Growing like stink!

The weather over the past week or so has been pretty ideal for growing! A good mix of sun and rain, with the rain mostly coming at night (or at least not during the days on Tuesdays and Wednesdays when I teach), which has been ideal for my purposes.  We’ve got a lot of stuff starting to grow in both of the gardens: lettuce, mustard greens, spinach, beets, kohlrabi, kale, peas, radishes… I find this exciting every year!

Here are some pictures of some mustard greens and snow peas at the Blake Garden.  As Anne (from Wooler Dale Farm) would say, things are “growing like stink!”


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I’ve been doing some weeding with some classes at Blake, as well as with the Blake Garden club. LOTS of weeding to do!  With the classes, I tied it in with a brief lesson about invasive species.  The invasive species we have most of in that garden is Norway Maple (not a suprise in Toronto…).  There are two of these trees right beside the garden, so we’ve pulled out hundreds (if not thousands) of seedlings over the past couple of weeks!  Weeding in general, and especially pulling out tree seedlings, is an interesting concept to teach to kids.  I always tell them in the garden to respect plants and not pull on them, yet I ask them to pull out other ones.  And they’re also constantly hearing about the importance of trees, yet I ask them to pull out hundreds of these little seedlings.  But I think a little chat about how damaging invasive species can be to native species helped to clarify things a little bit for them.

I’ve also done a new lesson with kindergartens recently.  I called it “Let’s Meet the Garden.”  It’s essentially just a little walk and introduction to the garden, but I also added a little scavenger hunt action to it.  And not just any scavenger hunt, but a special “measuring” scavenger hunt (yes, this is how I talk to them to get them excited about measuring).  One element of the kindergarten math curriculum is measuring using “non-standard units”.  So during the scavenger hunt, they had to find, for example, 2 things that are longer than a trowel, 2 things that are bigger than a bucket, one thing that is shorter than a chive leaf, one thing that is smaller than a sage leaf, etc.  A simple lesson, but a fun little “adventure” in the garden for them. And then I would also give them something to taste on their way in, like chives, cilantro, kale…

Yesterday, however, it was raining when I was going to take a kindie class outside to the garden.  Rather than cancelling our plan to meet the garden, we did a similar little scavenger hunt through the school. Though they didn’t get to “meet the garden”, they did get introduced to some gardening tools (trowels, watering cans, gloves, seeding pots), as we used those things as our measuring tools.  We also took a little tour up to our growlights and checked out what’s growing there.  And we checked out the new garden display board, which shows a map of the garden and what we’re growing this year.  Despite not going outside, the kids were still pretty excited about the mini adventure!

Some of the seedlings we visited with the kindergartens. Here are some calendulas, tomatoes and peppers (in the back).


Our new display on the garden bulletin board at Blake. Check out what we’ll grow this year!











And on a note unrelated to my school gardens, but related to local food: It’s asparagus season in Ontario!  I had my first asparagus of the season on Tuesday, and can’t wait to get more this weekend at the market!  Enjoy the season while it lasts, ’cause it’s a short one! YUM!

Happy growing!


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