Get Growing! Lesson 11

Finally some good weather for going out to the school garden! Last Friday, during "Two hours for Butler Elementary", a fabulous parent volunteer and I cleaned up the school garden and trimmed back the huge butterfly bush a bit so everything looks really nice and neat. My thanks go to Paul for the garden work and Gitanjali for organizing the whole event!

Weeding

My students love weeding, so Paul and I left them some tough old dandelions in the path areas. They went after them with enthusiasm and everyone showed off the big tap roots. A few students asked about eating dandelions - which have nice bitter green leaves for salads and the flowers make a sweet tea. If you want to try eating dandelions, only harvest them in places that have not been sprayed with pesticides and have low likelihood of lead contaminated soil. Please don't eat urban traffic island dandelions.

Planting Perennial Herbs

Before class, I brought a collection of perennial herbs (mostly divided from my own garden) and placed them in the garden bed where I wanted them to be planted. While the others dug dandelions, I challenged two students to correctly place the plant markers by the unlabeled herbs.

After I demonstrated how to plant herbs for the class, the students planted in pairs - one student dug the hole, the other removed the herb from the container and situated it. The teamwork was pretty impressive.

Planting Bare Root Strawberries

I ordered a big bag of bare root strawberry plants from Fedco for my class to plant and take home. Bare-root is definitely more cost effective and gives the kids a chance to see the root system. (the extras are going in my garden plot) Here's how we did it.

Fill the pot about halfway and make a mound in the middle.

Spread the roots over it "like an octopus".

cover with soil so the leafy part still sticks up. Water well when you get home.

So, now there's two weeks off before our next (and last!) class and the water faucet at the school garden has not been turned on yet. I'm going to stop by a few times with jugs of water and I think it would be great if students and parents stopped in as well. I got a cheap watering can to keep out there to make things easier. There's a big rock on it to keep it from blowing away. I hope we get some regular rain too.