Vermont School Garden

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


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Art and Poetry In the Garden

sunflower closeupPoet Verandah Porche and Collage Artist, Jeanette Staley

poetry kids in the garden

poetry kids in the garden

poetry writing in the garden

poetry writing in the garden

worked with the summer campers to awaken their senses in the garden. Each child created a garden collage and a poem to express their personal experiences as they walked through the garden. Below are students and teachers hard at work. This will be a two part entry. Their final work is so wonderful, its own blog space will follow in the next entry.

Here are Jeanette and Verandah simultaneously teaching children to express their ideas in two integrated lessons.

Jeanette's art lessonVerandah reading poemsGarden collage

Garden art and poetry example

Garden art and poetry example

Abby's garden collage

Abby’s garden collage


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Last Days for Teen Garden Crew

Sharing Cucumbers Teens and Preschoolers

Sharing Cucumbers Teens and Preschoolers

Olders met Youngers in their garden yesterday when the incoming Kindergarten class took a tour and were offered freshly harvested cucumbers. As you can see in the background, the teen crew took very good care of our garden during their five week stay. Some of them would like to continue working even though their internships are over this week.

We will miss each and every one of them, including their crew leader, Katie Davidson. We hope to welcome them in the garden whenever they can make it to Westminster in the future!

Natalia in the sunflower houseNatalia looking out from the sunflower house.

Making a Localvore Meal at Parks Place Katie, Natalia and David help make lunch for garden crews at the Parks Place kitchen. This meal was made with locally raised products.
Teens Leave with Kale and Pickles

Crew leaves with Kale bunches and pickles.


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Pickles From Cucumbers–No Vinegar!

ED SHORE’S KOSHER DILL PICKLESPickles Ready for Curing

Yesterday our teen garden crew learned how to make pickles—from harvesting to canning. Follow along on this photo journey. Click on the recipe for Ed Shore’s pickles  at the top of this entry. Ed was a beloved physics teacher at the Putney School for thirty years. He was so much more, opening the world to his students by leading bike trips around the globe, raising an amazing family in Westminster West with his wife, Joan, and creating wonderful science experiments through cooking. He was the first person who suggested using grape leaves to me as a crisping agent in pickling. I haven’t yet found the chemical explanation for this reaction. Any investigative scientists out there looking for a research project?

Scrubbing Cukes

Scrubbing Cukes

Dill Head

Dill Head

Grape Leaves for Pickles

Grape Leaves for Pickles

 

 

 

 

 

Pouring Brine into jars

Pouring Brine into jars

Stirring Brine

Stirring Brine

Garlic Grape leaves and Recipe

Garlic Grape leaves and Recipe

Dill head and Garlic in Jars

Dill head and Garlic in Jars


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Cucumbers Are Here!

cutting saplings for cucumber trellis

cutting saplings for cucumber trellis

cucumber trellis dug

cucumber trellis dug

It’s easier to spot cucumbers when they’re vining up a trellis. We experimented with two different kinds of support this summer. Teen crew members love sawing and lashing structures together.  Even our older gardeners needed guidance to discover  the tiny cucumbers growing behind yellow blossoms. It’s a thrill each time I see the spark of recognition light up their faces!

full sized cuke discovered

full sized cuke discovered

tiny new cucumber spottedtiny new cucumber spotted


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July Harvesters

First harvest.

First harvest.

Summer campers came out to the garden last week to find sungold cherry tomatoes (arguably the sweetest tomatoes in Vermont), peppers and cucumbers!

Our littlest campers loved the raspberries and discovering kale.

preschool digger

preschool digger

 picking raspberries

picking raspberries

They were so happy with their discoveries!

sungold cherry tomato harvest

sungold cherry tomato harvest

garden harvesters July

garden harvesters July

first pepper

first pepper

 

 


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July Garden Work

It’s almost August! Our hard working teen garden crew is only with us for another two weeks. The summer campers leave that week as well….just as our garden is beginning to yield its bounty. We harvested the garlic planted last fall (see Nov., 2012 entry) and it’s been hung to dry in a neighbor’s barn. Garlic likes a well ventilated dry place to cure. We finished the shade tent by stretching material over the frame. Weeding has been a demanding chore for these teens and their crew leader. We’re hoping to mulch with straw to keep the weeds down until school begins at the end of next month.

crew harvests garlic

crew harvests garlic

braiding garlic

braiding garlic

Garlic drying in a neighbor's barn
Garlic drying in a neighbor’s barn

Who else is in the garlic barn?

Who else is in the garlic barn?

tarp for shade house

tarp for shade house

crew under the shade house

crew under the shade house


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Earliest Pesto and Lettuce for Lunch

Mary makes Caesar Salad from our garden lettuce!

Mary makes Caesar Salad from our garden lettuce!

It’s official! We are now helping out with Summer School program salad right from our garden. The first lettuces, planted last June have made it to the lunch tables at school. Doesn’t Mary look happy to have this beautiful lettuce, grown by our students?

A pesto made from the flowers of our garlic plants (see previous posts) is the earliest and easiest to make. The very tips are cut off if they’re too dry. The rest, stalk and all goes into the food processor with olive oil and salt to taste. (Check consistency as you pulse. You should have a nice spreadable paste.) This pesto can be used in pasta, as a seasoning, or simply spread on toast with your favorite sandwich ingredients. YUM. Why didn’t I add lettuce???scapesscapes with olive oil and salt

scapes in blendescape tomaot and avocado sanwich


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A New Teen Garden Crew and Some Super Community Friends

Last week I came out to meet with the new garden crew, as well as moms, Stacie Illingworth and Amy Rice and their children Our goal was to put the sapling shade house back into the garden. We’d had to move it for tilling last spring. We pulled it out of the  ‘lake’ that had formed in the school field after all the rain this month. Lots of the old saplings needed support or replacement. The crew went to work cutting new saplings. We definitely needed everyone to get our frame up again. What great teamwork! New holes were dug and everyone weighed in on how to brace the stakes. Afterward, Amy rode her horse over to school to check up on the frame. It’s still up and holding. Now I need to sew a  tarp to cover the frame. This year we also planted some scarlet runner beans that we hope will vine up the poles to help shade the children.

Women crew members: Nadine, Katie, Kate, Gia and Kate!

Women crew members: Nadine, Katie, Kate, Gia and Kate!

Crew member, David, lashing saplings.

Crew member, David, lashing saplings.

Frame fished out of the new 'lake.'

Frame fished out of the new ‘lake.’

Cutting saplings

Cutting saplings

This took all of our strength.
This took all of our strength.


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Oh Yes, Kale Chip Recipe and More News

Below  is the recipe for kale chips:

Kale Chips Recipe (click here)

We were given a great donation of cloth to make a tent for visitors to the garden who might want to get out of the sun. Thanks to the Sherrods, and Mark Steinhardt for their support of our school garden. Here are Saige and Hunter Sherrod  in the garden today.

twin garden alums, Saige and Hunter Sherrod

Today we said “Good-Bye” to the Youth Services Crew. We cleared a spot for fall seedlings and the crew left us with a practically weed-free garden as well as some great words of advice:  Many vegetable generate ethylene gas as they ripen. If you put unripe tomatoes near riper ones, the gases given off by the tomatoes will help ripen your unripe ones! Here are some (but not all) of the veggies that generate ethylene gas: Apples, avocados, bananas, blue berries, citrus, cranberries, grapes, green onions, melons,mushrooms, peaches, pears, peppers, plums and …….tomatoes. Thanks again, Youth Services!

replanting lettuce, and cole crops for the fall

fare well to the Youth services Crew


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Early August Garden News

Our Westminster kitchen chef, Kim Kinney, works hard through the summer to provide several local organizations with appealing breakfasts and lunches. She has been very welcoming of our forays into new recipes to add to her repertoire. She has found gloves just the right size for children’s hands and has graciously allowed us to use the kitchen utensils and ingredients. I caught her on a trip back from a garden harvest the other morning. Kim has observed the eating habits of the students for years now and she has a lot to offer about how important the appeal of visual presentation can be to kids who are first time samplers.

Our terrific chef, Kim Kinney

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

KALE CHIPS

Summer campers ran out to the garden to harvest kale for our preparation of kale chips. They LOVE to harvest! After washing the kale, we learned from a seasoned Kale chip loving camper that you can just tear the kale leaves from the tough stem. You don’t have to use a knife to cut it out. I left the choice to the kids. Some just love to have the status of being able to use a knife when prepping. We preheated the oven and got to work, cutting and mixing our ingredients. Kale takes no time to become crisp. If you aren’t careful, it can easily burn……just 10 minutes and no more! Needless to say, the chips were a big hit on the playground at recess. Even a few young  bikers in the school parking lot tried a chip or two.

Veggie nay sayer likes kale!

harvesting kale

Can I try this raw?

no need for a knife

mix in the salt and olive oil

try some kale chips