Category Archives: Instructional Activities

Edible Activities – One Bite Lessons

one bite lesson

LifeLab.org and California School Garden Network(csgn.org) are teaming up to compile a list of “One Bite Lessons” in preparation for the California School Garden Training Program’s Garden-Enhanced Nutrition Education (GENE) Workshops.

This compilation of activities will end up being posted on the csgn.org site.

What is a One Bite Lesson?

A One Bite Lesson is an edible activity that doesn’t require a kitchen or excessive preparation. It is a fun and creative way to have kids sample plants right from the garden.

Examples:
One Bite Salsa – Harvest a pepper and snip off some onion greens. Have kids harvest a couple of cherry tomatoes. Break pepper into pieces, tear up small pieces of onion greens. Eat cherry tomato, pepper piece, and a bit of onion in one bite.

Flower Feast – Discuss which flowers in the garden are edible. Harvest a variety of edible flowers and eat a mini bouquet or go on a floral walk sampling different flowers as you pass them.

Six Plant Part Burrito – As a group, harvest edible roots, stems, leaves (large ones like roman lettuce), flowers, fruits, and seeds. Wash veggies. Use a cutting board or plate and cut plant parts up in small pieces (minus the large edible leaf part). Have kids fill their leaf up with samples of each plant part. Roll up your “burrito” and munch on down or sample each part separately. Also know as 6 Plant Part Tacos, Finger Salads, and many other creative names.

Share your One Bite Lesson ideas and view what others have shared at http://csgn.org/node/846

FYI the free Garden-Enhanced Nutrition Education (GENE) Workshops will be piloted and offered during the 2012-2013 school year. Announcements will be sent this summer. To be added to the e-list go here www.lifelab.org/csgt

Garden Classes for Teachers

Getting Your Green Thumb” is a free, fun, and practical professional development series for primary or secondary educators. Classes cover topics in garden planning, gardening techniques, and curriculum connections. Each class includes classroom instruction, hands-on activities, practice in an outdoor garden space, and free materials. We welcome gardening beginners as well as those who are looking to take their next gardening step. Participants can choose to take all of the classes or can select the ones that best fit their needs.

All classes are held on Saturdays at the Huntington Botanical Gardens. Classes for elementary school teachers will be held from 9:00-12:00. Classes for secondary school teachers will be held from 1:30-4:30. The first class in the series is on May 12th. For more information, to view the whole series of offerings, and to get the application, visit the Huntington website.

Did I mention classes are free? What a great opportunity. Sign up today!

Using Eggshells to Protect Your Seedlings

Springtime means new plants sprouting from the soil and small transplants being added. If you have slugs or snails in your garden they will see these young, tender seedlings as dinner. One method we use to protect our seedlings is to create a ring of eggshells around them. Snails and slugs have soft underbellies and can be harmed if they slither over the crushed eggshells. Their brains may be primitive however they are smart enough not to cross over.

See the two photos below. The first is a zucchini plant without eggshells. Notice how the leaves have been chewed off the stems. The second is a zucchini plant with a ring of eggshells around it. Perhaps you can conduct your own experiment.

Squash plant with no eggshells

Without Eggshells

 

squash plant surrounded by eggshells

With Eggshells

 

Make Your Own Bird Feeder

DIY Birdfeeder

Attracting birds to your garden is a good way to keep away harmful insects. A good project for pre-school and elementary school students is to make your own bird feeder. Its so simple…

1) Recycle toilet paper rolls or paper towel rolls
2) Smear on peanut butter generously
3) Roll it in bird seed and press bird seed into peanut butter
4) Place tube on sturdy branch

Photo courtesy of Annie Moffatt, The Moffat Girls
For more pictures and complete, original article click above link.

Grow LA Victory Garden Classes 2012


Proud to be teaching the Grow LA Victory Garden (GLAVG) classes again this spring. Please see registration details below and please forward to those who may enjoy.

The Grow LA Victory Garden Initiative helps new gardeners start their own gardens quickly and easily in a container, in the backyard or at a community garden. Participants are able to turn their interest in gardening into successful, productive gardens that will generate positive changes in their homes by helping to lower grocery bills and enhance opportunities to eat healthy food.

The GLAVG classes are organized and led by UC California Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners. Those who complete the 4-week training will become UC-Certified Victory Gardeners.

Place:
Hami Garden, Hamilton High School
2955 South Robertson Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90034
Entrance on S. Canfield Ave (Between Cattaraugus and Kramerwood Pl)

The 4-week session is every Sunday for 3 hours.
Dates: April 29, May 6 May 13, May 20
Time: 1:00PM – 4:00PM

List of topics include the following:
Week 1: Planning, tools, containers, raised beds, seed starting, plant selection (what to grow and when to grow it)

Week 2: Soil preparation, soil properties, organic fertilizers, transplanting, irrigation, and mulching

Week 3: Composting, pest management (weeds, diseases, insects), beneficial insects, organic pesticides.

Week 4: Harvesting, pollination, seed saving, fruit trees, recipes, review, graduation

The cost is $20 per class or $75 for the entire session. Only those taking all 4 sessions will be eligible for certificates. Part of the proceeds will go to supporting the Hami Garden.

Payment is available through Paypal.com or by check. My paypal account email address is gp305@yahoo.com. You will be confirmed registration once payment is received. Classes are always a sell-out, please register early.

Contact:
Master Gardener George Pessin
Tel: 310-779-8816
Email: gp305@yahoo.com

Mailing Address:
834 Huntley Dr #4
Los Angeles, CA 90069

Edible Petioles

celery

Pop quiz: When we’re eating celery what part of the plant are we consuming?

A celery stalk, the part of the celery plant we eat, is a special part of the leaf structure called a petiole. A petiole is a small stalk that attaches the leaf blade of a plant to the stem.

Can you name any other edible petioles?

rhubarb

If you said rhubarb, you are correct.

What about stems?  What are the tastiest stems on the planet?

Arguably asparagus.

For more info see Edible Leafs: Spinach, Celery, and Artichokes

 

A Clothing Garden – Growing Cotton and Flax

raw cotton and cotton seeds

Raw Cotton and Cotton Seeds

We make a big deal about where our food originates from, but what about our clothing? Sure much of it is man-made chemistry, but natural plant fibers also contribute greatly to our daily wardrobes. Think of t-shirts, sweaters, and skirts made of cotton and shirts, pants and jackets made from linen. All originated as plants.

Cotton is a soft, fluffy, natural fiber that grows into a boll, or protective capsule around the seeds of the cotton plant. The fiber is almost pure cellulose. The botanical purpose of cotton fiber is to aid in seed dispersal.

No one knows exactly how old cotton is but archeologists have found cotton bolls and pieces of cloth in Mexican caves that date back 7,000 years. In Pakistan, cotton was being grown, spun, and woven into cloth as early as 3,000 B.C.

Linen is considered to be one of the earliest products known to civilization. It is made from the inner stalk of the flax plant and one of the first vegetable fabrics to be woven. It is valued for its exceptional coolness and freshness in hot weather.

There is evidence of cloth being made from linen in Mesopotamia and in Turkey as far back as 7000 to 8000 BC.  The flax plant that it comes from is believed to have first been domesticated in the area known as the Fertile Crescent. Mummies in Egypt were routinely wrapped in linen.

For info on how to grow cotton see Instructions for Planting Cotton Seeds from CottonsJourney.com.

For more information about Cultivating Flax see fact sheet from Department of Horticulture, Purdue University.

Clothing Garden Curriculum Suggestions:

1) Geography
Flax plants are believed to have originated in the area known as the Fertile Crescent aka “The Cradle of Civilization” Can you locate this area on a map? Why do you think linen clothing was popular in this region?

2) Math
It takes a patch of land of about 20 feet square to grow enough cotton for one common blouse. How many square feet would you need for 12 dozen blouses?

3) History
Cotton is woven into our American History because of Slavery and the Civil War. How did cotton figure into both of these events?

4) Art
Design an outfit for a scarecrow using only cotton and linen.