Year: 2016

Backpack Beginnings!

GMS Middle School students are excited to be giving back by donating produce harvested from the gardens to Backpack Beginnings. Last Friday marked out first official donation. Students on the Farm crew for the GMS Micro-economy harvested two crates full of persimmons, peppers, and bags of mixed greens, slated to go to Jones Elementary and students in need. Several weeks prior, students reached out with a letter to BPB, extending their support and stating their eagerness to work with them. Then our 8th grade Market Manager made a call to arrange a pick up for Friday. It is a wonderful example of how middle school prepares students to be proactive and mature communicators, capable of adult interaction and furthermore, that our students want not only for our community to thrive and experience health and well being, but for the community at large to be “full” and nourished. We plan to continue to donate weekly to BPB and hope that this is the start of a beautiful partnership. Stay tuned! “Over 49,000 Guilford County School children …

Traditional Corn Husk Dolls

We grow corn every summer in the GMS gardens but this is the first year that we have saved the husks, cobs, or silk for any purpose. These charming little dolls were so easy to make and the students seemed genuinely pleased by them. They aren’t as bedecked as the “tree change dolls” or some of the other corn-husk dolls I’ve seen, but nonetheless, the children’s imagination took flight and they were playing with them instantaneously. To make the dolls we soaked the corn husks in hot water for ten minutes and then used yarn to tie a head, waist, and legs! They were a treat for our Lower Elementary and Upper Elementary students. We also enjoyed reviewing all of the words associated with corn (winnowing, kernel, husk, cob, silk, maise, tassel, stalk…..) and learning about how corn pollinates.

“Be Keepers”

Friday morning was truly a riotous affair for several Upper Elementary students. Why? It marked the first session of a new Beekeeping elective 10 students are participating in. After discussing the basics of beekeeping in the fall, students got geared up and had their very first hands-on view of our hives behind the Middle School building. Check out what Upper El mother and photographer extraordinaire, Aris Wells, captured that morning. Thank you Aris! Stay turned for more information and Greensboro Montessori gardening adventures. In the meantime, remember that to “be a keeper” of bees is more fun with friends. Thanks for your continued support. Post comments and questions below!  

Welcome Back!

The gardens are in full summer swing here at the Greensboro Montessori School. Giant Zinnias and Black-Eyed Susan flowers are exploding in Primary, Scuppernong Grapes and Lunchbox Peppers are beginning to flush in Lower Elementary, and Sunflowers grace the Upper Elementary Teepee alongside a bounty of red burgundy okra. What a joy to be greeted with such beauty this week as students return! This year marks a significant change in the Permaculture Gardening program staff. After twelve spectacular years, Jenny Kimmel has decided to teach part-time in the Middle School Land and Microeconomy programs. She will still be an active part of the Greensboro Montessori School in this role, but this means we will all miss her grace and peaceful presence as our leader of both garden classes and the Permaculture program. Jenny’s mentee, Eliza Hudson, has moved into her position as the Lead Environmental Educator and Director of the Permaculture program. She will continue in Jenny’s stead teaching Primary, Lower Elementary, and Upper Elementary gardening classes and leading the program to ensure the gardens remain grounded in permaculture and Montessori …

Edible (and useful) Spring Weeds

In a permaculture garden there are many plants providing myriad functions. Have you ever wondered how we maintain such abundant gardens without the use of pesticides that seem to flourish in all seasons? One of the ways that we do this is to utilize nature to support itself. For example, many “weeds” or things that people consider to be weeds actually blossom and bring in beneficial insects and pollinators, or mine for minerals deep in the soil, bringing nutrients to the surface.  This is an important concept in permaculture for healthy thriving ecologically diverse gardens, so we brought the lesson to the classroom while working recently. In Lower-Elementary we had A LOT of spring weeds we needed to catch up with. We noticed while weeding that the most prolific of these was Purple Hen Bit (Lamium amplexicaule.) This purple flower is among the earliest bloomers and therefore one of the first food sources for honey bees. We explained that we leave these valuable weeds in the garden until after other nectar and pollen sources begin to …

Worldly Plants: Luffas and Rice

This fall Upper Elementary students have been working hard in their permaculture garden. So hard, in fact, that they are in the midst of perhaps the greatest discovery they’ve made all year: how to process the luffas and Carolina Gold rice that they planted in the spring of 2015. Students planted the luffa gourds with Aubrey in early June by mounding up 3 small hills at the end of beds along the black chain-linked fence. Why here, you might ask? Because these plants produce a beautiful trellising vine that will grow straight up a brick wall all summer long. Our luffas loved that small corner we carved out for them and only at the end of December were they ready to harvest. Although most of the plantings we have in the garden are edible (and luffas are), there are some that are not! When harvested early, the luffa fruits are eaten often in many South East Asian countries. When left for months to grow large, the fruits become, arguably, nature’s best scouring brushes and sponges! …