Vermont School Garden

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


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Sweeeeeet Potatoes

digging up sweet potatoes 2nd grades

digging up sweet potatoes 2nd grades

Thanks to the Vermont Community Garden Network, we were able to plant sweet potato slips last summer. The second graders came out to harvest them a week ago.

I’ve never grown sweet potatoes. They grow from ‘slips,’ cuttings from last year’s potato vines. They love warm soil; sometimes putting a dark tarp over them helps them along. They produce a LOT of vines that have to be cleared back before digging them up. They come in all shapes and sizes. They never fail to astonish kids and grown-ups alike when they’re being harvested.

looking for potatoes

looking for potatoes

strangely shaped potatoes

strangely shaped potatoes

sweets and whites

sweets and whites

peeling sweet potatoes

peeling sweet potatoes

The amount of teamwork and the kids’ use of age appropriate metaphors (“It’s like a loose tooth!”) are pretty impressive in a video I took, which unfortunately can’t be uploaded.

The second graders weighed their harvest and they nicknamed the largest potato, “Big Red.”

We baked some potatoes into fries. They’re pretty sweet already, but as the harvested potatoes age in a dry warm place, they’re supposed to get sweeter. We’ll see!

mixing in corn starch and olive oil

mixing in corn starch and olive oil

out of the oven ready to eat


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The Last Sun Gold and Kale Salad

last Sun-Gold

last Sun-Gold

It’s easy to round up a crew of students after school for garden exploration. This latest group was interested in what was still growing. They were mostly interested in grazing onĀ  raspberries which are still producing in abundance. Our summery crops are becoming a fading memory, but our kale, beets, carrots and potatoes are continuing to grow in the waning October light.

Kale harvesters ASP

Kale harvesters ASP

Massaging kale

Massaging kale

taking clean-up seriouly

taking clean-up seriously

Kale salad astounds with its ability to morph into palate pleasing deliciousness. Last week I discovered a new one at a restaurant in Woodstock, Vt. It had just the right balance of lemon, olive oil, tender kale leaves and, in this recipe, a bit of parmesan cheese. Additions to the basic recipe for kale salad are only limited by the imagination of the chef. Last week, these “After School” kids made a delicious salad, adding to the tang with someĀ  fresh Macintosh apple chunks.

KALE SALAD RECIPE


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Pickin’ Pumpkins: Grade One

Pumpkin Harvesters

Pumpkin Harvesters

It was time to harvest our pumpkins last week. They were beginning to drop off the vines. We can store them at school as long as the temperature stays between 50 and 65 degrees F.

First Graders went out to harvest the crop they had planted last spring when they were a class of kindergarteners. They had grown as much and more than their plants!

finding the pie pumpkins

finding the pie pumpkins

happy harvester

happy harvester

more harvesters

more harvesters

loading up pumpkins

loading up pumpkins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While they were on their treasure hunt, one student spied a woodpecker helping itself to the ripe sunflower seeds above the pumpkin patch. See if you can find it. (Click on photo to enlarge.)

woodpecker on the sunflower

woodpecker on the sunflower


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Dilly Bean Workshop: Families Invited

siblings at our pickling workshop

siblings at our pickling workshop

Last week Westminster Center held a dilly bean canning workshop. Families processed the beans from our garden, using our own garlic and dill seed heads. They each took home a jar of dilly beans! The rest will be served on our salad bar later in the year. Many questions were raised and answered concerning hot water bath processing and timing for these very popular pickles. We finished our pickling in just about an hour since a few participants had to get to soccer practice!

Click to open the recipe: DILLY BEANS RECIPE

finding those beans

finding those beans

harvester and canner

harvester and canner

Mother and son canning

Mother and son canning

family canning

family canning

 

 


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Tomato Coriander Soup

team dicing

team dicing

The community minded 5th graders contributed a soup to our Westminster Center School Open House last week. They combined fresh onions, garlic, tomatoes and coriander from our garden for this yummy offering. In teams, the class came together to read recipes, dice, and pulverize ingredients. They found out that the cilantro they used to make their salsa earlier had produced seeds. These seeds had a new “spice name”: coriander! As they ground the seeds with mortar and pestle, the aroma reinforced the reincarnation.

reading recipe while dicing garlic

reading recipe while dicing garlic

sauteeing

sauteeing

coriander

coriander

grinding coriander seeds

grinding coriander seeds

They also learned about the “magic wand,” a blending tool that is soo easy to use, we rarely pull out our blender anymore!

using a wand on tomato coriander soup

using a wand on tomato coriander soup

cleaning up the garden

cleaning up the garden

Some of these hard working children also helped take down tomato stakes in the garden. They piled them in the shed for next year.