Sunday, July 17, 2011


Sunflowers in the Garden.

Harvest - yard long beans & corn!


<- Monarch Cafe

First Grade Garden

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Monday, June 6, 2011

Knee high by the fourth of July

We're right on track for the corn be up to a very tall knee by the 4th of July. As usual I have put too much in the bed, but it is all looking so healthy right now.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Color is my new quest for the Memory Garden. The first grade garden has the most color being a "Rainbow Garden." However, their garden is right at the far end of the garden - you can't see much of the color from inside the school. Here's a taste of the bursts of color ...

I am excited to visit the Garden today because a fellow parent has joined the quest for color - pictures to follow.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Corn, beans and squash are up ... and wildlife is moving in

The Three Sisters Garden is up and flourishing: each mound has 4 corn plants, several bean and squash plants. Fat, healthy sunflowers divide the mounds. Ms. Lane's class planted this garden and help construct the bamboo tee-pees for the purple yard long beans.

Increasingly there are signs of life in the garden - the tiny violets and violas are the host plant of this brightly colored caterpillar - I think this is a Variegated Fritillary Caterpillar. What do you think?

We have noticed more bird activity since we have a bird bath and bird seed back in the garden. A pair of mockingbirds have begun making a nest in a buddleia bush. They have started by laying several sticks parallel to each other - these are thinnish but long sticks, about twice as long as the bird was. You can't see it too clearly, but here is a picture of the beginning of the nest. The bird on the radio tower is one of the pair monitoring our activity in the garden.

Did you know butterflies are not the only insect whose life cycle includes metamorphosis?

This is the pupae stage of a ladybug, before it becomes a fully grown beetle.

Here is a coloring sheet showing the life cycle of a ladybug.

This website also gives tons of information about ladybugs.

Friday, April 29, 2011

A three sisters garden

Today was a chance to join social studies and gardening. Mrs. Lanes' first grade class planted a classic Native American garden - a three sisters garden. Rather than planting crops in monocultural rows - corn, beans, and squash all off in separate fields - Native Americans planted all three "sisters" in mounds. These three crops have a wonderful relationship- the corn provides support for the beans, the beans provide nitrogen for the corn, the squash shade the earth and keep it cool and suppress the weeds.

I was going to plant seed corn, but then learned I had to wait 2 weeks for it to come up before I planted the beans. A quick visit to our wonderful local feed and seed/hardware/allsorts store, Griffs solved the problem, 4" high Silver Queen starts. We enriched the soil with mushroom compost and made our mounds. Then 18 very excited first graders worked in shifts to plant the sisters. We planted the corn oriented to the North, South, East and West as Cherokee would have. Then each corn plant got two bean seed sisters and each mound will have 4 pumpkin seeds. I bought cheap seeds and there were only a few seeds in each packet so I shall have to back and sow some more tomorrow. I lined the garden with sunflowers. I'm not sure how successful this will be because it is smaller than Renee's Garden suggests is the minimum size - 10' x 10', but fingers crossed.

Some of the Native American stories about the three sisters are located at the Bird Clan of East Central Alabama website.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Spring activity

Ms. Lanes class have green fingers! Their seeds came up like gang-busters. And, thanks to Ms. Fran they survived and thrived through spring break.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011


I can't believe it is almost late March! The daffodils are up and well into flower in the garden. Use of the garden has increased, Last Friday I went out with Ms. Lanes first grade class and we encountered two other classes using the space as an outdoor classroom- magic! We started seeds
for the Rainbow Garden: Red salvia, yellow and orange marigolds, oregano, blue cornflowers and purple basil. They sure do have green thumbs! Seeds were up by Tuesday!