Archive | April, 2010

Kindergarten and 3rd Grade team up for planting!

22 Apr

The Titan Gardens enjoyed class cooperation last week as some kindergartners and their third grade buddies planted together in the beds.

A few weeks ago , Mrs. Smith’s kindergarten class decided they wanted to plant seeds in newspaper pots, first to see them sprout in the classroom and then to transfer the plants to the garden.  They chose corn and sunflowers as their seeds and each student picked which one to plant in their newspaper pot.  The pots were great for this project since they would decompose once planted outside in the beds and would mean we would not need to transfer the young seedling out of the pot. 

Third-grade buddies joined the kindergarten class outside to help them plant their crop.  We would plant the corn pots into the middle of the third grade bed, allowing them to add other plantings as they were ready.  Sunflower seeds would be planted in the SLE bed.  The older buddies helped their younger friends dig holes to the right depth and plop their pots into the hold, covering them gently.

After all of the pots were planted, The group contributed one more item to the garden.  Mrs. Smith’s class had experimented with recycling a clear, plastic strawberry container into a mini-greenhouse for basil seeds.  The seeds had sprouted well, enjoying the moisture they got in the closed container.  We planted the basil sprouts into one of the demonstration beds to fill an area where a plant had not returned after the freeze.  Basil has such a strong aroma that deer will usually avoid nibbling, so we knew it would be safe. 

Great job to Mrs. Smith’s kindergarten class and their third grade buddies. We’ll keep  a close eye on those corn and sunflower plants to see how they are doing. 

4 things that caught my eye in the Titan Garden

21 Apr

As I approached the Titan garden the other day, I was fascinated with how much it has changed since we started planting in the Fall of last year.  It’s hard to catch it all on camera, so if you haven’t already, have your student take you over to look at what has been planted.  All of the grades have done a fantastic job at putting in plantings.

Here’s just a few things that caught my eye as I visited the garden:

1.  Texture  There are so many fascinating textures in the garden.  And as we can all guess, textures are fascinating to kids and it’s good for them to stimulate their senses in this beautiful outdoor setting.  Here, silvery-gray Dusty Miller sits in front of the daffodil foliage.  The daffodils put on a splendid display in February and March and are now soaking up energy to recharge the bulbs for blooming next year.  Once the foliage turns brown, it can be pruned off.

2.  Great plants:  It’s fun to tell kids about plants and names.  Like this snapdragon, a great cool-season annual.  The name comes from the look of the flower, like a dragon-face that opens and closes when you squeeze it.  The botanical name is Antirrhinum, which translates from its Greek roots as “like a nose”.  In India, the snapdragon is known as the Dog Flower.

3.  Planting Smart:  This generation of kids will have many environmental problems to deal with in their world and water use is just one. It is wonderful to see them planting so smartly, choosing drought-tolerant plants like this purple pin cushion plant that will do well in our hot weather.  Rain is never guaranteed, as we found out last summer.  Choosing plants that are native and adapted to this area and our conditions is the right thing to do.  

4.  Look at what 6 months can do
There was an idea from the PTA to provide an outdoor classroom for our children, a place where they could explore how to bring plants to life from seed, a place where teachers could expand on lessons in math, science, history and art.  Then there were a dedicated group of volunteers to build and ready the gardens.  Then there were teachers and garden buddies who helped the children to dream what could be planted and help them make it happen.  And look at what has grown from that first seed of an idea.