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FALL GARDEN UPDATES
This fall, first, second and fifth grade students completed 11 weeks of garden classes where they grew, learned about and harvested edible plants. First and second grade classes were the first to use the new Re-Use Garden space. This expansion on our previous two garden areas is designed for creative re-use of materials to plant in, label and even water our plants!
During our session, fifth graders focused on many practical aspects of urban gardening such as identifying and removing weeds, testing garden soil and saving seeds. First and second grade farmer-scientists observed and described the processes of seed germination and plant growth and development. In the spirit of the re-use garden, they also learned to turn a toilet paper roll into a bio-degradable planting container for chard and lettuce seeds (lesson idea courtesy of Ms. Pine). Water conservation was a topic discussed with all grades. The lending by a Harding parent of 3 full rain barrels allowed for a hands on demonstration of how to save and use water wisely to irrigate our gardens. Our fall session ended on a tasty note with an “Eat the Rainbow” nutrition and smoothie tasting lesson for all grades and a seed-to-table harvest and cooking day. Fifth graders made a stir-fry and salad with pak choi, broccoli, lettuce and carrots that they grew. First and second graders enjoyed colorful salads with their bountiful harvest which included lettuce, kale, spinach, carrots, radishes, peas and celery. The El Cerrito Natural Grocery Store and our new partner Farmigo both donated produce to supplement our smoothie and harvest cooking lessons. Learn more about the Farmigo fundraiser and how you can get fresh, local food delivered straight to the school while supporting the PTA at: https://www.farmigo.com/welcome/harding-elcerrito
Next up: This winter third, sixth and Ms. Tamura’s second grade classes have already begun their introduction to the garden and are planting their winter crops based on seasonality research performed by the students themselves.
ABOUT THE HARDING GARDEN
Megan Larranaga is the Garden Coordinator. This is her second year running the Edible Garden Program. The Harding Edible Garden Program launched in October of 2013. It consists of both individual grade level classes divided by trimester and a lunch time recess garden option. This year, first, second and fifth grade will have gardening in the fall. The rest of second, as well as third and sixth grade will have winter classes. Transitional kindergarten, kindergarten, fourth and the rest of fifth grade will do springtime gardening.
The classroom curriculum covers some practical gardening skills such as soil preparation, planting, watering and composting, as well as environmental science and nutrition. Every effort is made to integrate grade specific curriculum into the garden classroom. All class sessions finish with a harvest and cooking day.
Lunch time recess gardening is an option open to all grades Tuesday-Friday. Activities include planting, weeding, watering, doing garden art and scientific observations, and digging for earthworms. As of last year, the garden has a worm composting bin and two rotary compost bins.
If you would like to help out in the garden during your child’s weekly lesson, at lunch time, or just for the occasional work day, please contact Megan at the above email address. We are also always accepting donations of garden, science and art supplies as well as suggestions.