Archive | October, 2013

Gulf fritillary butterfly comes to visit Titan Garden

28 Oct
We are so lucky to see so many butterflies in our Titan Garden in the spring and fall. Of course, we are keeping a close eye on the monarch migration happening right now but another amazing butterfly resident for us is the gulf fritillary.  These beauties come around especially if you have Passion Vine planted, whcih we do.  Passion Vine is a larval host for the gulf fritillary which means that it lays its eggs on this vine.  The caterpillars feed on it and then go into their chrysalis phase very close by.  And our students benefit by seeing the entire lifecycle.  
I was up at the garden yesterday and noticed some gulf fritillarys on our passion vine.  I went and stood quietly under the vine and was amazed to see them laying eggs all over the vine.  As I videoed one butterfly at the top of the trellis, I was surprised by another just over my shoulder.  I caught it just as it touches its tail to lay the egg on the vine. So amazing to see.  I hope you enjoy the video and some other photos I took of this beautiful insect. 

Gulf fritillary butterflies around passion vine

Gulf fritillary caterpilar
Caterpillar preparing to form chrysalis, hanging in characteristic J-shape. 

Chrysalis

Adult form

We are lucky to have such a beautiful visitor to our garden.

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Titan Garden prepares for winter!

27 Oct

 This week was a big planting week in the Titan Garden.  Our students came out for our annual Wildflower Stomp and we planted our cool season vegetable garden.The wildflower stomp is always fun with students learning about how we need seeds to have good contact with the dirt and they work on perfecting their stomping technique.  We have some who try for brute force just stomping as hard as they can and others who try to put a little style into it with twisting or dancing.  Whatever they do, it works as we have beautiful wildflowers come April. 

Titan Wildflower Field April 2013

  Switching over from warm season to cool season in the vegetable garden is tough.  Many of our warm season crops can grow until the frost, but we need to remove them to put in our cool season crops, so we harvest all we can and then make the tough call.  It’s time.  Luckily, we have some hard working Titans to help us clear everything out.  Working together, they removed tomatoes, zucchini, pumpkin, and green beans.  They dug in compost and aerated the soil to make sure it would be in great shape for seeds.  Each class had to pay attention to seed depth to make sure our seeds would have the right conditions. 

4th grade preparing to plant radish seeds

This is what we planted:
Carrots- a trio  of colors- white, orange and purple
Beets-red, gold and candystripe
Lettuce-Salad bowl and black-seeded simpson
Snow Peas-Oregon giant
Kale-two varieties Lacinato and a red-tipped variety
Cabbage-green and purple
Broccoli-two varieties
Cauliflower- Graffitti (purple) and Orange Burst (orange) and Veronica (chartreuse)
Turnips-Golden Globe
Chard -Bright Lights with multi-colored stems
Radish- Easter Egg mix of red, white, rose and plum colored radishes

1st grade planting lettuce seeds

 The students heard about harvest times, seed depth, specific vegetable varieties, and soil preparation.  They did a great job at working together, respecting nature, and making sure our vegetable garden has a great start to the cool season.  Thanks to all of the teachers who brought their students out for both events!

Kindergarten showing teamwork