All posts filed under: Fall 2014

Garden works in primary

These works take the overarching concepts of the garden and break them into smaller components – comprehensible for the 3-6 year old child. They also offer meaningful work to the child that will allow them to observe and tend to the garden. These lessons lay the groundwork for bigger practical works in the future. Tools and materials for the works are set out in outdoor cubbies. Once a child has learned all of the works there is opportunity for free choice. First, however, it is important to teach students how to do each work properly and how to clean up a work to get it ready for the next person wishing to use it. We do this in small groups of 6-10 children, taking approximately 15 minutes to teach a work from start to finish, and then we give them a chance to practice. Digging Works Trowel control/ digging down: Various size pots are buried in the soil. The student’s task is to use a trowel to empty all of soil from the pots, effectively …

January 2015

When I tell parents, teachers, or friends that I’m a garden teacher, they inevitably ask: “So, what do you do in the winter?” My answer? “We pour over seed catalogs, cook with vegetables we stored in the fall, learn bird songs and make corn husk dolls. It’s true—there is less to do in the gardens in the winter, but we slow down and appreciate the larger, seasonal environment where we work and play.” As the temperatures dropped, we’ve moved most of our gardening classes indoors. This summer and fall we were blessed with particularly bountiful crops of sweet potatoes, popcorn, and Blue Hopi corn. Last week’s Primary classes made popcorn together, from the dry-stored crop we harvested in October. In anticipation of this tasty treat, we each transformed into popcorn kernels. Inside each of us was a tiny drop of water. When Jenny placed us in the pot with a little oil and salt, the water inside started to heat up and before we knew it…POP! We were ready to eat! Lower and Upper Elementary …

Okra and Pine Cone Ornaments

We had A LOT of okra this year in the garden and unfortunately a good bit of it got too big before we had time to harvest. When okra over-develops it gets hard and sinewy and isn’t good to eat. We let all of this big okra dry out on the stalk and then when it was hard and brown we clipped it off. Some of the okra we’ll use for seeds for next season, but most of it, we used to make Christmas Ornaments.

Thanksgiving and Mindfulness

For our Thanksgiving lesson this year we talked about the bounty of the garden & nature. We filled a basket with seasonal produce – butternut squash, sweet potatoes, dried corn, garlic, and herbs – and discussed how many of the foods we see at Thanksgiving are roots and seeds. They are foods that store well and are often harvested near the end of the growing season. Some things change with time, but the seasons and foods available, no matter how technological we become, are much the same regionally  (barring greenhouses and transfer trucks.) Fall is a time of bounty and we are so thankful to be able to share food together that we have grown with the help of rain, sun, microbes, and all manner of other creatures. Students crunched away on some delicious carrots before break and contemplated mindfulness and gratitude while they ate.

Turnip Carving

For Restaurant on Fridays with Middle School we love to decorate the tables with seasonal flowers or other natural objects. This year one of our restaurants days fell on Halloween, so instead of carving pumpkins, we decided to use turnips. We had a number of turnips that outgrew themselves and wouldn’t be particularly great for eating. It is believed that turnip carving began the jack-o-lantern tradition in Ireland at Samhain. They were used for festivities, lighting ones way, and also for keeping evil spirits out of homes. They did a beautiful job carving!