Category Archives: Instructional Activities

Butterflies and Caterpillars in the Garden

If you want to attract something like this, a swallowtail butterfly,

swallowtail-butterfly

your going to have to put up with caterpillars, which are swallowtails in the larva stage.

adultcat01

Caterpillars can do enormous damage to a vegetable garden. They are voracious eaters. In this photo the host plant is a 3 foot fennel bush. This particular specie also likes dill and parsley and other members of the carrot family. The caterpillars will eventually strip all the fronds from the stems.

You can identify different butterflies and caterpillars in your backyard or school garden with this great tool from gardenwithwings.com.

If you are not interested in saving the caterpillars then ridding them from your garden can be done in two effective ways:
1. Pick them off by hand and put into a pail of soapy water;
2. Spray the plant and underside of leaves with Bacillus thuringiensis, commonly known as BT.

Photographer Bob Moul has a great slideshow showing the morphing of a caterpillar into a butterfly.

Job Opening – Director Position – Seeds to Plate Program

MTMS

Job Opening: Director Position, Seeds to Plate Program at Mark Twain Middle School, Los Angeles, CA

About Us
The Seeds to Plate Program aims to create and maintain a school garden that is integrated into the academic environment, promote a healthy food culture, nurture physical and mental well-being, and provide hands-on gardening and eating experiences for students, families and staff to foster mutual respect, appreciation of diversity, community spirit and sustainability of the earth. This modern incarnation of the garden program at Mark Twain Middle School was started in 2009, and consists of a team of seven volunteers, predominantly UCCE Master Gardeners.

Science and Our Food Supply – Free Supplementary Curriculum for Middle Level and High School Classrooms

scienceandfoodsupply

What captures the interest of students? FOOD! Yes, food can be used to engage students in inquiry-based science — really! The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in collaboration with the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) have created Science and Our Food Supply, an innovative, interactive supplementary curriculum for use in middle level and high school science classes. An advisory board of experienced teachers just like you developed and tested the materials.

UC Davis Website Afghan Ag is a boon for Garden Educators

Saffron Field

I recently came across a very valuable teaching resource for both educators and students from a very unlikely source – Afghan Ag.

e-Afghan Ag is supported by the USDA and managed by University of California, Davis with additional information from other land grant universities such as Cornell and Purdue. The url is http://afghanag.ucdavis.edu/

The site contains university researched best practices for farmers in Afghanistan including an entire section of Educational Materials. Of the educational materials, check out HorticultureField Crops and Soil.

The one lesson I initially found is called, “Student Lesson for Essential Plant Nutrients,” which is listed under Field Crops. There is also a power-point presentation to accompany the lesson.

Junior Master Gardener Classes

kidgardening

Two Junior Master Gardener Pop Up Opportunities:

For Ages 7-14

July 14th and July 16th 3:30 to 5:00 p.m.

Grow LA Victory Garden Classes at Greystone Mansion

I am pleased to announce that I will be teaching the Grow LA Victory Garden Classes once again at  Greystone Mansion and Park in Beverly Hills. This series of classes are for all those who wish to grow fruits and vegetables in their own backyards.

We will be hosting 4 Sunday classes (12 noon – 3 PM) beginning 2/1/15. Those who take all 4 classes will be given a certificate of completion.

Where:
Greystone Mansion & Park
905 Loma Vista Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

10 School Garden Fundraising Ideas

Let’s face it, gardens cost money. We need seeds, tools, amendments, irrigation, and if we’re lucky, support staff. How are we supposed to pay for all this?

First, there are many grants that will help you get started. We have published our own list of school garden grants which we update periodically. However grants don’t last very long and after the garden is built there is yearly maintenance to contend with. The answer is fundraising.

The following are fundraising ideas specifically for your school garden. Give them a try. You can raise money and have some fun at the same time.

succulents in containers

1. Plant Sale – For a successful plant sale you can look for donations or you can make your own. Cuttings from existing plants will be the least expensive route. Succulents are great for this. Culinary herbs are also a great idea. My favorite is the Simon & Garfunkel herb garden (parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme). Simply place them all into one container. You can also start from seeds, but just remember to give yourself enough time. Mother’s Day 2015 is May 10th, you will need to start your seeds at least 8 weeks prior.

2. Seedling Sale – Start vegetable plants from seeds to sell to backyard gardeners. Again, you will need to start the seeds approximately 6-8 weeks prior to your sale day.

3. Dried Herb Bouquets – Collect garden herbs such as basil, oregano, sage, rosemary, thyme, mint, dill, etc and arrange into bouquets that you can dry by hanging upside down.

4. Seed Sale – Seed companies such as Botanical Interests, High Mowing Seeds, Fedco Seeds and Urban Farmer Seeds all have seed fundraising programs for you to take advantage of. You’ll make 40-50% of all sales.

5. Flower Sale – You can also now sell flower bulbs through FlowerPowerFundraising.com

6. Compost and Worm Castings – For those with compost and/or worm compost programs selling your finished product would be very beneficial to home gardeners. Compost is one of the best organic amendments available and worm castings is one of the best organic fertilizers.

7. Recipe Cookbook – Collect recipes from students, teachers and parents specifically for all the great produce you grow.

8. Seed Tape – Using strips of newspaper or paper towel and homemade glue (flour and water), we attach seeds to paper and when dry, we roll them up and put a bow on them. We can then plant the seed tape directly in the ground and our seeds will be perfectly spaced. This is particularly useful for small seeds like carrots and lettuce that need to be spaced a certain distance apart.

9. Garden Art – Paint garden signs, markers, decorative bricks, trellises, etc.

10. Farmer’s Market – With the proliferation of Farmer’s Market you now have an outlet for all of the above along with any produce or flowers you already grow. Use the following link from LocalHarvest.org to find a farmer’s market near you.

For more fundraising ideas see Funding School Gardens from CSGN.org

Good Luck!