We Have Sprouts!

It’s a very exciting day when you visit your garden and discover your seeds have sprouted.  (Germinated–for you scientific types out there.)  Last week Lower Elementary worked hard to plant their red beans and this week?

Simply marvelous.  Gorgeous, really.  Bean sprouts are one of my favorite sprouts in the garden and you can easily see why. More

Last Day of School

Today is our last day of school and while there’s not a frown in sight, they are sad to say goodbye to their garden.  And who wouldn’t be? Gardening is BIG fun–especially during school hours!

“You mean we get to go outside again?”

“Yes pumpkin, you do.”

Speaking of pumpkins, our summer “crop” of students will do the honors this year and plant our pumpkin patch. Waiting until August is simply too late. Too late if you want pumpkins to carve for Halloween, that is. Or how about a pumpkin stand? Our seed sale fundraiser last week was a rip-roaring success. We raised an amazing $285.00 for our garden!  Isn’t that awesome? Now each student will have a tool to work with in the garden (no more sharing between friends) and we’ll ALL have gloves that fit.  For bonus points, we’ll throw in some magnifying glasses to use for leaf study, bug discovery, infection inspection–it’ll be super!

But before we go, how about one last check on our tomatoes (we’ll pull these out over summer and replace them with peanuts). 

Our first batch of which have already begun to sprout.


All over the place!


Gorgeous.  Simply gorgeous.  Come fall, we may host another seed sale, or send some home to parents as thank yous!  My summer plan is to create a full-fledged garden curriculum for the students, one that will coincide with the botany and science lessons they’re learning in class. With a seamless approach to their education, hopefully the students will be the big winners.

So if you’d like to incorporate gardening into your child’s education, sign up for new blog post notifications and you won’t miss a minute of the fun.  All lessons will be free for he taking!

Whipping Up Some Potatoes

Okay, maybe not whipped per se, but definitely a whirlwind of yum in the kitchen.  Last week we harvested potatoes, this week we eat them! Gosh, I love gardening, don’t you?

And these were easy to make.  A little olive oil, fresh chopped rosemary, salt and pepper and this time, we added a bit of Parmesan to the mix in lieu of sweet onions.  Delicious.  From kindergarten to middle school these potatoes were a hit.  Next!  Recipe can be found here.

In the garden this week, the kids pulled out the remaining potato plants, squash, and corn in preparation for crop rotation.

Now you’re probably wondering, corn?  I don’t recall seeing any corn.  Well, they weren’t much to see unfortunately.  I mean, they were exciting for the kids, but not much when it comes to cobs.

Perhaps we didn’t feed them enough.  Corn are pigs in the garden and maybe our eyes were smaller than their appetites.  They’re cute, but should be twice the size. We’ll work on it.

Moving right along, peanuts will fill our beds over the summer.  As part of our crop rotation, these guys are awesome because they fix the soil with nitrogen–especially important after the hogs wiped it clean of any and all nutrients.  Yes, I’m talking about corn and squash, even potatoes.  Peanuts love the heat, too and will take near about the entire summer break to grow and mature, about 3-4 months.  Remember: plants like soft beds of dirt–especially peanuts.  The plants drop pegs or “stems” into the ground and that’s where the peanuts form.  If the soil is too hard, the peanuts will have a hard time of it. So make it easy and loosen that soil!

We won’t follow our row of black beans with peanuts, because they’re part of the same rotation family.  Instead, will “close” that row off and wait until fall, maybe plant some broccoli or cabbage, both of whom love nitrogen.  Why?  Because they’re “leaves” and leaves love nitrogen.  Sing it with me kids:  beans, leaves, roots and fruits! (It’s our preferred order for crop rotation.)  Beans, leaves, roots and fruits!

Seed Sale begins on Monday which means the kids have furiously cutting and gluing their seed packets together and filling them with seed.  We have a wagon-full of black beans and pole beans to sell, plus some squash, sunflower and even tomato (some of which will have to be handed out the week after as you can’t rush Mother Nature!).  Cucumber didn’t fare so well, but we won’t give up on them.  There’s always fall! 🙂

Not only will we raise money for the garden, but the students will reap the rewards of independence knowing they are FULLY sustainable.  From seed to harvest to dish, glove to tool to feed and mulch, they’ll take pride in the fact it all stemmed from their effort.  The way I see it, self-reliance breeds self-respect.  And that’s a good thing.

School Garden Fundraiser

Well, it’s that time of year for us when the teachers breathe a sigh of relief and the kids jump up and shout for joy–school’s out for summer break!  I know it’s a bit early for many, but then again, we start earlier than most.  But days are days, right?  Funny thing is, most of these kids think they’re pulling a fast one on the their area school counterparts. 

“Ha, ha–they have to go to school longer!”

Far be it from me to ruin their fantasy. Life’s too short not to nurture every last one.  And once the grand finale picnic was over, the carrot cupcakes long since devoured, we contemplate the summer…garden

“Summer garden?”  Blank expressions stare back.  “But we’ll be gone.  Who’s going to take care of all those plants?”

I’m glad you asked.  While most students will be off frolicking about summer camps and family vacations, others (mine included) will be scampering about the school playground, struggling for control of the tether ball, clamoring for more snacks, running from kids with “cooties” (translated: the opposite gender) and… 

…tending the garden!  Lucky pumpkins.  Yep.  We’ll keep watch over our summer crop and make sure all is well.  Yes, peanuts and sweets are fairly independent critters, but we want to make double-sure they’re okay and doing well.  Besides, the kids really enjoy their time in the kitchen and any lost produce come fall semester will NOT be appreciated.

In addition to caring for our summer crop, we’ll be thinking of ways to expand.  I mean, what child doesn’t want to grow his own pumpkin?  Sheesh.  Not any that I know!  But with expansion comes cost.  How will we make ends meet?

Fundraising.  Of course. But we’re not talking your ordinary fundraising here, complete with gift wrap, candles and candy bars–no sir!  We’re talking seeds, as in selling them. Seed Savers Exchange is an organization committed to the practice of sustainability.  They’ve also devised an ingenious way to raise money for schools; sell heirloom seeds!  They’re practical, inexpensive and a wonderful way to give back to Mother Earth, not to mention your very own family.

What a perfect way to get kids involved at all levels.  Raise the money for your garden, prepare the ground, sow the seeds, nurture them, watch them grow and *pow* reap your harvest!  Time to eat, kids and eat healthy at that. 

Wow.  I do love a win-win situation.  It may work for your school, too.  But for now, the kids and I bid you farewell.  We’ll continue to post on our progress, though it will be infrequent at best.  (I do have vacation to think about AND two kids at home!).  Enjoy your summer and see you back here in August!