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!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Garden happenings...

Now that the weather is turning colder, not too much is growing in the garden. Most of the vegetables have been harvest and the remaining flower heads have all been picked clean by the birds.

The kale that was planted during the summer garden session is still growing strong and has a very hearty flavor thanks to the cold temperatures. With row covers we should be able to harvest kale long after the snow starts to fall.

The carrots are also growing but a little slower than expected. We will also be covering them with row covers and hopefully be able to harvest some in December and January.

Several varieties of seeds were saved from the garden this summer and fall, including marigold, four varieties of beans, basil, lettuce, corn, sunflowers. oregano and morning glory. We are planning a meeting the 2nd or 3rd week of December to sort and package seeds for a seed sale. An email will be sent out when the date and time is finalized.

We also held a garden cleaning event about a week ago where we cleared the beds, pulled out the dead plants, dead-headed the perennials, and planted garlic which was saved from this summers garden. Thank you Alison and Travis for all of your help on that frigid day!

Construction of the garden storage shed has finally begun. This project was made possible thanks to a grant from the Waterford Education Foundation. It was originally planned for the summer, but because things were so hectic we just didn't have time to build it. 

Last weekend we put in the footings and built the base. And this weekend the walls and roof framing went up.

Scandinavian folklore suggests an evergreen tree or bough be put on the finished frame of a dwelling to thank and show respect to the wood spirits who were sacrificed to provide timber for the structure.

Next weekend we hope to have this project wrapped up so we can start building the greenhouse, so by
next spring all our structures in place and we can concentrate on growing! Stay tuned for information about our winter projects and activities.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Unstructured Activities

Jacob's Cattle Beans

The summer garden club may be over but that doesn't mean the Garden is done. Far from it. The children spent their last few days in the Garden planting more crops. We will have a second crop of kale, beans, squash as well as fall crops of rutabagas and turnips. 
The last week of the summer club was more relaxed. I've been reading several articles lately about the benefits of children getting out and just "being" in nature. So we let them dictate what happened that last week. Most of them just wanted to hunt bugs. Rob was worried they would be bored but it just so happens, the total opposite occurred. They were exuberantly engrossed in the capture of as many bugs as they could get. It didn't matter if it was crickets or moths, it was clear the children were having a blast! No one told them how to do it. No one suggested where to look or what method to use. It wasn't arranged or planned and yet they somehow managed to keep themselves occupied for a very long time without arguing, whining, or complaining once. The only instruction needed was "go ahead". Had I had more adult volunteers I think exploring the wonderful nature trail behind the school would have been added to the agenda. Maybe next year.....

leaving no stone unturned
Piggie (a student's cat) food. This child would carry crickets home in her hands to feed to her cat. Too funny!
checking on the captured
Like I said earlier, the children did work hard too. They dead-headed some of the perennials and planted some successive crops. This time, Rob gave them basic instructions and let them go to task. They took the responsibility very seriously.


This morning Rob harvested another 5 pounds of produce. There are still tomatoes to come as well as spaghetti squash, pumpkins and beans.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

29 Pounds and Counting!

29 1/4 pounds harvested today!
It's been a while since I've been in the Garden or created a post. We had a family emergency that put all things garden on hold. It was nice to finally get back into the Garden and get my hands dirty again. The children haven't been in the Garden for over a week and came back today full of excitement and enthusiasm as much had changed in their absence. I'd forgotten how uplifting their shouts of joy can be! They got back into the routine pretty quickly and got right to work.

The first thing children do when they get here in the morning is to walk around and observe any changes that may have occurred and explore the garden.

checking cucumber growth

measuring the tallest sunflower (it is as tall as Mr. Terry)

bug expedition
Many things were ready to be harvested with many more to follow shortly. Today they harvested cukes, garlic, and onions. To total came to 29 1/4 pounds! Soon we will have tomatoes, potatoes, corn, and spaghetti squash.

pulling garlic is hard work!

There was enough for everyone to harvest
The children almost get as big a thrill out of weighing the produce as they do picking it.

"The garlic smells yummy."

This is one of 5 we have growing.

Rob uncovered one to see how they are coming along.


Today we talked about seeds and the children we able to explore of the few that are forming in the Garden now. They decided it was okay if the finches share some of the sunflower seeds which led us to the discussion of how many kinds of seeds we actually eat. 

When the children explored freely, they discovered many interesting bugs. Their favorite was a pair that were "stuck together." When one of them declared "they're mating!" Someone else asked what that meant. Fortunately, another child piped up and said "making baby bugs, duh!"  Phew! I'm more comfortable leaving the "bugs and bees" talk to their own parents. :)

We are also in the process of planting our Fall crops. Today we were only able to get to kale. We also plan on putting in rutabagas, turnips, carrots, onions, lettuce, beets, swiss chard, spinach, asian greens, and wheat. Most of which the children will be able to enjoy when they come back at the start of the school year. 

planting kale
I can't believe there is only one more week left to the summer session! I hope it has been as enjoyable for the children as it has been for us. It has been quite the learning experience for us as well, every week we are revising and planning for next year! We would love to be able to open it up to more students. With more adult volunteers we may be able to.

a rogue teddy bear sunflower.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Ending Week 2 with a Mess!

Today we thought we'd end the week by getting messy! One of my favorite things to do when I was a kid was to play in the mud. These days, kids don't get nearly enough opportunities to get messy so I thought I'd give them a chance to experience some of that joy. We made seed balls using a "recipe" I found from a Pinterest link We modified it a little and didn't follow the exact measurements but I think the results will be the same.

We thought the air dry red clay might mix a little better if it was in smaller pieces so each child got to use a metal grater to grate their block of clay.

They sifted dirt from the compost to remove sticks, stones, and any unwanted critters

Using a measuring cup we measured out one cup of sifted soil, we ended up using three.

Dirt was added to the clay.

about a cup of water was added

sprinkled in a couple of packets of wildflower seeds

Then we let the fun begin! The children spend about a half hour playing in the mud rolling it into the seed balls.

In total we used about 2 1/2 pounds of air dry red clay, 6 cups of dirt and two cups of water. The  yield was 83 meatball sized seed balls. This project is a creative way to get children to explore dirt and seeds. Once dry these "balls" can be thrown anywhere the children would like to seed wildflowers grow.  This practice also has a little history which can be further explored here.

The children continue to observe and explore the garden, we did a successive planting of peas, and growth continues to be abundant.

Seeds are the topic for next week.