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
strangely shaped potatoes
sweets and whites
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
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 on 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
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 some fresh Macintosh apple chunks.
KALE SALAD RECIPE
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
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
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
harvester and canner
Mother and son canning
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
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
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.