Vermont School Garden

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


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Last School Year Plantings and Raspberry Staking

 

 

 

tomato basil row

tomato basil row grade 3 with teachers, Paul Kohler and Dena Weiss-Tisman

Third grade basil planters came out to the garden to put in one more row…..this time they alternated basil and tomato plants. We’ll see how these plants grow as companions and we’ll compare them to the plants in straight basil or strait tomato rows. Let’s hear it for diversity among species!!

Early June view of the garden

Early June view of the garden cucumber trellis in background

 

new raspberry fence

new raspberry fence

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On another experimental note, we’ve staked the raspberries that were divided last fall. (Click on photos to enlarge). If you want a detailed look at the method we followed, go to You Tube and search for: Staking Raspberries using T-Posts and rebar at growingyourgreens.com. We have parent, Jon Taylor,  to thank for all the welding expertise. Hunter Sherrod,  WCS student alum, dug the post holes and set the stakes as part of his high school community service. I ran the wire…next time I’ll get stronger hands for that job. The raspberry canes will have access to plenty of sunlight and air thanks to our new stakes. Children and adults will enjoy their yield throughout the summer and into the fall.

Jack and the beanstalk illustrated

Jack and the beanstalk illustrated

Making my own origami house

Making my own origami house

Jay scarlet runner bean teepee

Jay scarlet runner bean teepee

Puppy digging

Puppy digging

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First graders in Ian Levy’s class heard the story of jack and the Beanstalk, illustrated their own renditions and then planted beans in recycled milk cartons. They’ll plant Scarlet Runner Beans under the teepee support that Jay helped dig in the southeast corner of our garden. Jay had a little from Marley, the garden pup.

Getting the cucumber trellises ready

Getting the cucumber trellises ready

 

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After School Program Kids in the Garden

 

 

 

 

Happy marigold transplanters

Happy marigold transplanters

milk carton recycling

milk carton recycling

transplanting in milk cartons

transplanting in milk cartons

ASP plants marigold border

ASP plants marigold border

courtyard marigolds

courtyard marigolds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The After School Program took over marigold transplanting and selling this year. Sixth graders kindly volunteered to collect empty milk cartons from all three lunch groups; they demonstrated the recycling steps to each group. Then they washed them and put them up to dry in large plastic bread delivery bins. The After School kids reverse folded the milk cartons and punched three holes into the bottoms of each using sharp pencils. The milk cartons became small transplanting pots. Some marigolds were sold to students before and after school. The rest were added to our school garden. If you scroll back to last summer, you can see how the marigolds fill out and create a hedge for our garden. In the photos above you can see the After School group transplanting them with help from a Jr. high school friend who once was a student here. We also put in a few other crops that hadn’t been planted yet. Many of these children will return to school for summer camp a few weeks after school lets out. I’m looking forward to their surprise when they see how much change can happen in a garden in a few weeks!

courtyard work

courtyard work

Coutryard finished Annaleeza Abby

 

The courtyard in our school is a daily  reminder of the changing seasons for students passing in the hallway. The pond freezes in December and is snow covered for most of January through mid-March This year fifth grader, Annaleeza, was back to spruce up the courtyard with her friends, Abby and Alexis. (You can also see Annaleeza working in the courtyard last year at this time by scrolling back to May, 2013.) She showed them her method for transplanting strawberry runners. Together with her friends, decisions were made about what to weed and what to move. A group of sixth graders also worked hard to clean out the fountain. Our courtyard is looking good!

 

 

 

 

Last minute weeding in the raspberries and the planting of cabbage starts was also done after school last week. Raspberries will be ready to pick in early to mid July when summer camp begins

weeding rhubarb and raspberries

weeding rhubarb and raspberries

.weeding raspberries

marigold transplanting

marigold transplanting

ASP planting cabbage

ASP planting cabbage


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PLANTING DAY MAY 30, 2014

Team Second Grade       Planting Kale

Team Second Grade
Planting Kale

The day was picture perfect. The garden was ready and waiting for 150 or so students to add their part to our outdoor garden classroom. First to arrive were the Pre-K’s who offered morning glories they had started from seed. They planted them along the arbor entrance to our garden. The Pre-K’s had also started sunflowers when they visited Kindergarten a few weeks earlier. Their Kindergarten friends planted these for them in a square sunflower house.

PreK morning glories

PreK morning glories

 

K planting sunflowers

K planting sunflowers

sunflower house

sunflower house

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

K planting pumpkins

K planting pumpkins

 

 

1st and 6th plant tomatoes

1st and 6th plant tomatoes

 

 

 

6th and 1st tomato planting

6th and 1st tomato planting

 

 

Ian Levy with 1sts and 6ths

Ian Levy with 1sts and 6ths

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next to visit were the 6th and 1st. grades. They partnered to plant three different varieties of tomatoes. Sun Golds are yellow cherry tomatoes that are sweet as sugar. These will be ready when summer camp begins and they’ll keep bearing until the fall. Romas, a meaty sauce variety, will be harvested and frozen for winter tomato projects, like pizza making. Beefsteaks, a large salad variety were started from seed by the After School Program students. These will be found in the salad bar this summer. I’m hoping that the 6th graders will carry on the tradition of creating flags with memories of their garden to attach to the tomato stakes as a reminder of their time here.

tomatoes planted

tomatoes planted

pepper planting

pepper planting

 

 

 

peppers planted gr 4

peppers planted gr 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two kinds of peppers were planted by the 4th graders. Sweet peppers are a delicious snack straight from the garden. Jalapenos are a bit spicier. We’ll use those for making salsa, trying Indian recipes with Atasi Das’s class and for canning dilly beans!

potatoes gr 5

potatoes gr 5

Planting Kale with Paul Harlow

Planting with Paul Harlow

 

 kale planting


kale planting

 kale planting


kale planting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 5th grade planted potatoes that they’ll use next year as 6th graders, not just for cooking and science, but for learning how to properly use a knife and fork.

2nd graders planted our kale. We begin making snacks like kale chips and massaged kale salad in the summer months. Kale is a long lasting crop. We’ll still be harvesting it after the first frost. I’m hoping to make some yummy kale smoothies with campers this summer.

planting corn

planting corn

3 kinds of corn gr 3

3 kinds of corn gr 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 3rd graders planted 3 varieties of corn. We are so lucky to have Paul Harlow as our sponsor farmer. He donates seedlings for many of the crops we plant. 3rd graders will be responsible for harvesting and drying the popcorn they planted when they’re in 4th grade. The entire school will eat popcorn for snack once a week. parent, Amy Rice Sciacca, once a student herself here, has been volunteering to pop our popcorn every Wednesday this year. Thank you 3/4th graders and Amy! The other two corn varieties are sweet corn and flint corn (used as corn meal for grinding and baking).

Kindergarteners planted their own crop; pie pumpkin seeds were planted in hills, 5 seeds to a hill for studies next fall.

All classes are invited to partake of the bounty of ALL crops even though specific classes were assigned to plant each one. The sweet reward at the end of planting was a juice pop from Kim Kinney in the school kitchen.

popsiclesWhere do I add that a bald eagle slowly circled above our garden for about 10 minutes while students planted! Incredible day. Incredible school!

 


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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