August 2013                         

Learning Garden Ideas

The school year has already begun for some, and is fast approaching for others. Students will be thrilled to see how much the garden has grown over the summer so welcome them back and show them what came of the plants they planted in the spring. This gives you the opportunity to introduce them to the garden and facilitate and guide their experience in it. Check out DUG's Scavenger Hunt Worksheet or take a look at SLUG's Garden Activities for ideas to get your students to interact with your Learning Garden.
Garden Maintenance Tip of the Month!

 

Maintaining your garden space in the beds and around them will foster more respect from those who spend time there. Gardens that are less well kept tend to be more frequently vandalized and likewise gardens that are frequently tended to, weeded, and have a clean presence are less frequently vandalized. This applies to students, neighbors, and garden pests alike.
  • Clean mature leaves or fruits that have fallen off your plants and are sitting in the beds. As these begin to decompose they will smell strongly and attract unwanted plant eating pests to your garden. 
  • Weed the area around the beds, pulling the weeds out by the roots and be sure to trim any grass around the garden area. 
  • Tighten your shade sail so it is out of reach and less tempting for students to jump to or hang on.
Featured Learning Gardens

McMeen Elementary                                            Denver, Colorado
Although McMeen Elementary School's Garden was installed and planted the beginning of June after many gardens were already thriving, they dug right into the garden and their hard work shows! After several classes of elementary students filled the beds with soil and then planted them, the Garden Team enthusiastically took on the responsibility of watering and caring for the garden during the summer. It shows!

 

The Students who planted the garden will be welcomed back to school this month to see eight foot tall sunflowers of every color beaming down at them, and an abundance of Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Squashes, Eggplants and Herbs. On top of involving students in the garden this fall, the food will be served in McMeen Elementary School's cafeteria in Denver's Garden to Cafeteria Program . The garden space will be enhanced through the community garden established by Denver Urban Gardens which will open next season.

 

With such an impressive and bountiful garden to welcome the students and staff the Garden Team is looking to integrate the garden further into the school's culture and to involve educational programs for the students this fall. Check out our Featured Gardens Blog for Photos!

Thanks to the McMeen Garden Team for all their work and enthusiasm for this project! 


Upcoming Learning Gardens 
 
Please visit our website for a list of all Learning Garden locations across the U.S. 
 
Stay tuned on our Facebook page or join our Google-group to see the latest happenings with The Kitchen Community! 
Resource of the Month

Life Lab's School Garden 
Take a look at 
Life Lab's School Garden Signs Simple signs with lessons in Spanish and English introduce students to important aspects of your garden, get them asking questions, and open them to the larger lessons to be taken from the garden. Purchase them from Life Lab or have students make their own garden lesson posters.

The Community Around Your School
Reach out to parents on Orientation Days, reach out to neighbors to your school who have gardens, reach out to Firefighters or Police in your area who will often volunteer time in local schools. There is plenty of local knowledge and passion in your area for gardening, it is often just about finding that connection and welcoming the community into your school.  

Recipe of the Month

Grilled Tomatoes!
Tomatoes are ripe and ready to eat! Here is a fun and easy way to cook up a tasty vegetable side on your grill. 

Ingredients:
6 Tomatoes of varying color if possible 
3 tablespoons of olive oil, divided 
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons of basil 
 
Cut tomatoes in half; thread onto skewers, alternating colors. Brush with 1 tablespoon oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper.
 
Grill, covered with grill lid, over medium heat (300� to 350�) 10 minutes, turning skewers often.
 
Combine remaining 2 tablespoons oil, vinegar, and basil; drizzle over kabobs. Garnish, if desired.
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