The Garden at Oswegatchie School is a sustainable organic garden where children get a hands on experience learning where their food comes from while developing an appreciation and respect for nature. The Garden will be a learning center to teach gardening as well as incorporating art, music, literature, math and science. It is a place where children are encouraged to join in and participate in the process of creating, developing and maintaining the garden!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Afterschool Garden Club 6/4/13

The Tuesday crew minus a couple who had prior commitments.

Today we set a goal to teach children about observation. Why it is important in the garden, what types of things we should look at, and how to keep our observations organized. We decided the easiest (and cheapest) way to do that was to create garden journals. For $1.00 each we picked up some composition notebooks and covered them with craft paper. The children then got to decorate them any way they chose. 

After an exciting day of robot assemblies, project fair presentations, and the Scholastic Book fair I didn't think we'd have much success getting the children to find a spot and just observe what was going on in the garden. After the children decorated their journals we talked about why we need to take notes on what we do in the garden. By documenting what you plant and when you can get a good idea of what should or shouldn't be done next year. Journals are also a good place to document what types of bugs you find in the garden. You can determine if they are beneficial or harmful and what should be done about them.

The children were then free to explore the garden and document their finds. Right away someone noticed two dragonflies darting overhead. We also saw spiders, grasshoppers, ants, and an inchworm. The children decided the dragonflies were beneficial because they eat mosquitoes. The spiders were good because they eat flies. The others they weren't too sure about but they all thought the inchworm was really cute. 

After a little documentation we planted some more bush beans so we can have a successive harvest of them through the summer. The children were told by Marisa that the seeds "have a coat to keep them warm in the ground and all the food they will need to sprout is right inside that little shell coat!"

Planting beans.

We also starting weeding the beds. The children noticed growth in the garden and quickly were able to discern what what a good plant and what was a weed. Hunter noticed maple tree seed pods that blew into the beds and even though they weren't sprouted informed us "we should pull them out so they don't make a lot of big trees in our garden."

Hunter's observations

Marisa's observations

Caprice's observations
Justin working hard!

Some other things we noticed today in the garden are the squash plants have baby squash on them, Ms. Messina's purple beans have purple flowers, and we have some sunflowers that appear to be hugging.

Baby squash!

purple bean flowers

Hugging sunflowers
One thing Rob and I noticed was that the tomato plants that were given used coffee grounds are doing much better than the ones that did not. We may have to talk to Mrs. DeMarco about getting us some more.

Hearty tomato plant loving the coffee grounds.
We are slowly but surely seeing our vision come to fruition. The next project will be a picnic table or two and the fence. We hope to start building the center bed pergola soon as well. We'd like to get the perennial butterfly garden planted before school lets out. I feel like we are running out of time because school is coming to an end for the year but in actuality, we still have several more months of productive garden time. 

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