February 2012


_MG_1614 Welcome LA to send

We are so pleased to let you know that we have a new website!   You will now find our latest posts under the NEWS section, as they will no longer be published at WordPress.  Take a look around the new site and tell us what you think!!

Even when classes are not in session, there is always something in the making here at the 24th Street Garden. Weeding, planning, prepping, planting, these tasks are just a few of many that must be accomplished to maintain the garden and to run our interactive classes. With our amazing and tireless group of volunteers, we have been able to accomplish so much at the garden!

Last week, we all experimented with a new project: Seed Bombs. We wanted to create an activity that would bring the garden to the students, and seed bombs do just this. This activity also teaches our students about seed identification and seed dispersal. With these seed bombs in hand, students are armed with the power to transform the world around them by beautifying vacant plots of land on the schoolyard, while taking ownership and pride in their community.

Our Seed Bombs

Rolling the adobe clay, dirt, and seeds together in the palm of our hands, we felt like revolutionaries making these seed bombs of peace and propagation.  You can join in on the fight too! Make your own by following the recipe below or come make some with our students at our Garden Workday THIS Saturday, February 11th, 2012!

Here’s the seed bomb recipe:

5 parts dry red clay

3 parts dry organic compost

1 part seed (the smaller the seed the better)

1 – 2 parts water

Step one: measure out three parts of dry compost or soil. This provides a growing medium for your seeds.

Step two: measure out five parts of dry powdered clay. Once mixed with water, the clay will hold the seed balls together.

Step two continued… I use Red Art clay, which I get from a pottery supply store. It’s cheap, food safe, and feels great to work with.

Step three: Add one part seed.

Step five: Roll the seed ball mix into balls 1-2 in. (2.5-5cm) in diameter. Be prepared to get messy!

Step six: Set aside to dry on wax paper for a few days before storing or using.

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?