About 80 kindergarten through second-grade students at Midvale used pint-sized shovels Monday to help finish a tree-planting project begun during the weekend. It’s part of a brand-new community orchard at their school, the final step in developing a garden for the community at the west side school.
“The last part of the landscape plan for the garden called for an edible border, so I checked out what might be available on the Internet,” said Nancy Gutknecht, one of the organizers of the community garden at Midvale.
She learned that a California-based nonprofit organization called the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation provides grants for planting orchards all over the world where there is a need.
Those orchards provide fresh fruit as part of a healthy diet and lessons in environmental sustainability.
“I sent the foundation an e-mail, and they were interested in our school project. It seemed too good to be true, but it’s gone so smoothly,” Gutknecht said.
Now that our seeds have begun to germinate (yeah!) it is time to discuss thinning. Thinning is the term we use to mean the removal of some plants to make room for others to grow. If plants are overcrowded they will compete for light and moisture and appear spindly and weak. To demonstrate, place two students back to back and ask if they would like to live the rest of their lives like that. Plants, like people, need ample room to develop.
To properly thin seedlings first select the largest and healthiest looking seedlings to keep, then grasp the seedlings next to it as close to the ground as possible and slowly and gently pull the plant out of the soil trying your best not to disturb the roots of the remaining plants. For small seedlings, use a scissor and snip the seedling off at ground level. This works very well with seedlings like carrots and lettuce. The back of the seed packet will tell you how far to space your seedlings apart, however with many vegetable plants like lettuce, arugula, spinach, and beets, thin your plants gradually and eat your thinnings as you go.
Growing Healthier Kids – Study Pits Gardening Against Childhood Obesity
Many of us love talking about the growth of flowers, trees and shrubs, but they’re not the only things blossoming before our eyes.
Childhood obesity is at an all-time high. Nearly one-third of U.S. children are overweight, according to the Annual National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
This trend is particularly troublesome because it can start kids on a path to health problems once confined to adults, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, menstrual problems, trouble sleeping and asthma.
But Candice Shoemaker, associate professor of horticulture, forestry and recreation resources at Kansas State University, hopes to do something about it. She has received a grant for $1.04 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Research Institute to study whether gardening can promote healthier lifestyles.
The study — Project PLANTS (Promoting Lifelong Activity and Nutrition Through Schools) — was inspired by Shoemaker’s experience, shortly after starting at K-State in 2001, of implementing the Junior Master Gardener Health and Nutrition Through the Garden program at elementary schools.
Complete article can be found here
A germinator is any device that demonstrates the germination process. The following shows how to make one.
Another germinator can be found here courtesy of RAFT (Resource Area for Teachers, www.raft.net)
Now that we’ve begun planting our seeds it is time to discuss germination. Germination is the process by which a seed breaks its dormancy, sprouts, and turns into a seedling. The best way to understand it is to observe it up close. In the classroom place some larger seeds like beans, pumpkins, peas or watermelon between layers of wet paper towel on a plate. Make sure the paper towel never dries out. It should feel like a wrung-out sponge. After a few days you will notice the root emerging.
School Food is Winning Young Fans
“One of the major reasons the meal-uptake of healthy school food has been so dramatic is the effect that the school garden has had on the pupils.
All students, from reception to year 6 are involved in the process of planting, watering and digging up vegetables, both during lesson-time and as an after-school activity.It teaches the children the variety of produce available in Britain and encourages them to try new vegetables, such as marrows, pumpkins and radishes, which are either eaten raw during break-times, or incorporated into the school meals by the head chef. Fruit trees have also recently been planted in the garden to further the pupils understanding, and while they begin to bear produce, local residents have donated their own apples and pears to be incorporated into school meals.”