not least was the regular school lunch offering! Cafeteria lunch chefs DeeDee Curtis and Patti Dunigan cook with school grown produce every day in season. On Taste Washington Day, the menu included:
- Fettucini Alfredo topped with school-grown sauteed broccoli, zucchini, beans and carrots
- Pasta with school-grown and scratch-cooked tomato sauce with meatballs
- Caesar salad with school-grown romaine lettuce
- Veggie platter with school-grown peppers, broccoli, carrots, cucumber, tomatoes
- Potato salad with school-grown Makah Ozette potatoes
- Coleslaw with school-grown cabbage coleslaw
- Apple crisp with Washington state apples. Next year our orchard will be producing and we’ll have school-grown apples!
Taste Washington Day was Taste South Whidbey School Gardens Day at the Middle School. Delicious, healthy, fun… and as local as you can get!
This year, 600 students from the K-5 classes at the Elementary School and South Whidbey Academy eagerly headed to the School Farm the second week of school. Classes are weekly or bi-weekly depending on grade. The farm is delivering produce to the cafeterias and providing plenty of garden nibbles during class for all the students. Here are some photos of the learning, eating and exploration that’s been happening this September!
Several articles recently in the local press about the School Farm and Garden program!
In the Pacific Northwest Magazine of the Seattle Times, an article from local writer Valerie Easton HERE.
From the website “Getting Smart” website about Place-Based Education click HERE for “Four Ways Kids Learn from School Gardens” by Liz Wimmer.
In the South Whidbey Record, read about the Goosefoot campaign to raise money for the program HERE.
In the Whidbey Weekly, there is an article by Kathy Reed about the School Farm and our fundraising campaign on page 8. Click below to read.