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.


Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!

Here’s a delicious recipe for onion dill bread.

Dill Bread
Adapted from The Joy of Cooking

Makes one 9×5-inch loaf

1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm (105 to 115°F) water
3 cups bread flour (I replaced 1/2 cup of this flour with whole wheat)
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, or 1 tablespoon dried dill or dill seeds
2 tablespoons sugar or honey
1 tablespoon wheat germ, toasted
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup large-curd cottage cheese
1 large egg

Optional, for top of bread:
1 egg, lightly beaten, or 1 tablespoon melted butter
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt or a few dill seeds

Combine yeast and water in a small bowl and let stand until the yeast is dissolved, about five minutes.

Combine flour, onions, dill, sugar or honey, wheat germ and salt in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer. Add the yeast along with the cottage cheese and egg. Mix by hand or on low speed until the dough comes together, addition additional flour or warm water if needed. Knead for about 10 minutes by hand or with the dough hook on low to medium speed until the dough is smooth and elastic. Transfer to an oiled bowl and turn it over once to coat with oil. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place (75 to 80 degrees) until doubled in volume, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Grease a 9×5-inch (8-cup) loaf pan. Punch Gently press the dough down, form into a loaf and place seam side down in the pan. Cover with oiled plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F. If desired, brush the top of loaf with the egg or melted butter, and then sprinkle with the additional salt or dill seeds. (I highly recommend the butter/salt combination.)

Bake until the crust is deep golden brown and the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped, about 35 to 40 minutes. (My bread read just about 200°F on a thermometer when I took it out.) Remove the loaf from the pan to a rack and let cool completely.

 Who says kids won’t love a healthy snack?

Quite often when we tell people what we teach our kids in cooking class their response is, “Do they even like it?” Every time, with a satisfying smile, we reply, “Yes, they do!” And our doubter is left amazed. Take our Fourth Graders for example:

We walked Ms. Lafleur’s fourth grade class to the orchard and began to harvest some of the last Granny Smith and Fuji apples of the year. The kids were literally jumping with excitement over the prospect of picking this delicious fruit.  After we collected a bowlful of apples and took it back to the table, we washed and cut the apples.  The students then learned all about fennel and chopped the bulb up as well.  They also cut up some mint and sorrel they had harvested from the garden and tossed it all with a squeeze of lemon, a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Finally, we took our forks in hand, and as a class we counted “one…two…three”…and we all tasted it! At first it was quiet, as everyone chewed up their first bite.  But then, the exclamations started coming from all directions! “This is GOOD!!”  “I love it!” “I’m going to want some more!” Every single student had  something wonderful to say about the tastiness of this snack.  Then from the side I kept hearing, “Miss Cassie, Miss Cassie” and so I walked over to my friend at the table.  He stood up and looked at me with an almost desperate countenance and pleaded “Please! Can I take this recipe home and give it to my mom so that she can make it for me for my birthday?!?” At once my heart was overjoyed at this most sincere stamp of approval.

Ms. Lefaur's class enjoying the salad


Try it for yourself and tell us what you think!

Apple Fennel Salad


2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and halved

2 bulbs fennel, sliced thin

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

optional: 1/4th cup chopped sorrel

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Cooking Method:

1.  Cut the apple into thin slices and place in a medium bowl with the fennel and sorrel.

2. Whisk together the lemon juice, mint, and olive oil in a small bowl.

3. Toss the apples, fennel and sorrel with the vinaigrette and season to taste with salt and pepper.

4. Enjoy!

In the garden we are regularly left with pounds of food scraps to compost.  So when we discovered pickled watermelon rind our ears perked right up at the idea of another garden snack!  What a great lesson in resourcefulness for all of us!!

Pickled Watermelon Rind


Upon looking, it’s easy to see that there are many variation of this pickle recipe.  This recipe below is from Whole Foods and is quite tasty!!

Makes 2 pints

For this recipe, make sure that traces of the pink fruit are gone from the watermelon rind then cut away and discard the green peel, too. What you’re left with are chunks of thick, white rind that definitely don’t deserve to be thrown away. Use this pickle as a condiment on sandwiches or serve as you would a chutney with grilled meats.


2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar or honey
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon whole cloves
4 small, dried chiles
4 wide strips lemon peel
1 (1-inch) piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
1 1/2 pounds peeled watermelon rind, cut into (1/3-inch) chunks (about 5 cups)


Put vinegar, water, sugar or honey, salt, cloves, chiles, lemon peel and ginger into a medium pot and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Add rind, reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer until rind is tender and translucent, 8 to 10 minutes.

Spoon contents of pot (with pickling liquid) into glass jars, seal tightly and chill overnight. Serve right away or store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Happy New Year everyone! GSF hasn’t been blogging over the last few months, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t been busy in the garden. In fact, there’s tons to tell you about and get excited about for 2011!

Here’s a quick recap of what we’ve been up to:

The summer harvest was astonishing, with over 800 lbs of produce either harvested by families or donated to the Greater West Hollywood Food Coalition. This was just a normal week’s bounty:

To help us figure out what to do with all of the beautiful tomatoes, Shaila, the cafeteria manager from next door, taught us to make her family’s chutney recipe:


3 lbs ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped

1 yellow or brown onion, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 tbsp sugar

1 1/2 tsp “Panch” spice (parts cumin, fenugreek, nigella seed, fennel seed, and black mustard seed)

1 tbsp vegetable oil

Salt to taste (about 1 tsp)

Put tomatoes in a medium pot over medium high heat with 1 cup of water. Boil for 10-15 minutes until they have broken down into a thick sauce. Add more water if it gets too thick. While the tomatoes are cooking, heat the oil in a saucepan over medium high heat. When hot, add the spice mixture and let it sizzle for about 15 seconds. Then add the onions and garlic and stir frequently until they’re cooked and starting to turn brown. When the tomatoes are done add the spice and onion mixture, sugar, and salt. Stir well, taste, and adjust the seasoning. This will keep in the fridge for 3 days.

We also had many garden visitors over the summer, including some very talented recent 24th Street School graduates that came back to take care of the garden and document the abundant wildlife that descends once school is out!

We experimented with sheet mulching on our two circle gardens to prep them for pumpkin planting and couldn’t have been more pleased with the results. We read lots of different pieces of advice about sheet mulching and the various ingredients you need, but we used what was available and affordable (free composted horse manure, 4 alfalfa bales at $9.99 each, and two straw bales for top mulch layer at $7.95 each). Once we got the materials together all it took was some dedicated volunteers and a bit of elbow grease to create a deliciously fertile bed.  No digging required!

Since we planted the seeds in mid-July they weren’t ready for Halloween, but by Thanksgiving we’d grown 42 pumpkins the size of basketballs or larger in 650 square feet!

We dissected lots of pumpkins and learned all about the different parts of the pumpkin plant

made Jack O’Lanterns

and decorated

The school year started off with a burst of activity as we got into our Fall programs. To start off the Fall 2010 Slow Food Cooking: Seed to Table program we had a chef training day in which chefs from all over the city came and learned how we plant, harvest, and cook food fresh from the garden 6 times a week with every student at the 24th Street Elementary school. Jenny Cook, who started the program with GSF two year ago,  made a delicious garden stir-fry:

We’ve continued to create some deliciously healthy


and in some cases exotic

dishes that introduce students to cooking fresh garden produce and teach them to make healthy and delicious food…

…done lots of different observation activities including scavenger hunts

and contrasts and comparisons…

…planted out hundreds of seedlings tirelessly sourced and delivered by the indomitable Mud Baron…

…and had lots of wonderful visitors like Ann Grodin who very generously gave us a worm bin, set it up, and has been coming back regularly to show different students how it works. The worm bin has become one of the more popular items in the garden and students have started bringing in scraps of food from home to feed them.

And we can’t forget the fantastic students from SMC’s Sustainable Works program, who come out to the garden every Friday and spend three hours working in the garden!

But most of all it’s been the hundreds of families and other volunteers that show up to our monthly workdays and weed, water, plant that keep the garden looking beautiful.

Stay tuned for reports of what’s happening in 2011. It promises to be a very busy season of new programs and partnerships but we will do our very best to keep you up to date! Happy Gardening!


It seems like we’re always blogging about food in the garden, but it’s because we have not one but TWO regular chefs volunteering at the garden! Here’s Chef Jenny introducing her latest cooking lesson to our young gardeners/chefs.


Fruit and cheese quesadillas! They’re definitely a very simple and kid friendly activity. Most importantly, FUN.


Fruit and Cheese Quesadilla Recipe:


  • flat apple slices
  • raisins (we had golden raisins for this activity)
  • grapes
  • grated cheese
  • tortillas
  • 1/2 teaspoon oil

Directions: slice the grapes into smaller flatter pieces. Take a tortilla and sprinkle the cheese, apples, raisins, and grapes. Heat up and spread oil evenly onto the pan (med heat).  Lay the quesadilla onto the pan and wait til cheese melts. Serve and eat!

Chef Gino came by last week to teach the kids how to make mini pizzas and soda! We were especially excited because we really wanted to find an excuse to use our new solar oven. How’s that for being green? Our little solar oven was able to bake the little pizzas at around 350 degrees!

Here’s Chef Gino explaining the solar oven and pizza plans:



Think Geno’s going to just buy pre-made pizza dough? Where’s the fun in that?


Messes perfect for the garden


Mini pizza in cupcake liners


Shaking up their own soda (juice and soda water)


Kids waiting anxiously for their little pizzas

The pizzas turned out to be a huge success and easy! Try them at home!

Chef Gino’s Mini Pizza’s


  • flour
  • water
  • yeast
  • salt
  • sugar
  • tomato sauce
  • basil
  • cheese
  • ham
  • olives
  • cupcake liners

To make the dough: scoop approximately half a cup of flour on to your plate. Add a pinch of salt, yeast, and sugar. Mix in 2 tablespoons of water. (this is all approximations) mix together and the consistency shouldn’t be too sticky and should be able to roll easily into a ball. Play around with the water and flour to get the perfect consistency.

To make the pizza: take a little bit of the dough and flatten it to the bottom of the cupcake liner. Spread a some tomato sauce and add your toppings.

Pop it into your toaster oven and cook until ready.

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