Friday, May 8, 2020

Update on K School seeds

This video is dedicated to all our student gardeners. They met multiple times with our garden educator before the school was closed down due to COVID 19 on March 16th.

Perhaps the students remember their time sowing tiny seeds in their greenhouse.  Those seeds sprouted and were moved to my personal greenhouse to grow out until we received the OK to utilize the school greenhouse again.  
The seedlings were returned to K school and have been loving the warm greenhouse as their roots grow and grow. 

 Watch this short video to follow along in their progress.  Their next step is to be transplanted into the garden. 

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

WHAT’S UP with our class pet?

Sheldon, our 7 year old Sulcata Tortorise has come out of her semi hibernation to a world full of clover. She lives in her indoor habitat in a heated house and sand pit in the winter.  During the summer she is moved outside to her grassy fenced enclosure.

Here are some questions for your students to research

1. What is a Sulcata Tortorise?  What other name are they  known by?
2.  What habitat do Sulcata’s live in?
3.  How big can Sulcata’s get? How long can they live?
4.  What do Sulcata’s eat?
5.  How fast can a tortoise travel?

I will tell you a funny story about Sheldon.  Two years ago we had sheldon in her summer enclosure.  Her owner, Daniel (our son) checked on her and she was gone.  Panic ensued with much calling (tortoise  don’t answer to calls but we tried anyway) and a thorough search was performed.  After 45 minutes we could not find her.  We feared she was gone.  I told Daniel, think like a tortoise, where you go?  To the greenhouse he answered!  We believe this is what happened.

Our greenhouse is down a steep hill about 150 yards away from Sheldon’s enclosure.  We figured she got out and started going for a walk when the smell of kale was in the air.  Tortoise have great sense of smell and kale is one sheldon’s favorite foods but she is not suppose to eat too much.  We assume she followed the smell of the kale and got going down the hill and probably could not stop!  The mental picture of this is funny.  We found her sitting next to the kale bed inside the greenhouse 150 yards away from her enclosure!!

Enjoy this video of Sheldon emerging for a day of doing what tortoises do!

Monday, May 4, 2020

The Story Of Flowers video

Creative writing lesson for all grades.

Have your student watch the following video called The Story of Flowers.  As a creative writing lesson have them choose one aspect of the video and write a short essay, poem or haiku about the video.  Please post their written submission below in the comments.

Growing, blooming, rooting. Soil aeration, pollination. Enduring wind, rain, and pollution, dispersing seeds, and growing anew. Directed by Tokyo-based botanical artist Azuma MakotoStory of Flowers showcases the life cycle of flowers as a wordless explainer. The breathtaking floral animation was illustrated by Katie Scott of the Welcome to the Museum books, with animation by James Paulley.

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Welcome to May! Let’s get growing

Welcome to May, the month we gardeners know is going to be busy.  It’s all about sowing, transplanting, amending and weeding.

At this time in the school year we would be in high gear as student gardeners spend time in the greenhouses, in the gardens and in hands on learning activities.

Starting today I am going to be sharing weekly garden to do lists.  These items have been compiled by me over the past 35 years as a UC Davis Master Gardener, a home gardener, school educator and school garden manager.  These lists are what drive our garden education program at BHSD17C.  So let’s get started!

Sow lettuce

Every first week of the month we sow lettuce.  Lettuce takes approximately 45 days to mature.  If you sow the amount of seeds you foresee needing in a month you will always have lettuce.  Think of how much you will save at the grocery store!  A packet of seeds is about $3.00 and will last you the whole year.  Let’s do the math for a family of 4.

One packet of lettuce seeds costs $3.00 (or free if you get it from the Freed Seed Library!)

     3 - bags or heads of lettuce per week.                      

X  4 - weeks in a month
   12 - sow enough seed to get twelve heads of lettuce per month

Compare the above to store bought

3 bags of lettuce per month @ $3.50 per bag  X 4 weeks X 9 months = ???????   (Answer Below)

We always have lettuce growing in the school gardens.  We supplement the salad bars on the three campus’. This spring you will see school grown produce in your weekly food disbursement bags.

Now to the chore list for the first week of May.

1.  First sowing of Bush Beans -  It is a bit early to plant beans outside but if this crop fails, you can always sow a second crop.

2.  Sow Peas and radish which can be harvested as early as 3 - 5 weeks

3.  Sow cucumbers, squash, melon and pole beans, basil, lettuce, carrots, beets and radish in a shelter area.

3.  Check cabbage, broccoli and kale for cabbage moth damage
4.  Plant potatoes in the ground, in a large pot of even in the bag of soil from the grocery store.
5.  Weed your garden beds
6.  Hand pick slugs and snail at dusk and early morning

Did your student do the math problem from above?

Compare purchasing a packet of lettuce seeds at $3 per packet which will last all year.


Purchasing bagged lettuce from the grocery store.

_____ (# of bags your family uses in a week_  X $3.50 X 4 (weeks) X 9 (months) = ???

Here’s our family’s estimate.  What was yours?

2 X $3.50 X 4 X 9 = $315

If we grow our own lettuce we can save $315.   WOW!