Planting garlic

Some garlic, waiting to be planted...

Some garlic, waiting to be planted…

This year’s garlic crop has been planted at Blake (and I’ve taken waaaay too long to write about it…). It went in the ground on November 7th, planted by one of the grade 2/3 classes that we’ve been working with a lot this fall.  I wrote last year about the benefits of saving garlic cloves for planting the following fall, but unfortunately all of the garlic was munched on by some sorta rascals (squirrels? mice? rats? slugs?…) in the spring and we didn’t get to harvest a single bulb. So I bought some beautiful garlic with huge cloves from Everdale Organic Farm.  Hoping for better results this year…

As I usually do, I combined the garlic planting with a lesson about erosion (and how to help prevent it in the garden).  I started with a brief introduction to erosion and overwintering crops, but tried to keep it brief – as always, the kids were antsy to get out to the garden! We divided the class in half, with half of them staying inside to write in their journals and the other half coming to the garden (and then switching half-way, of course – fairness is key!).  But what was really great was that with Kayla’s help, we were able to further divide the outdoor group into two groups – garlic planting and erosion demo/experiment.  It’s so much more interactive and manageable with the small groups when out in the garden.

Kayla’s garlic planting lesson included learning about measuring, mulching (with newspaper), and the actual planting of garlic cloves. My erosion lesson consisted of having two seeding trays, one with just soil, the other with some sod.  I had kids be “wind” and “rain” on the two different soil samples, and see what the different results were.  We then took a super short walk over to a part of the schoolyard where there is a clear example of erosion. It’s always neat to see concepts “click” when the kids see real-life examples or hands-on demos. Of course understanding erosion on a grander scale will come later, but I think a lot of them were at least starting to understand the concept. It’s also been fun to see some of the Garden Club kids (who are in the grade 2/3 class we planted garlic with) checking on the garlic patch every week. Fingers crossed for a good garlic crop next year!

And as a teaser, my next post will also be soil-related… The school composting has begun!

Happy growing!

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