The kids at 24th Street Elementary are back in full swing here at the garden. We’ve been discussing the seasons and getting into what it means to be winter in Southern California. Winter in Los Angeles can be a confusing time since we aren’t wearing down coats or out building snowmen. So how do we know that it’s winter when the outdoor thermometer reads 70?  Luckily for us we can look to the garden for clues with a little game we like to call, Garden Guess Who.

This is what winter looks like at 24th Street Elementary.

Let’s get started with this clue: It is dark green, has a bumpy surface and long leaves. It looks like dinosaur skin but definitely doesn’t taste like it! It is delicious in a salad. It likes to grow during the winter. What could it be?!

Dinosaur Kale!

The kids then break up into teams and use their own observations about the garden to come up with clues for each other. They walk through the orchard describing the bare trees; they huddle around the thick stalks of the Brussels sprouts and look to the papery petals of our Iceland Poppies. They are taking inventory of what is growing (and not growing) in the garden during winter.

At the end of our game, we gather together to talk about their garden discoveries, and to be given their final clue.

Clue: It is oval, has a smooth surface and is small. It is in the Citrus Family and has an orange colored peel but is not an orange. It grows in the winter. What could it possibly be?!

kumquats!

They scan the garden and quickly spot the orange-colored jewels, all pointing excitedly to their discovery, “Miss Laila, over there! They’re over there!!” We walk over to the ripe fruits and after chanting the word, “Kum-quat! Kum-quat! Kum-quat!” we begin our harvest. Each student holds their kumquat high in the air until everyone has one and then the countdown begins. “Three! Two! One!!” Their eyes are bright with surprise, “It’s sooourrrr  and SWEET!!” “It tastes like candy!” Can you guess who loves kumquats?