Vermont School Garden

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


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We’re Building a Hoop House!

Hammering in posts: Hoop House

Hammering in posts: Hoop House

Thanks to the New England Environmental Grass Roots Seed Fund and the Holt Foundation, the Westminster Center School has the funds to begin constructing a hoop house. With donated wood from a former WCS student, John Parker, the groundwork was laid by fifth graders supervised by their teacher, Jesse Wampler. The students in the fifth grade and our After School Program students will see the construction of this hoop house through to its completion. We hope to extend our growing season in the garden by several months in the spring and fall. Look at all the possibilities for learning in the photos below!

finding the right screw

finding the right screw

hoop house measurement

hoop house measurement

hoophouse drilling

hoop house drilling

hoophouse measuring 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

teamwork, hoophouse

teamwork, hoophouse

 

muffin break

muffin break

Hoop House construction continued

Hoop House construction continued

Hoop House Update

Hoop House Update

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Garden Dreaming: Westminster West and Westminster Center

Garden mapping WW

Garden mapping WW

Students at Westminster West School are excited about the new raised bed gardens that their parents and community members constructed for them. The K-3rd graders generated a wish list together of what they’re dreaming of growing. Then they went to work mapping their own ideas.

Second and third graders participated in similar brainstorming and mapping activities at the Westminster Center School. The stormy weather made us have to retreat to the cover of the classroom for some of this activity, but you can see that the rain held off at the Westminster West School! Maps in both schools were drawn approximately to scale, giving the  students an opportunity to think about the dimensions of their gardens as they planned.

WW garden mapping

WW garden mapping

Garden mapping WW copyMonday12-1 copyWW mappingWW classroom mappingWW class mapping 2 copy

WW Garden Dreams

WW Garden Dreams

wish list and mapping WCS

wish list and mapping WCS

favorite: rhubarb

favorite: rhubarb

Sharing Dream garden map

Sharing Dream garden map


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Back to Basil (See March 21st entry)

greenhouse basil closeup

greenhouse basil closeup

Third graders gathered their observations about the best place for planting basil after almost two months of comparing classroom seedling growth with photos of the basil growing in the greenhouse. It was almost a tossup between Harlow’s greenhouse and the seeds planted in their classroom window. The carton of seeds set in the desk drawer sadly did not survive. Everyone agreed that sunlight was a huge contributor to plant growth. These young scientists have been enjoying eating weekly plantings of sprouts in their classroom since late March!

The rest of the greenhouse basil seedlings will be planted in our school garden this Friday. Some seedlings were already transplanted and taken home by the third graders. They had a little taste test of basil leaves while transplanting.

transplanting basil

transplanting basil

Basil transplanting

Basil transplanting

Basil taste test

Basil taste test

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click here: Basil Observation sheet

 

The top basil leaves can be ‘pinched off’ allowing the leaves just underneath to branch out. (See center photo.)


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More on Flint Corn

 

 

removing kernels from cobs

removing kernels from cobs

 

Just in time for their trip to Sturbridge Village next week, the second 5th grade class at school tried their hand at grinding corn and making baked corn pudding. This time we also created a vegan version, substituting tofu for eggs and soy milk for cow’s milk. It CAN be done! Nutmeg and molasses have become new friends of the fifth graders. I wish I had taken some photos of the kids enjoying their pudding. I was too busy dishing out thirds and fourths!

 

 Click Here: Corn Pudding Recipe

 

grinding corn kernels

grinding corn kernels

adding milk to eggs

adding milk to eggs

adding corn meal to pudding

adding corn meal to milk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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COOKING LIKE NATIVES AND SETTLERS: FLINT CORN

flint corn before grinding

flint corn before grinding

 

Last spring the fourth graders planted a Three Sisters’ Garden. (See June entries from 2013). In the fall as fifth graders, they harvested their crop of flint corn, a variety of corn with a hard kernel that you’ve seen sold as hanging ornaments. They tied the corn and hung it in their classrooms to dry over the winter. Flint  corn was one of the few early crops that native Americans could process into food during the long winter. It took a lot of hard work to grow, harvest, dry and finally grind their corn into meal.  These fifth graders learned that survival wasn’t easy in our country 200 years ago.

milling corn

milling corn

 

regrinding

 

 

 

 

sifting meal

sifting meal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Final sift

Final sift

 

 

 

I found a grain mill through Amazon manufactured by the Great Northern Popcorn Company. It’s durable enough to handle grinding hard flinty corn. The moveable parts have value as a  tool for teaching physics concepts. Students can see how the auger sends the corn through to be ground while they’re using the mill. They compared it to other time they’d seen augers (for instance, ice fishing). They observed the plates grinding against each other and they tightened and loosened them as the they passed the ground corn through a few times to create a finer meal. What provided the energy for grinding this corn? The breakfast they ate earlier in the morning!

 

reading recipe lining up ingredients

reading recipe lining up ingredients

 

stirring cornmeal into hot milk

stirring cornmeal into hot milk

After regrinding the corn, we sifted it and saved the coarser meal for another project. Then we followed an old New England recipe for baked corn pudding. It worked! I introduced the class to the aromas and tastes of nutmeg and molasses before we began  baking. This prepared them to enjoy those ingredients later in the pudding.