Tag Archives: school garden

School Garden Volunteers

Let’s face it, every school needs volunteers, the more the better. For school garden help, first place I would look is your own student body. Getting just one student to commit to irrigation or weeding on some type of schedule is huge. Second place I would look is the parent organization. Send an email to your base and tell them your needs.  You will not get any help unless you ask for it. Third place is your community. Use your neighborhood councils to gain access to your local homeowner associations. Send them an announcement as well. Last and best place is your local Master Gardener office. They supply the technical expertise you require to succeed.

In Los Angeles, you would fill out the form below and send it to Yvonne Savio, head of the UC Cooperative Extension’s Common Ground Garden Program. Her email is ydsavio@ucdavis.edu


Please fill out the form below and email back to me. I’ll forward to the Master Gardener volunteers, and anyone who’s interested will contact you directly. Be sure to include a lot of detail in the “Help Requested” section so MGs can determine whether their skills match your needs! And, be aware that Master Gardeners advise and instruct but don’t do labor. Also, most MGs already have their own volunteer projects, so may not be available.

Day and Date — for example, Saturday, June 14, 2010
Time — for example, 10am-12noon
Activity Name — for example, Baldwin Hills Garden Club meeting
Sponsoring Group — for example, Baldwin Hills Garden Club
Location Address — for example, Baldwin Hills Branch Library, 2906 S. La Brea Avenue, LA 90016
Help Requested (provide lots of detail) — for example, Seasonal Vegetable Gardening Presentation
Anticipated Attendance (so we bring enough handouts) – for example, 50 adults
Contact — for example, Yvonne Savio
Contact Phone and Email — for example, 323-260-3407, ydsavio@…

School Garden Grants Resource List

School Garden

Are you interested in building a school garden and could use a little financial help? Or maybe you already have a school garden and wish to expand. The following is a list of grants available specifically for school gardens or sites that list school garden grants on a continuing basis. See previous post about Tips to Get a School Garden grant.

1) GardenABCs.com – School and Community Garden Grants

2) KidsGardening.org List of Grants and Fundraising

3) San Diego County Master Gardener Association – Calendar of Grants Available to School Gardens

4) Annies.com Grants for Gardens

5) California Fertilizer Foundation – California School Garden Grants

6) CommunityGarden.org – Grant Sources and Fundraising

7) Green Education Foundation – Youth Gardening Grants

8) Western Growers – School Garden Grants

9) Wild Ones – Seeds for Education: Grants for School Gardens and Community Nature Areas

Santa Monica Good Food Festival Schedule of Events

Santa Monica Farmers Market is celebrating its 30th Anniversary with the very first Southern California Good Food Festival & Conference. This unprecedented multi-day event will focus on regional and national issues integral to building a local and sustainable food system while supporting the needs of California family farmers.

Please see schedule of events below, in particular, the school garden events on Saturday, September 17th.

Grow Your Own! Workshops
Grab your gardening gloves and hat and bring your questions, your curiosity, and your family to Grow (and Preserve) Your Own! A variety of local experts will demonstrate what you need to know about garden basics, seed starting, seed saving, fruit trees, container gardening, food preservation, backyard chickens, beekeeping, worm composting, pest control and more.

Scheduled Events – Saturday, September 17

10:00am – 10:45am — Gardening for Kids — Main Garden
Plant the foundation for healthy eating. Be an elementary school student in the garden, connecting nutrition and nature with classroom curriculum. Presented by Marika Bergsund, GrowingGreat.org

11:00am – 11:45am — What’s Cooking in your Classroom? — Chorus Room
Learn how to incorporate a Culinary Program into your school’s curriculum. Find out how talented chefs and directors are teaching our kids the importance of eating well. Presented by Lisa Fontanesi, “Kidding Around in the Kitchen;” Chef Gino Campagna,“Gino’s Kitchen” (Disney Channel); Julie Cotts, Director 24th Street Garden School; Megan Hanson, Root Down LA, James McGroarty, Network for a Healthy California.

11:00am – 11:45am — Kids Can Compost! — Hay Bale Classroom
Marianne P. Brown presents “Kids Can Compost,” Wen-Chia Tsai Parker’s workshop demonstrating how composting can be fun for the whole family.  www.kidscancompost.com

12:00pm – 12:45pm — Better School Lunches: Filling Half Their Plate with Fruits and Vegetables — Cafeteria
Dona Richwine, M.S. RD, Nutrition Specialist, SMMUSD Farmers Market Salad Bar, explains how MyPlate, the new USDA nutrition education tool, can and should influence school lunches. Demo and salad bar sampling included.

12:00pm – 12:45pm — Using Social Media Marketing to Promote Your School Garden — Chorus Room
Santa Monica High School students present their creative plan on how to engage an entire school community to grow a school garden. Includes social marketing and cross curriculum lesson plans.

12:00pm – 12:45pm — Organic Pest Control with Beneficial Insects — Main Garden
Learn about earth-friendly solutions to protect against pests that can damage plants. Organic Control’s beneficial insects—ladybugs, green lacewings, praying mantids, beneficial nematodes and others—defend gardens from “bad bugs” such as aphids, whiteflies, mealy bugs and mites. www.organiccontrol.com

1:00pm – 1:45pm — Mystery Lunch Box Cook-off! — Cafeteria
Vegetables are delicious! Five teams will complete at least three recipes using one vegetable per session guided by a mentoring student chef from Santa Monica College. Five teams means 15 different plant based recipes to share at the end of the cook-off! Yum! Presented by Jennie Cook, JennieCooks.com

1:00pm – 1:45pm — How Worms Make Our Lunch — Hay Bale Classroom
Explore ways to reduce waste and incorporate Vermiculture into your life and garden. Presented by Gina Garcia, Sustainable Works, www.sustainableworks.org

1:00pm – 1:30pm — The Need for Seed — Rose Garden
Save seeds, save the planet! In a world full of GMO plants, learn why it’s important to save your own seeds and how to do it. Presented by David King, Seed Library of Los Angeles, www.slola.org

1:30pm – 2:45pm — School Garden Models — Chorus Room
School garden designers discuss how they have successfully created unique and distinctly different programs that are changing the way schools feed and teach children. Presented by Marika Bergsund, Growing Great; Laurie Dill, Herb Project – 24th Street Garden; David King, The Learning Garden at Venice High School; Roger Lowenstein, Los Angeles Leadership Academy; Johann Hampton-Walker, Larchmont Charter School (Edible School Yard Program). Moderated by Yvonne Savio, University of California Cooperative Extension, Los Angeles County Common Ground Garden Program Manager.

2:00pm – 2:45pm –Garden Harvest Party! — Main Garden
Make your own salad directly from the garden, picking fresh fruits, vegetables and edible flowers. Enjoy a holistic approach to edible education with a dynamic lesson which integrates social and academic skills. Presented by Samantha Barnes of Kitchen Kid, www.kitchenkid.com

2:00pm – 2:45pm — Introduction to Permaculture — Hay Bale Classroom
Larry Santoyo, founder of EarthFlow Design Works, will demonstrate the basics of permaculture (permanent agriculture using design principles that mimic nature) to help you beautify your garden and save the planet at the same time. www.earthflow.com

3:00pm – 3:45pm — Doctor, Doctor, Give me the News — Chorus Room
What does “healthy” look like? A distinguished panel of experts discuss childrens health and nutrition and what parents can do to improve their child’s diet. Dr. Rebecca Crane, M.D., Pediatrician, Kaiser Permanente; Emily Ventura Ph.D., California Obesity Research Center; Dr. Ernie Katz, Director of Behavioral Sciences Professor of Clinical Pediatrics and Psychology, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles; Dr. Lauren Feder, M.D., The Medical Group of Lauren Feder and author of Natural Baby and Child Care; and Jennie Cook, www.jenniecooks.com give us the scoop.

3:00pm – 3:45pm — Plant the Foundation for Healthy Eating — Main Garden
Be an elementary school student in the garden connecting nutrition and nature with classroom curriculum. Presented by Marika Bergsund, Growing Great, www.growinggreat.org

3:00pm – 3:45pm — Keeping Backyard Chickens — Hay Bale Classroom
Learn all the basics of backyard chicken keeping from Dare 2 Dream Farms, who raise chickens and build coops for purchase, and will teach you how easy it is to do it yourself! Presented by Megan Coulter, Dare2Dream Farms. www.dare2dreamfarms.com

10:00 am–5:00 pm All-Day Activities – Saturday, September 17
Learn all about companion gardening from LA County Master Gardeners Debbie Harding and Lucia Burke, who will demonstrate how to grow a Butterfly Garden, Pizza Garden, Salsa Garden, and 3 Sisters Garden. celosangeles.ucdavis.edu

Visit the Fruit Mobile! — Rose Garden
Food Forward reconnects the community with the abundance of food present in our everyday lives by harvesting fruit from backyard trees with a volunteer crew and then donates the bounty to food banks across Los Angeles. Find out how you can get involved. Presented by Meg Glasser, Food Forward. www.foodforward.org

Vertical Gardening with Woolly Pockets — Rose Garden
Get hands-on experience and learn to garden vertically instead of horizontally with woolly pocket wizards! Presented by Shauna Nep, Woolly Pockets. www.woollyschoolgarden.org

SAMOHI Team Marine Teaching/Information Booth — Rose Garden
Learn how what you eat affects the planet! A group of audacious juniors and seniors at Santa Monica High School have been rallying their neighbors around the global on issues of climate change, plastic pollution, and ocean acidification. Presented by Team Marine students. www.teammarine.org

Scheduled Events – Sunday, September 18

10:00am – 10:45am — Biodynamic Gardening — Hay Bale Classroom
Denise DeGarmo-Ritchie of Malibu Compost demonstrates an ecological and sustainable system that respects Nature and is designed to support a self-perpetuating ecosystem. www.Malibucompost.com

11:00 am – 11:45am – Organic Culinary Gardens — Main Garden
Learn how to succeed in the garden! Learn the fundamentals of culinary gardening including germinating and transplanting seedlings, soil and gardening materials and the importance of organic plant nutrition. Presented by Kathleen Hiraga, culinary garden designer and President of Organics Rx, a retail line of organic gardening products. www.organicsrx.com

11:00am – 11:45am — Backyard Beekeeping — Hay Bale Classroom
Learn about bees and their care; beehives, equipment and harvesting honey; and the organic care of the bee colony. Presented by John Lyons. www.thewovengarden.com

12:00pm – 12:45pm — Garden Party with the Dragon Pizza Oven — Cafeteria
Gaze out at the Pacific while enjoying a market fresh brunch. Quiche will be cooked in Ray Cirino’s magical dragon oven. Sample goodies from the UCCE/LA County Master Food Preserver class.

12:00pm – 12:45pm — Backyard Chickens — Hay Bale Classroom
Learn the basics in this introduction, including chicken varieties, housing, feeding, disease control and correct coop design. Presented by John Lyons, The Woven Garden. www.thewovengarden.com

12:00pm – 4:00pm — Gardening Basics (Empezando el Jardin) — Main Garden
Workshops throughout the afternoon presented by University of California Cooperative Extension/LA County Master Gardeners, with sessions on soil preparation, seed starting, transplanting, container gardening, composting, fruit trees for homes and schools, including a bilingual workshop on seed starting and transplanting. Presented by Nancy Cipes, Herb Machleder, Julie Strnad, Araceli Perez-Ocejo, Bruce Woodside and others. celosangeles.ucdavis.edu

1:00pm – 1:45pm —  How Worms Make Our Lunch — Hay Bale Classroom
Explore ways to reduce waste and incorporate Vermiculture into your life and garden, Presented by Gina Garcia, Sustainable Works. www.sustainableworks.org

2:00pm – 2:45pm — Food Speak 101 — Chorus Room
Cage Free, Free Range, Grass Fed, Organic? What do they all mean? A panel of experts will clear up any confusion to help you make informed choices. Bruce Palma, General Manager, Santa Monica Co-Opportunity, Bonnie Modugno, Registered Dietitian, Nate Peitso, Maggie’s Farm

2:00pm – 2:45pm — Watering Edibles — Hay Bale Classroom
Learn how to efficiently irrigate edible plants, including those in containers. Discover water saving design strategies including living mulch, plant guilds, and soil remediation. Presented by Russell Ackerman, Water Resources Specialist, City of Santa Monica

3:00pm – 3:45pm — Conserve Today/Preserve Tomorrow: Organic Pest Control — Hay Bale Classroom
Learn how to manage common garden pests without harmful pesticides. Presented by Karl Bruskotter, Environmental Programs Analyst, City of Santa Monica.

4:00pm – 4:45pm — Backyard Composting — Hay Bale Classroom
A demonstration of everything you need to know to turn kitchen scraps into valuable compost. Presented by Wes Thompson, City of Santa Monica.

10:00 am–5:00 pm All-Day Activities – Sunday, September 18

Backyard Gardening — Rose Garden
Learn all about Companion Gardening from LA County Master Gardeners Debbie Harding and Lucia Burke, who will demonstrate how to grow a Butterfly Garden, Pizza Garden, Salsa Garden, and 3 Sisters Garden. celosangeles.ucdavis.edu

How to Create a Vertical Garden — Rose Garden
Woolly Pockets demonstrates how to garden vertically with woolly pocket wizards! Presented by Shauna Nep, Woolly Pockets. www.woollyschoolgarden.org

Eat Cheap – Save Your Seeds — Rose Garden
Seed savers from SLOLA: Seed Library of Los Angeles will be on hand to demonstrate and answer questions about seeding saving. www.slola.org

Take home some seeds for your own backyard. UCCE/LA County Master Gardeners will have seeds and seedlings to give away.

What are you growing in your school garden this year?

broccoli crown

In mild winter climates likes ours in Southern California now is the perfect time to be planting our winter garden, and how advantageous that it should also coincide with the start of the school year.

What to grow in a school garden is a question we hear alot. The short answer right now is cool weather crops. Cool weather crops differ from the warm weather crops we grow in the spring and summer mainly in that they do not fruit. Peruse the list below and you will notice that when consuming cool weather crops we are eating mostly leaves, stems, and roots.

For northern climates cool weather crops can be grown very successfully in a greenhouse.

The following is a list of cool weather crops arranged by family:

Alliaceae (Allium or Onion Family) – chives, onions, scallions, shallots, garlic, leeks

Amaranthaceae (Amaranth or Beet Family) – amaranth, beet, chard, spinach, quinoa

Apiaceae or Umbelliferae (Carrot or Dill Family) – anise, caraway, carrot, celery, chervil, cilantro, cumin, dill, fennel, lovage, parsley, parsnip

Asteraceae (Sunflower Family) – artichokes, cardoons, chicory, endive, escarole, lettuce, raddichio, jerusalem artichokes

Brassicaceae (Brassica or Mustard Family) – arugula, bok choy, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi, mustard, radish, rapini, rutabaga, tat soi, turnip

Fabaceae (Legume Family) peas, fava beans, soybeans, lentils

Lamiaceae (Mint Family) – mint, rosemary, sage, marjoram, oregano, thyme

Solanaceae (Nightshade Family) – potatoes

Whatever you decide to plant I suggest starting some of the plants from seed like lettuce, cilantro and radishes. Then choose one of each and allow it to bolt and go to seed. This a very valuable lesson about the cycle of a plant from seed-to-seed which can be easily accomplished within the school year.

How to Make a Keyhole Garden – African Style

Set in Lesotho, this video shows a group of schoolchildren making a keyhole garden. The charity Send a Cow showed them how to make it and the children can now make their own at home and have more food.

Twitter + School Gardens = #SchoolGardenChat

Twitter may not be as popular as Facebook, but for school gardens Twitter is an indispensable tool. With over 175 million users generating over 65 million tweets a day one cannot ignore the networking benefits that Twitter offers.

For the uninitiated, Twitter is a social networking and microblogging service enabling users to send and receive messages called tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters that are displayed on the user’s profile page.

Recently, real-time chat among twitter users has become a popular way for followers of a particular topic to meet, exchange ideas, and make new friends.

On Thursday Feb 10th, at 6:00PM PST
and every Thursday thereafter
School Garden Weekly (@SGWeekly) and
School Garden Guru Mud Baron (@Cocoxochitl)
will be hosting a 1-hour school garden chat on Twitter.
We invite each and every one of you to attend.

To access you will need to do the following:

1) Become a member of Twitter if you are not already. Membership is free. For support help, see Twitter basics.

2) At the specified time, enter #schoolgardenchat (with hashtag #) in the search window and voila, the conversation will unfold before you. If you’re not familiar with the use of hashtags see Twitter Support: What are Hashtags?

3) When posting remember to include #schoolgardenchat at the end of your post to insure it appears in the chat queue, otherwise we won’t see it.

What to Bring to the Party:
1) Tell us about your school garden.
2) What are your top 3 challenges?
3) Share your resources and knowledge.

Join the conversation.  Join us for #schoolgardenchat

School Garden Lessons, Activities and Curricula

Jerusalem Artichoke

When I first started working in school gardens my initial focus was on getting kids to eat healthy. To that end I would plant as many varieties as possible knowing that young gardeners love anything they plant and nurture themselves.

As school gardens got more popular however, more and more teachers were asking how to incorporate school gardens into their everyday lesson plans. Learning to eat healthy was just one of many topics that needed to be covered. Peruse the websites below and you will find activities and lesson plans that also relate to art, science, math, and social studies.  Also please note many are broken down by grade.

1) School Garden Lessons from GrannysGarden.org

2) School Garden Curricula Grades K-12 from National Environmental Education Foundation

3) 15 Lessons for 1, 2 and 3 graders (72 page pdf)

4) 15 Lessons for 4 and 5 graders (61 page pdf)

5) Curriculum ideas from California School Garden Network

6) Agriculture in the Classroom – Lesson Plans from USDA

7) School Garden Lesson Plans from Virginia Tech Horticulture Department

8) Nature’s Partner’s – Pollinator, Plants, and You (Comprehensive pollinator curriculum for grades 3-6)

9) School garden activities arranged by season

10) Lesson Plans and Curricula – Garden ABCs