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Friday, March 30, 2012

Ch Ch Ch Ch Changes!

       This month has flown by! Just as quickly has the garden at Lakewood almost gotten away from her crew of dedicated workers. As conflicting Spring Break weeks between Eckerd College and the elementary school have put us in a daze of catch-up we invested our time without garden visitors to get "Down and Dirty with Garden Maintenance!" (Trademarked working title for my future HGTV debut show;)

    When I arrived this morning I was stunned by the amount of food that had sprouted over the week. I had forgotten the diverse plants we had chosen to sow this semester and we've got quite a few interesting veggies for the kids to sample when they return on Monday:

Garbanzo Beans (Also called "Chickpeas") --- Maybe we can make some Hummus!

Zebra Pole Beans ---- The kids are going to love the crazy colors
Yellow and purple Eggplant are bursting from their bushes --- I counted at least 8 this morning!

       I am so excited to incorporate the food aspect of gardening into the lessons this week! Along with these few images I have, I also discovered a ton of squash nearly ready to harvest, the blossoms of the squash were booming and their one of my favorite things for the kids to try. It tastes like queso cheese and the kids are always pleasantly surprised when they try them raw.
       The radishes are also in need of harvesting. Some have even bolted to the point which their flowers and seed pods are sprouting. I'm really excited to keep one or two in the ground to show the students where the seeds of a radish come from! It's so exciting when you get to utilize your passion to get young children interested as well. This weeks lesson is going to be on pollination and it will be awesome to use the bee and butterfly lesson from a few weeks ago to bring all the growth and activities together. The kids especially love drawing the insects we discuss and then finding them in the garden. I'm sure we'll see tons of butterflies and bees this week with all the beautiful flowers coming up from the growing Sweet Potatoes, Radishes, Pollinator Garden, and Eggplants.

    Maybe this week we can try to make an easy dish for the kids to try. I really like to enforce a team-work and kindness aspect to every lesson and I'm sure working together to make a fresh salad or Salsa dip would be a different way to project those themes while focusing on the food as well as the science.

    All in all the garden is looking beautiful and wild! I hope my Monday students feel a little less melancholy coming back from Spring Break into a world of munchies and art!

Enjoy the rest of your Spring Break Lakewood students and families!

Lakewood Elementary ---  Edible Peace Patch Garden

-Erin Mattick
 Gardens Manager

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