Hello my young gardeners!
Well...my goodness what a school year this has been for all of us. We've certainly faced our fair share of challenges together, and I think our ability to pull through is a testament to our resilience and strength as individuals and as a community. As a gardener and nature lover, I often look to nature for strength and answers when I'm feeling frustrated or sad. And with so much unknown right now, witnessing the cycles of nature is so incredibly reassuring.
One cycle that is making me feel so hopeful is witnessing the return of the monarchs! We have faithfully tended to our milkweed patch/waystation for the past several years and now it has grown into a large stand of flowers absolutely teaming with life! The last few times I have visited the garden there have been monarchs floating about. Lets hope they are laying eggs and starting a new cycle of life in our sweet way station! This gives me hope and anticipation for our future. Check out the videos I took:
Another happy and beautiful discovery was the arrival of not one, not two, but three different beautifully colored California Poppies in our Native Garden! Creating a bio-diverse space is the goal of any proper native garden and I'm so excited to see that these flowers have decided to call our spot home. Look at how beautiful they are! Have you ever seen these colors in poppies before? I sure haven't:
And the veggie garden is growing great! Mr. Victor has been busy setting up irrigation for our tomatoes, peppers, peas, carrots, potatoes, basil, herbs, strawberries, chickpeas, kale, endive, beans, cabbage and more! I've been busy weeding and planting and will be planting the last of our summer garden this week with some cucumbers and winter squash that I've started at home. The veggie garden is looking wonderful and I can't wait until you can return to it and munch on some nourishing food. Here are just a few pictures to get a peep in!:
Finally, I saw this beautiful animation below and wanted to share it with you. It is on the website: The Kids Should See This which is full of great videos for curious little (and big!) minds. Have fun exploring!
I miss you all. I look forward to seeing each and every one of your smiling faces again dripping with tomatoes or grapes, or some other garden bounty! I hope you have a wonderful and safe and healthy summer and find lots of time to be in nature and appreciate all that it has to offer.
Hugs and slugs,
Leaves are such incredible parts of a plant...they are basically little solar panels! Did you know that the more veins a leaf has, the faster it can convert sunshine into food? So cool!
Often, if trying to identify a plant, knowing how to discern the shape and attributes of the plant's leaf will lead you to an accurate identification! We're going to take a closer look at some of the ways we categorize leaves.
3) Head back to find your journal. You'll be using three pages to categorize and draw your leaves. The three categories are simple leaves, lobed leaves, and compound leaves.
This past week I spent the majority of my time in the garden pulling weeds! It is tedious work, but it has to be done. :) Another week has rolled by without my favorite little garden helpers and I sure do miss you! It is hard to keep up without your energy, helping hands, and silly jokes!
I did manage to harvest the garlic that the kindergartners planted back in the fall...so exciting!
I hope you all are getting a chance to spend some time in nature. It really does make you feel better! I can't wait until we get the chance to be out in the garden together again, but until then, here's the AVS garden update:
Hard to tell from this picture, but this is a collection of owl pellets that I discovered directly under the owl box in the native garden. Hope our resident owl is attacking the gopher situation! BTW, as I was working around the box, I started hearing a hissing sound from inside! I think our friend was sending me a warning to keep my distance. No problem there! :)
The goal of this activity is to test out different materials you find in nature to see how you can create a boat! It should float, be attractive, have a sail, and utilize at LEAST 3 different materials. Extra points for more parts and beautiful design. I encourage you to test out your designs and experiment with alternative options. Extra EXTRA credit for racing your boats; would love to see your winners!
5) When you've finalized your design challenge someone in your house to race you with their own and let me know how it goes! Happy sailing! :)
The summer garden is really starting to take shape! This week I pulled plants, prepped beds, and planted a few more starts in the garden. So much more to do, and the weeds in the native garden is a bit scary, but, for now, veggies are growing!
So much to be done in the garden! I sure miss my garden helpers and am really noticing HOW. MUCH. WORK you all do! Seriously. You all dig, and plant, and wheelbarrow, and weed, and giggle, and dig, and water and giggle some more! Garden isn't quite the same without you but I'm plugging away with the help of Mr. Victor, and things are looking pretty good.
And a little moment of zen:
Before you start the garden mandala, I'd like for you to check on your kitchen scrap planting and note observations in your journal for week 3! How's it looking? See any green yet? Roots growing longer? What's the color of the water? This should only take you a moment to complete before you begin this week's activity:
This is one of my favorite activities to do with kiddos because every single one comes out so beautiful! To to this you need very few materials but take your time and really design your masterpiece!
Please note, we will be pressing these in your journals so be sure to collect only thin items that won't be bumpy and bulky. Flat items work best.
Also, because we use glue and will be pressing these you will need to be sure not to use too much glue. Only the minimum amount to keep the glue from seeping over the edges of the materials and gluing the pages shut. We used some wax paper to start out with first (as you'll see in pictures) and then took it out later to finish off the pressing.
Have fun and enjoy the beauty all around you!
Hugs and slugs,
It's hard to believe we are on our 5th week of learning from home! This week will have two sections in our activity. First, you will check on your kitchen scrap starts to see how they're growing. Then you will collect treasures according to ten categories listed below. After you have collected the treasures then you will build either an art sculpture, or the beginnings of a fairy home...up to you! Have fun hunting and creating!
It is time to put in the summer garden! I've spent the past several weeks pulling weeds, harvesting compost, pulling out the winter garden and prepping the beds for the next season! Now it's here! April 15th marks the last frost date according to our climate zone and so it is "game on". This week I pulled out a lot of very large kale plants and got to work planting tomatoes! I will keep planting the coming weeks and will let you know how it goes.
In the meantime, be sure to check out our plant "sale" page on this website. I have lots of beautiful tomato starts, among other things, and they're all free to you. Pick-up date is this Friday, April 24th. Send me an email to let me know what you want and I'd love to catch a glimpse of you as we hand off your plants!
Hugs and slugs,
Hello and welcome to week four of home garden class!
The past three weeks we've focused on observing nature and using our journals to record our observations. This week we will be starting a project where we use common kitchen scraps to grow our own food at home! This will be an exciting experiment for all of us. I have long heard that you can do this but have never tried! I'm thrilled to see how we can reuse our scraps to continue to feed our families.
I will be asking that you start the project today, but that you then check in once a week for the next 6 weeks to note the changes in your plant over time as well as continue to add water! Follow the step-by-step instructions below and please reach out if you have any questions!
To do this project you will need to check in with an adult in your home to try and figure out what kitchen scrap you can use. Any of the following are commonly found kitchen scraps that should work but feel free to experiment and try different types!
Here we go!
4) Now you are going to set up your journal page for today's, and future, observations. First you will open to two blank pages. We will be doing six weeks of observations. Please draw in a table with labels and in the first week's section you will draw a picture of your kitchen scrap and write an explanation of what you did. See example below: