Archive | October, 2012

Our garden grows with love from every direction…

29 Oct

When I am asked what makes the Titan Garden successful, one of the things I always reply is “a lot of help from a lot of people.”  We could not keep our school garden growing without the help we receive from parent volunteers, community volunteers, students, teachers and school administration.  And one of the ways we love to have volunteers involved in our garden program is through our Adopt-A-Garden program.  Every week, we give a school family a chance to adopt the Titan Garden for that week, be its caretaker, enjoy the garden care, the inhabitants and even the harvest when we have extra. 

One of our most recent adopting families was the Radloff family.  Paige Radloff, a 1st grader, helped her mom take care of the garden including watering but also did some exploring.  Here, in her own words, is a bit about her week in the garden.

Last week I helped Mom take care of the garden.  I watered the herb wheel and I saw…ladybugs, caterpillars, spiders and a little weird thing that flies.  Ladybugs help our garden by eating bad bugs.  Caterpillars were NOT helping because they were eating all the plants!  The spider was a BIG daddy long leg!  The weird thing was just sitting there on a plant.  I have not experienced it yet.  The weird thing looked like a large wasp.  It flew away and that was it.  Our garden is beautiful!

Thanks Paige for your write-up.  And thanks to you and your family for the care and love you have given our garden.  


Hidden pumpkins in the garden

24 Oct

Something new is standing out in the foliage and flowers of the Titan Gardens…


A huge thank you to Shelley Walters and her patch crew over at St. John’s United Methodist Pumpkin Patch for letting us scour their bruised pumpkin stack to bring pumpkins back to the Titan Garden for our students to explore.


Highlighted against our in-progress garden mural by Cindy Schexnayder. 


A very playful pumpkin close to a precious resource in the garden

We have had fun hiding them among the beautiful fall foliage in our garden and having them stand out among the blues, greens, purples and yellows.


Hiding among the fall scattering of Mexican Hat wildflowers


Nestled in among the Lamb’s Ear and Purple Fountain Grass


Snuggled in the Artemisia


Staying safe from vampires in the garlic chives.


Loving the flowers on the Black Foot Daisy


Trying to stand taller than the Flame Acanthus.


Perched atop Mossy.


Hanging out in the herb wheel.


Keeping the swallowtail caterpillars company.


Smelling the sage.


Admiring the chard.

We will be exploring pumpkins in our outdoor classes, seeing where the seeds are located and even tasting some pumpkiny things if we are lucky. But these pumpkins are sure to add color and laughter to our garden exploits.

Sneak peak at a swallowtail

24 Oct

One of the most fascinating roles you can take in the garden is that of an observer.  To stumble upon life progressing in a garden habitat and be able to just watch it happen is…awesome.  DSC00388

DSC00391 We have a recent influx of black swallowtail caterpillars on our fennel plants.  It started with a few but has now ballooned to over 30+ caterpillars munching away on the plants, happily growing bigger and bigger.  The black swallowtail caterpillar moves through 4-5 instars, the name for stages of development, before entering into the pupa stage and changing into butterflies. During each instar, the caterpillar molts its exoskeleton, which begins to change its appearance.

We have watched them go through their 1st and 2nd instar phases where they are orange and black with small white bands around the middle and little spikes.


Third instar they begin developing different color patterns with white, black and yellow. Polka dots, stripes.   The spikes start to minimize. . 


After that they just get bigger and more beautiful as they go through their third, fourth and fifth (final) instar.  After that, they will attach themselves in a safe place with their silk string and begin to  molt into a chrysalis where they will remain until ready to emerge as a butterfly. 


It is truly a special experience to be able to share this with the students at our school and for them to feel the connection that they built the habitat that now supports such a beautiful life cycle.  They’ll never look at another butterfly the same way again. 

Friday in the Garden 10.19.12

19 Oct

Today was Rock Star Day because we have been studying rocks! Some of us had colored hair, spiky hair, and some of us dressed up. When we went to the garden Ms. Jo Anne said we looked like Rock Stars. 
Ms. Jo Anne showed us different types of soil and then showed us the Pomegranate tree. Our soil is good for growing Pomegranate trees. The Pomegranates looked like a kind of reddish brownish sphere. They had like a little tail. Then we went back to the garden classroom and she showed us the tough skin. You can not eat Pomegranate skin but you can eat the seeds. The Pomegranate looked soft on the inside and there were a lot of seeds. The seeds looked like little water balloons. Some of us would like to try one but they are not ripe yet.
After that we went to see which soil holds the most water with our rain simulator. We found out that the very last one held the most water which means most water went into the ground. This is good for plants’ roots. 
Last we saw caterpillars, watered our plants, and sang our Rock Song for Ms. Jo Anne.

Have a Rock Star day!!! 
-Ms. Phillips’ First Grade Foxes

Friday in the Garden 10.12.12

12 Oct

We observed a lot in the garden today. The temperature was 78F. The air felt cool and windy. It also sometimes felt warm because the sun was shining. We noticed little tiny ants in the flowers, a beetle on our teacher’s shoe, and we saw bees buzzing around people and getting pollen. We noticed that our lettuce seeds had some buds. We noticed our plants were bigger and we’re excited that our plants are growing good and healthy. There were also trees that were cut down and stumps. There was lots to see today. 
After that we went over to the picnic table and we observed how local soils are alike and different. Then we put the dirt in a vial and added water. We shook it up. It was fun shaking it up. Now we ended our day with a happy feeling and played with our vials. We’re waiting to see what they look like after the weekend. Garden is so fun! 

By Ms. Phillips’s First Grade Class

Friday in the Garden 10.05.12

6 Oct

My wonderful first graders wrote this blog about our garden visit on Friday. I aided them only minimally. How amazing are they?

We go to the garden every Friday. We feel happy when we are around nature. Today was cool and windy. The temperature was 73F. We noticed lots of new things in the garden. Some of them were watermelon, purple plants, a butterfly, broccoli, a dead scorpion, and mushrooms made by an art class.

When we got back to the garden classroom we did a making soil activity. We filled a container with golf balls to represent sand. Even though it was full we could still fit more. We then fit pebbles to represent silt. The container was full but there was still more room so we added sand to show clay in soil. After that we put water and saw bubbles because air was trying to push to the top. Air is between all the particles. It was awesome that we got to create a model and help.

Next, we looked at our mud shake and saw all the stuff that’s in soil like leaves, worms, water, bark, silt, and clay. The last thing we did was plant lettuce and eat small red tomatoes. Garden was fun, we hope to go again soon.