Spring 2014 gardening at Leschi has started!

Spring is upon us now and we have started spring gardening.  Our parent volunteer garden educators, Jean Hicks and Helen Shor Wong along with Curtis Knopf and Sophie, have taken on a few more classes to teach gardening to on Fridays.  In total, we have five classes who get to spend 30+ minutes outside getting their hands dirty:  Savage, Snyder, Tsutikawa, Gardener and Chin.

Our gardens now have wonderful seeds planted due to the hard work of all the students.  We will be growing peas of all kinds of varieties, raspberry plants, kale, chard, radishes, potatoes and some ornamental flowers.   Our younger students (Ms. Chin’s class) will be growing and caring for pea and bean seedlings in their classrooms which they will later transplant into the garden.

We have a wonderful volunteer, Bennett, who also visits every Friday to help our parent volunteers.  Additionally, our next door neighbor Anise will be helping us teach classes in mid-April.

If you have any interest in helping with the classes, please contact Kim Blakemore at kblakemo@uw.edu.  We always need more volunteers!

Some pictures for you to enjoy!

Teacher Helen reading a word or two about gardening

Teacher Helen reading a word or two about gardening

3rd grader learning about how to grow seeds.

3rd grader learning about how to grow seeds.

Snyders class getting ready to plant some seeds in cloche.

Snyders class getting ready to plant some seeds in cloche.

3rd graders using natural means to break up compost (food exercise)

3rd graders using natural means to break up compost  (exercise is good)

Kids helping teacher Jean figure out how to make compost.

Kids helping teacher Jean figure out how to make compost.

Now where was that worm?

Now where was that worm?

Raspberry plants. Yum!

Raspberry plants. Yum!

Adding potting soil to pea plants.

Adding potting soil to pea plants.

Pea seedlings, ready for planting.

Pea seedlings, ready for planting.

Kale and chard in our front garden.

Kale and chard in our front garden.

Team work!

Team work!

garden gloves lined up after a hard day's work!

garden gloves lined up to dry after a hard day’s work!

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Donated garden bench, Sep 23rd

Thanks to Craigslist, I found a cute cedar garden bench to aesthetically compliment the garden in front of the school.  When the rain stops and the sun comes out, think about taking in the beauty of our growing plants (squash, tomatoes, kale/chard).   Maybe you and your kiddo(s) can have a peaceful moment or two together!

Come sit down and relax for a minute or ten!

Come sit down and relax for a minute or ten!

Happy gardener

Happy gardener

Our first harvest: ornamental squash Sep 15th

  Lookie here, lookie here!  We’ve got some master student gardeners picking the first harvest of the year, summer yellow squash! 

Popeye's got nothing on these kiddos!

Popeye’s got nothing on these kiddos!  Check out the muscles!

Off to yard waste.

Compost possibilities?

These ornamental beauties are perfect for showing students how nature can yield georgous fruits.

First harvest from school garden 9/16/2013

First harvest from school garden, yellow summer squash 9/16/2013

Why ornamental though?  You may have read in a previous blog post that squash foliage located in the garden right outside of CDSA may have done some massive filtering of some questionable contents in the soil.   We would prefer that the squash remain uneaten until we know for sure the soil is good enough for planting edible veggies. 

Until then, we spent Sunday 9/15 harvesting those squash beauties and passing them out to teachers Monday 9/16 to display in their classrooms.  

Room 211 will be our experimental classroom for the month of September!  After all,  us new garden committee members have to got know what we are doing before we subject the rest of the students to our madness!   Students in room 211 will sow garlic bulbs and learn about compost.  October will be our official kick off of the garden to other interested classrooms.

Green thumbs up to our progress!

Leschi school garden: ideas are building! Tomatoes, peppers and squash, oh my! Sept 5th

Leschi school garden Committee leaders and parents Jean Hicks (Asa’s mom – left in picture) and Kim Blakemore (Corrina’s mom – right in picture) are hard at work thinking!  What do we need for a new school garden? – see below picture  for their expressions of thought!

Kim and Jean brainstorming school garden

(Thank you parent Karen Baker for the photo)

Attention Leschi school community!  We are building a new school garden that will be student inspired and led by fearless leaders Kim Blakemore and Jean Hicks!   To clarify, Kim is the coordinator (non-green thumb) and Jean is the educator (green thumb extraordinaire).

How will the garden come to be?  Well, logistics are still being ironed out, but in general interested classrooms will participate in starting and maintaining the garden by first planting seeds at the end of September and then following through with maintenance throughout Fall and beyond.  This so happens to fit nicely with the fall curriculum at Leschi, which is focused on Plant Growth!

But before I continue, I would be amiss if I did not mention the enormous work provided by the T mobile volunteers and a small but effective group of parents (parents Kamala Jain, Ben Demar, Rob Ward, Andrea (Jasper’s mom)) who participated in a work party prior to Labor Day.  Because of this, our garden is getting closer to being ready for planting.  Additionally, incredible and artistic parent Helen Shor Wong (Marigold’s mom – apparently we are doubles) will work with Julia Anders (art teacher at Leschi)  to beautify our garden with of course help from our student population.

Now to the present…between the work party and now, Jean and Kim have been hard at work getting funding for gardening supplies (e.g., trowels, gloves, rakes, etc!)   Kim has already posted four different entries on Donors Choose, approached area hardware/gardening stores for donations and will later approach the PTA for any funding that hasn’t been received by mid-Sep.

To get one of our raised beds started, our wonderful Iranian neighbor Anise has planted some starters which include:  tomatoes, peppers, and cabbage.  And during the T-mobile/Huddle Up day in late July, volunteers transplanted some of the squash from the garden outside CDSA.  Finally, we transplanted some leeks from room 211’s burlap bag gardens.  So we have a head start.

We also realized that the squash growing in the raised garden beds near CDSA is doing some awesome filtering work and has filtered out some not so desirable soil content.  Parent Eric Von Der Geist (Owen’s dad) will test the soil in three different stages to figure out what we are dealing with.  In the mean time, don’t let those kiddos play in the dirt or eat the squash!   We will harvest the squash once they get bigger (probably late Sep), pass them out to teachers who are interested and request they use for ornamental purposes only.  The plan also includes organizing a work party to pull out the dead squash foliage and freshen up the soil to create a healthier substrate for future planting.  In the interim, the kids will use the lovely burlap bags located in the front of the school near the raised garden beds for student learning and gardening.

If you have a moment and haven’t seen our new garden in front of the school, please swing by.  We are still trying to get our supplies together, including art to spice up the look of the garden, so don’t expect too much action until then.

We welcome any comments re: the garden and certainly any muscle power (but will announce when we need that muscle power through the Leschi PTA listserv).  It is because of Leschi’s wonderful caregiver, student and teaching community that I have embraced this project wholeheartedly.