Thursday, January 31, 2013

Broccoli Rules!!

This week's first topic was broccoli  ... yummy broccoli and goldfish sacks
Broccoli snack

 Yum, yum!
Eating Broccoli

Making garden rules

Planting broccoli
We learned that brocolli came from Italy and Thomas Jefferson was the first to import seed.  The kids amazed me with their knowledge of Thomas Jefferson!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Such a busy month!!! Introducing the Secret Garden Club!!

This month (September 2012) I finally followed Nancy Hellam's advice and started a Garden Club!! After a post-summer spruce up, with so many wonderful volunteers, we were ready for the fall.

The Secret Garden Club is an after-school program which meets on Thursdays.  My goal is to introduce  kids to  fascinating facts about vegetable and other plant we eat, from historical, to social, to geographical.  Each meeting I want them to try a taste of what we plant, or what we learn about, or harvest a crop.

We began each week in partnership with our local Bi-Lo.  This is our special Carrot Spy ... Ian Chapman, an English artist, allowed me to use his funky art work.  Each week I hide the carrot in the produce area and families can go in and find the Carrot Spy to find out what our next topic might be!

Our first meeting we discovered more about carrots. We learned that they originated in Iran and Afghanistan, and were originally white or purple. We planted a whole bed of carrots - we made seed strips with the goal of nicely spacing the carrots, this didn't always work!  However, this did lead to an amazing experience of thinning the carrots and eating them fresh from the garden every week- it was so popular that I'm not sure if we managed to grow any adult carrots!!

 There is a fascinating carrot museum in the U.K. which has an online presence and tons of information about the history of this fascinating vegetable.

Snack was, of course, carrots and ranch dip.
The carrots are now about almost 3 inches high.
We have been sampling them along - I like them much better as tiny sprouts.

The Nile

Week Two: Lettuce: one of the oldest vegetables. It originated in the Nile Valley and we talked about cool temperatures alongside the river, access to water ...

We visited the land of the Pharaohs to learn how to write our names in hieroglyphics and sowed lettuce.  Everyone tried a variety of lettuce - it was very exciting.

Week Three: Fabulous Pollinators

I came into club with no snack- what a disaster!  I told the kids that there were no apples in the stores so I couldn't get snack. I tried to get them to brainstorm why there might be no apples (I wanted to get them to think about pollination) all they could think was that they didn't order any or there was a rush on apples.  So we set about enlightening them.  Our snack was cheetos and a drink pack and they had to go out into the garden and find a flower with their name on and their snack on top of it.  They drank the juice (nectar) and ate the cheetos and then wiped their hands on the flower (pollen).  It worked really well!! They loved being bees!

Week 4 - Snack - apples and garden upkeep. They got introduced to baked apples and whipped cream. Very happy children!

Some other activities:
  Grocery Bag Botany - this was a sorting activity trying to find the plants of a part - roots, stems, flowers, fruits and seeds ... this activity was very chaotic and went much quicker than I anticipated.  We ended up filling up the time sampling many of the foods I had bought from blue corn chips to sesame crackers ... they were like bottomless pits, but loved it!!

Thanksgiving - pumpkin pies in pumpkins were a hit - we talked about how the Europeans bought spices, dairy, eggs and pastry to the table and the native americans bought the pumpkins!