School Garden News – California

School Gardens Take Root in L.A.
California School Garden Network and Network for a Healthy California – Los Angeles Unified School District, in partnership with Western Growers, the California Instructional School Garden Program and the UC Cooperative Extension’s Common Ground Program hosted a “Growing Healthy with School Gardens” – a school garden resource fair in Los Angeles.

The Oct. 6 resource fair was at Harmony Elementary School in Los Angeles from 8 a.m. to noon. Western Growers provided free, fresh fruit and vegetable snacks at the event. Additionally, more than 30,000 seedlings were available for teachers who are interested in launching or enhancing their own school garden.

California Secretary of Agriculture, A.G. Kawamura, addressed the teachers and principals in attendance, speaking about the important role school gardens play on campus as “learning laboratories.”

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Week 8 – Transplanting (video)

Transplanting involves moving a plant from one place to another as well as planting seedlings that were started from seed at a different locale. The secret of successful transplanting is not to disturb the roots. Use a trowel (or hand shovel) for small plants and seedlings and a regular sized shovel for larger plants.

First thing you want to do is to dig a hole where the plant will grow, then dig up the plant to be moved trying to get as much soil around the roots of the plant as your tool will allow. Lastly, water well and often till the plant is established.

School Garden News – Oregon

Hamlin Garden Keeps on Growing

Jared Pruch, director of the School Garden Project, visited Hamlin’s garden this summer and said the site is “a great example” of what can be accomplished.

Hamlin is one of four Springfield schools that belong to the School Garden Project, a grassroots nonprofit group that provides training and support to member schools.

“We really think being able to connect kids to the food they eat is an important part of their education,” Pruch says.

Week 7 – Seedlings, Trellis

Everything we planted with the exception of potatoes have germinated. As we observe our seedlings bursting forth notice how certain family members look similar. The following are from the Amaranthaceae family, the red seedling is a beet the other is swiss chard.

Beet Seedling

Beet Seedling

chard-seedling

Swiss Chard Seedling

For those growing peas be sure to set a trellis in place before they germinate. A trellis is any structure that supports a climbing plant. It can be as simple as a stick in the ground or as elaborate as an artistic sculpture.

School Garden News – Wisconsin

Garden of Earthly Delights at Midvale

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.

Read more about The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation

Week 6 – Thinning

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.

School Garden News – Kansas

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