Beauty in nature

14 Jan

Titan Garden 2014

The annual nature wreath sessions were bigger than ever this year with 23 classes participating.  Over two days, we had students from all grade levels visit the garden and create gorgeous wreaths our of materials from nature.  Some brought contributions from their own gardens, others scoured the cuttings that had been brought by volunteers.  And time after time, we were amazed as each wreath came out incredibly unique and absolutely gorgeous.  Those kids sure know how to decorate.  We loved watching the kindergarteners who decorate without any sense of holding back.  If it is within eyesight, it is going to get added to their wreath.  And then the 5th graders.  Sure they act cool at first, but then they get their decorating hats on and it is suddenly like we have 25 Martha Stewart’s trying to run the show.  One of my favorite moments was when the 5th graders whipped out their phones to Instagram their creation.

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Thank you to all of the teachers and volunteers who made the annual event possible and successful.  We look forward to even more classes next year…but we may have to get a longer fence to showcase them all!

Fall’s Arrival

3 Oct

When the weather starts to change, there is an audible sigh from both gardeners and gardens alike. The plants have a sudden flush of blooms and we can all agree weeding is a lot more pleasant. But one of my favorite things about fall is the resurgence of butterflies and caterpillars.

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In the school garden, the presence of insects is such an amazing learning experience. The kids can’t get enough of inspecting insects. Finding Caterpillar eggs, seeing the caterpillars grow larger of the eat, and finally spotting the butterfly that matches up with the caterpillar they were watching.

So as we begin our school year in the garden, we are thankful for these little ones who beckon the students to come, explore and be fascinated.

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Ready for a new school year!

23 Aug

The new school year begins on Monday and we are excited to have the Titan Garden looking beautiful.  I was up visiting today and ran into one of our awesome volunteer families who were ending their week of care.  They let mw know that all looked well in the garden and they had been enjoying their steady tomato harvest all week.

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We got a chance to look at a bug party happening on the fennel. Ladybugs in all stages of development, mealybug destroyers, aphids.  It was a lot of fun to see.  

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To so many of us with home gardens, it is all about keeping things pruned and looking perfect.  But in a school garden, every change in a plant is a learning opportunity.  Bug infestations are fascinating.  Flowers fading and going to seed are a lesson in the cycle of life.  Drought is a chance to learn about how different plants deal with lack of water.  

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I know this year in the garden will bring so many moments for the kids to connect with their environment and we re so thankful for our volunteers and teachers that help us make those connections possible. 

Wildflowers give ever-changing color

19 Apr

Our Titan wildflower field is in full bloom right now. We were blessed with beautiful bluebonnet a and have now moved in to the gorgeous Indian Blanket blooms.

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This wildflower field is reseeded every year during our annual fall wildflower stomp. The kids come out and stomp, jump , dance and twist to help the seeds get good soil contact. Then 6 months later, presto! It’s a fun tradition and a great learning opportunity about some of our great native wildflowers.

Last of the cool season

14 Apr

It’s time in Texas to change over to our warm season vegetables so we had a wonderful time harvesting the last of our carrots with our 4th graders who planted them back in the fall.

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Carrots and turnips and kale, oh my

20 Mar

The Titan Garden is looking beautiful as we wrap up our cool season garden and plant our warm season vegetables.  Right now we are transitioning between the two which means we are clearing patches of veggies as they are ready and then plopping in the next round.

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Our carrot patch

A few weeks ago, some of our 5th graders ran a Farmer’s Market at school.  They had prepared by taking a lesson on safe food harvesting and had made signs.  They harvested carrots, beets, turnips, kale, lettuce and herbs.  The carrots were so beautiful.

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Two colors of carrots in our harvest

Unfortunately, two days before the farmers market, we had the coldest temps we experienced all year and it decimated many of our crops.  We lost about half the lettuce, a good amount of kale, all the asparagus, chard, broccoli and cauliflower.  But the students were still enthusiastic and we had a great time getting everything ready.

With warmer temps, a few of those crops have rebounded but we are already moving on to warmer season stuff such as tomatoes.  But you can’t help but love asparagus in the spring.

 

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Asparagus showing off

So we are looking forward to our next adventure with the harvests and for now, focusing on getting our cool crops finished and our spring flowers blooming.

Winter kept us busy- but Spring is coming!

21 Feb

It’s been quiet here in the garden as we have had some cold spells that have kept the kids from coming out.  But don’t worry, spring is popping up everywhere and that means IT’S GARDENING TIME!!!!!  In fact, we are kicking things off in March big time!  First Fridays begin March 7 so we will be excited to see our students in the garden again. Wildflower time is right around the corner, and we are watching our sprouts get bigger and bigger, wtching for the first bluebonnet!  And I’ll leave our last big thing coming up as a surprise!  It is AWESOME!!

But we haven’t just been sitting round sipping hot cocoa by a fire- we took the winter to focus on how we can be healthier and make great food choices.  So I’ll leave you with a few images from our Healthy Titans program.