Vermont School Garden

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


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What’s New in the September 2nd Garden?

Our School Garden

Our School Garden just before this morning’s storm.

 

I went out to visit the garden this morning after a week of being away. Although weed growth has slowed down, the cucumbers are doing alarmingly well. We have corn ready for the kitchen on the day our chef, Kim Kinney, plans BBQ for the  lunch menu.We may need to harvest ahead of time and either blanch or refrigerate the corn. It looks very ready for harvesting.

cukes keep producing

cukes keep producing

 

pepper harvest

pepper harvest

Scarlett Runner beans planted by Ian Levy's class last spring

Scarlett Runner beans planted by Ian Levy’s class last spring

marigolds and morning glories

marigolds and morning glories

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parent and school nutrition supporter, Stacie Illingworth and I harvested a bumper crop of raspberries, tomatoes and peppers for the salad bar. Sept. 2nd 2014Tomato blight has hit but we still have plenty of ‘untouched’ tomatoes to harvest.We have lots of pumpkins this year to be harvested by last year’s Kindergarten students.

 

effects of blight

effects of blight

still some good tomatoes

still some good tomatoes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New beans, planted mid-July will be ready to harvest for our pickling workshops later this month.

fall beans flowering

fall beans flowering

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I can’t wait to take groups of  students for a tour of their Outdoor Classroom!

entrance to garden

entrance to garden

morning glories and marigolds

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Back to School BBQ

Signing mom up for pickling workshops

Signing mom and gram. up for pickling workshops (Notice the chipmunk cheeks!)

It’s time to head back to school! The Westminster Schools hold a traditional potluck BBQ and open house for families just before school begins. This year we had a great turnout. Lots of kids and parents participated in the “tastes of the garden” table. We offered pickles, fresh produce and two dips all made from our garden veggies. There was a sign-up sheet for parents interested in After School pickling workshops being held this September.

taste test Back to School BBQ

taste test Back to School BBQ

produce ready for school

produce ready for school

taste testing garden pickles

taste testing garden pickles

2nds on carrot and potato dip

2nds on carrot and potato dip

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Greek Garlic Potato Sauce (Click here for recipe)

ED SHORE’S KOSHER DILL PICKLES(click here for recipe)

Ian Conway’s Pesto(click here for recipe)

 

What a fantastic way for families to be welcomed back by the teaching community at Westminster Schools!

Mom and daughter measuring up

Mom and daughter measuring up


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In A Pickle: Getting Summer Produce into School

Pickles ready to ferment

Pickles ready to ferment

July Broccoli

July Broccoli

Garden produce in the school kitchen

Garden produce in the school kitchen

Some produce, like our gorgeous broccoli, made it into the summer lunch program here at school.

Now it’s cucumber season and cukes taste yummy and crunchy eaten fresh off the vine, BUT there are so many of them, we need to preserve a few for when they’re not growing anymore. Time to ferment and process pickles! The summer campers were ready to stuff their jars with fresh dill heads and garlic from our garden. They added cucumber spears and brine and sealed their jars with a kiss. Right now the jars are stored in my cool dark basement. By Back to School BBQ Day on August 25th, the pickles will be ready to crunch on. Yummy summer memories will burst in our mouths!

adding dill and peppers

adding dill and peppers

adding garlic

adding garlic

stuffing jars

stuffing jars

Thumbs up for pickles!

Thumbs up for pickles!

There are a few gigantic cabbages growing in our garden. I’m converting one head into sour kraut. Right now it’s fermenting in a crock at my house. I also used some of our many cukes to make bread and butter pickles for our school salad bar. I used an old Vermont recipe. The crew inspired me to make them. They said they remembered their grandma’s bread and butter pickles. And for my own pickling tastes, I made a batch of Kim Chi, a Korean hot pickle, made with Napa cabbage, fish sauce and a few other summer veggies.

Giant Cabbage into sour kraut

Giant Cabbage into sour kraut

Sour Kraut Prep

Sour Kraut Prep

Crock Fermenting Sour Kraut

Crock Fermenting Sour Kraut

jalapeno peppers: pickle heat

vegetables for bread and Butter Pickles

washed vegetables for pickles

Click Below:

Simmering vegetables for bread and Butter Pickles

Simmering vegetables

Processed Bread and Butter Pickles

Processed Bread and Butter Pickles

 

 

Bread and Butter Pickle Recipe


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August Farewells

Rose's flower

Rose’s flower, taken in our wildflower garden

This summer’s teen crew and their leaders have left their mark on our Westminster School Garden. They were wonderful mentors for the young summer campers. They were willing to take risks and they worked hard. We will miss them and we hope they’ll rejoin us this fall for canning and preserving workshops we’ll be offering the community. Above is a photo of our wild flower garden taken by Rose, one of our teens. (She’s responsible for a lot of the photo documentation in the last few blog entries.)

Tomato pergola

Tomato pergola

staking tomatoes

staking tomatoes

helping hands

helping hands

Gia and the summer crew

Gia and the summer crew

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had two  summer campers, Jay and Conner, who learned a lot working side by side with our teen crew.

Tomato pergola

Tomato pergola

aspiring crew members

aspiring crew members

weeding September crops

weeding September crops

 

Irene and the crew 2014

Irene and the crew 2014


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Time for Massaged Kale Salad: YUM!

 

observing July kale harvest

de-ribbing the kale leaves

de-ribbing the kale leaves

getting the idea of working the kale

getting the idea of working the kale

helping with gloves

helping with gloves

breaking down fibers

breaking down fibers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer’s here and the time is right for making massaged kale salad, one of the Westminster campers’ favorite activities. They even like eating it after they help make it. We worked quickly during outdoor recess to complete our salad. Everyone wanted more! The combination of salt and lemon make this a big hit among kids young and old.

 

working hard with adult help

eating kale salad

eating kale salad

KALE SALAD RECIPE


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Mulching and Harvesting Garlic, Mid July

Harlow Farm Mulch

mulching the new garden

mulching the new garden

mulching around the butterfly garden

mulching around the butterfly garden

 

marigold pathway

marigold pathway

spreading hay

spreading hay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even with a dedicated young crew, the weeds were getting the best of us in July. We were blessed with a very wet growing season, contributing to our bounty of veggies…..AND weeds. Harlow Farm came to our rescue, selling us 20 bales of hay. They went a long way to keeping the weeds down. Last year we mulched a bit later in the summer.

washing garlic

washing garlic

rinsing garlic

washed garlic

washed garlic

hanging garlic in the barn to dry

hanging garlic in the barn to dry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our garlic was ready to harvest at about the same time. Bulbs weren’t as large this year as last year. I was told by Putney farmer, Marissa Miller at Lost barn farm, that there are many varieties of garlic to choose from. Next fall we’re planting some of Marissa’s giant garlic! We washed and attempted to braid the garlic, but we would have been better off rubber banding the tough stems together. The garlic was taken to Betsy MacIsaac’s Crooked Fence Farm where it was set up to dry by my grand daughter, Imogen.


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JULY SALADS: CUCUMBER, RADISH, TOMATO

radish chard harvest

radish chard harvest

OK I'll finish my work if I can cook

OK I’ll finish my work if I can cook

adding vinegar

adding vinegar

passing out taste cups

passing out taste cups

In early July the radishes and cucumbers were ready to harvest. A few Sungold cherry tomatoes were also ripening. It was a good time to make a little fresh garden salad for the summer campers and for our new garden crew. Everyone got in on the action, from my little grand daughters to the oldest crew members. Picky eaters are more likely to try a new veggie when they’ve helped prepare it. Also, ANYTHING tastes yummy with the right combination of sourness, saltiness and olive oil! Experiment with those ingredients and with your own picky eater.

first tomatoes

first tomatoes

experienced slicer

experienced slicer

cuke munching

cuke munching

 

 

Notice how some of the older campers have become very comfortable using sharp knives properly.

Rose helps

Rose helps

slicing radishes

slicing radishes

seconds. please

seconds. please