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!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Summer in the Garden Week 1

Last summer  most children didn't get a chance to enjoy all the wonders our school garden brings. This summer we decided to host a summer garden club and let the children really explore what happens during the height of the growing season. 
I wanted the children to be able to wander at their own pace and explore whatever caught their interest while sneaking in some learning. This week was all about becoming a team and discovering what is going on in our garden. We sneakily added a math and literacy element by having them weigh and measure garden growth then journal their findings. They were having so much fun they didn't realize they were "working" too.

Harvesting the last of the peas.

They picked over a pound of peas. They probably ate 1/2 pound while picking!

One of the best things about running a summer garden club is that the children who worked so hard preparing the beds and nurturing the plants get to taste the fruits of their labor. The peas picked were devoured as a mid-morning snack. 

They used two yardsticks to measure the pea progress.

After trying a ruler, decided a yardstick would be better to measure the beet leaves.

Finding how how much higher than her knees the corn is.

Documenting in his journal.
Weighing the peas
I am not a big fan of scheduling children's activities, especially in the summer when it is supposed to be their "down time." While we have planned activities for each day, the children make their own choices about what they want to do. The most popular activity this week has been plain old fashioned bug hunting. We provide magnifying glasses and hand held microscopes as well as a variety of field guides to help them identify what they find. 
Critters found in the compost bins

Getting a close look at some bug eggs on the potato plants

Just wanted to see what was in the shady grass

This elusive creature teased the children all day

As soon as the children left for the day, we were able to snap this picture. We could have caught it too but it didn't seem fair.

Rob caught his bee in flight.

Bug hunting is serious work!

They decided the beetles found on the spuds need a bath in "bug juice".

Concentrating hard on getting bugs into the container.

Hurray for pollinators!

Children used field guides to decide if this was a friend or foe (spoilers: it is foe.)

The children first thought this was an aphid, after research, found it to be a grasshopper (eating the sunflower leaves.)
The summer session allows children to not only enjoy the tastes of fresh veggies but see with their own eyes how fast everything grows. In the cucumber bed, they documented a two inch growth spurt in one day! I would not have believed it either if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes! Next week they will be picking and eating that cucumber. 
The rapidly growing cucumber!

Pretty star shaped cucumber flower.

Potato flower.
Then there is the added bonus of the children helping with the weeding!

Next week we are exploring soil. Can't wait to dig in!

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