Vermont School Garden

A visit to a Vermont public school garden through the seasons.


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Pickled Beets YUMMY!

beets processed and ready to eat

Harlow Farm gave us enough small beets to make almost 20 quarts of pickles for our school salad bar. I had noticed that these were a popular item at lunch time. The After School students of all ages got together for a ‘pickling bee’ yesterday. It was impressive to observe how kind and encouraging the older students were toward the younger ones. The beets were pre-

beet peelers multi-age

beet peelers multi-age

boiled and cool, so it was very easy for even the youngest children to pop off the peels. After the bowls were filled, older students were the ‘quality control’ managers, making sure all skins were removed. I had brine boiling to ladle into sterile filled jars. I overheard a few great conversations among students as the red beet juice colored their fingers:

“So this is where the expression ‘beet red’ or ‘red as a beet’ comes from.” “I don’t need to buy fake blood for Halloween. I can just cook beets.” ” Hey, these taste sweet!”

Notice how all are working together on this project. (You can double click photos to enlarge.)

multi-age beet peelolders quality controlmeas.cinnclovesMeasuring cinnamon and cloves.

boiling water bath

boiling water bath

cleanup crew

Cleanup crew!

You can find the recipe for these pickled beets at Allrecipes.com. We just added 1/4 tsp. cinnamon to each jar.


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Making Pizza Sauce

Ripening Sungolds

Young After School students made pizza sauce the other day for a Make Your Own Pizza Night at school. Families will make their own pizzas together at school this Thursday. Then they’ll take homemade tomato sauce and pizza dough home with them to create their own  pizza night. The girls making the sauce on the far left had the best time squishing those tomatoes. Older students added diced onions and garlic. I cooked the whole mixture down to a sauce that night. It’s stored away in freezer bags until Thursday. Can’t wait!

squishing tomatoetoamoes and onions in potstrainng sauc

Tomato harvest Aug

Tomato harvest Aug.


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September Celery Harvesting

Abby's harvestAbby, a sixth grader, and I harvested celery for the entire school last week. You can see it in the background. She wanted her flowers and raspberries front and center for this photo. Our celery is feeding the entire school at snack time once a week. The kitchen supplies raisins and peanut butter or cream cheese for ‘ants on a log.’ This past week, a crew of K through third graders harvested our all school Thursday celery snack. They had a good time as you can see below:

ASP celery harvest

Happy muncherpulling up celery

Jays celery

Can we eat this celery now?

Can we eat this celery now?

6th grade celery harvest

6th grade celery harvest


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First Graders Visit the September Garden

discovering raspberries

First graders were busily observing and recording their impressions of our garden yesterday afternoon. Armed with clipboards and pencils they were milling about everywhere and taking big risks, learning about edible flowers, vegetables and fruits. They were so proud of their first attempts at creating a symbolic record of what they saw. I wonder how many of them might one day become scientists…..or writers!

eatng a nasturtiumNote taking grade 1Proud first grade writerswith IanGrade 1 writing

sharing observations at meeting

sharing observations at meeting


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Fifth Graders Revisit the All School Garden

Using all of their senses to explore and remember.

Using all of their senses to explore and remember.

We met indoors during morning greeting and shared what we thought we might find in the garden now that we were back in school. I asked students to use as many of their senses as possible to explore when we moved from the indoor to the outdoor classroom. There was so much to discover: the crunch of fresh kale when you bite into it, the prickliness of cucumber leaves, the yellows and oranges, purples and reds of the flowers, the yummy combination of flavors when you make a raspberry-kale wrap, the whispered secrets of the leaves when the wind moves through them, the smell of green!

sharing what we noticed in the gardenpepper planters in June

Pepper munchers in September. Pepper planters in June.

pepper munchers in September

butterfly garden

butterfly garden

checking out the butterfly garden

checking out the butterfly garden

Raspberry kale wrap

Raspberry kale wrap

Three kinds of kale

Who woulda thought most of this class needed to munch on fresh kale while debriefing?

Who woulda thought most of this class needed to munch on fresh kale while debriefing?


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Getting Snack Ready for the Whole School

Bagging hte washed celeryLast week a team of After School  students harvested celery for our all school healthy snack program. Usually our daily fruit and veggie snacks are purchased, but we have enough beautiful celery in our garden to feed the whole student body this fall. Were planning to harvest and serve it once a week until we run out. Celery tops are great additions to homemade broth. Notice the teamwork among this great group of kids!

bringing in the celery harvest

bringing in the celery harvest

washing celery

washing celery

cutting off celery tops

cutting off celery tops

harvesting corn

harvesting corn

shucking ears

shucking ears

sweet corn ready for snack

sweet corn ready for snack


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Back to School Barbeque

Garden visitors trying a veggie dip.

Garden visitors trying a veggie dip.

If you were lucky enough to come to the community barbeque just before school started, you might have had a taste of our pickles or some potato garlic dip (skordalia). Your family might have had a picnic dinner under the shade tent. Massaged kale salads, pesto and more were offered for families to try. Each family brought a potluck dish to share and children were able to meet their teachers before the big first day!

Sade shelter with scarlet runner beans.

Sade shelter with scarlet runner beans.

August bounty

August bounty

Tomato harvest Aug

Celery, tomatoes, peppers and marigolds.

Celery, tomatoes, peppers and marigolds.

Anyone for a taste of our school garden?

Anyone for a taste of our school garden?