Edible Peace Patch Blogs

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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Week 2: Soil!

This week we taught the class all about soil!  We took samples and let the kids imagine what could possibly be within these dense, dark substances.  We distinguished between the sandy & rocky soils from around the school field and the nutrient-rich garden bed soil.  We discussed the living things which are present and all the cool animals which help out when growing plants aka our food!  Later, we talked about what we can do to help the soil stay nutrient-rich aka composting!  We handed out flyers of what can or cannot be composted and encouraged students to bring some in next week to compost in their garden.  Finally, we picked some collard greens which needed harvesting and the kids were very excited to take them home to show their families or eat them right then and there! They can't wait until next week to learn all about seeds and their dispersal!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Week 3: Planting

On Monday, we did a lot around the garden with the first graders. At the beginning, the students learned about plants and the four main parts of them. The students were all able to identify the root, stem, leaf, and flower of a plant! After filling out a quick worksheet, the kids walked around to look at plants in the garden. After learning about plants the topic was changed to seeds. The students learned where seeds come from and how they travel then grow. After this all of the students got to plant a seed, that will grow throughout the next few months by working in the garden! After planting, one student was given the chance to water the plant bed, finishing up the fun class day.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Week 2: Ms. House's Class

Wednesday was the second week working with Ms. House's kindergarten classroom in the garden. This week the students learned about soil! First, the students took turns in a big group discussing what they thought soil was made up of and why they think soil is important for plants. Then, we taught them the four main components of soil. Next, we broke into our smaller groups. Each group went to a different section of the garden to examine different types of soil. Each group got the opportunity to look at and feel the soil on the ground, in the garden bed, and the compost. Within all three groups, students were able to distinguish that the soil in the garden bed appeared to be the best condition for growing plants. This was because it felt "softer" to them and looked darker. Overall, the students enjoyed being able to look at and learn about the soil. Their favorite part was looking at and holding the worms and different types of bugs that live within the soil. Next wednesday we will return to the garden to teach Ms. House's class about seeds!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Campbell Park Elementary School

Today in the garden at Campbell Park Elementary School, we learned about soil. The students talked about what they thought made up soil and then we went over the four major ingredients. These are ground up bedrock, organic matter, water, and air. We took a nice walk around the garden and looked at how soil changed depending on where it was in the garden. The soil in the garden bed was richer and hotter than the soil on the ground or in the compost pile. The kids said what they found in the dirt and compared the dirt from different places. The worms were still the most exciting part of the garden for the kids! Next week we get to learn about seeds!

Monday, October 5, 2015

First Day at Campbell Park

Today at Campbell Park Elementary it was our first Edible Peace Patch class with the first graders. Many of them had been to the garden before when they were in kindergarten so they were very excited to come back out to the Edible Peace Patch. My group and I started by asking them what they thought the rules of the garden should be, and they were all very excited to give ideas such as "no touching the plants without asking" and "no picking the plants until they are fully grown." Then, we separated into four smaller groups to talk more about the garden and what the students wanted to grow. We gave them a work sheet where they walked around the garden and wrote down what they heard, felt, saw, and smelled. This was their first chance to interact with the garden and think about how being in the garden affected all of their senses. Today was really great to get to know the students and I look forward to them learning more about the garden and planting food.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Bugs in the Garden!

This past week at the garden, volunteers led students on a bug hunt! The students were able to learn about bugs and their different roles in the garden and in the food web.  After searching the garden, we found a variety of different bugs including bees, grubs, ladybugs, spiders, rolly-pollys, and centipedes.  We captured as many as we could in containers and then talked about whether the bugs we found are beneficial or detrimental to the garden. We discussed the four common roles of bugs in the garden. These include decomposers, pollinators, garden helper's and garden pests. I was very impressed with the groups' knowledge of pollinators as well as the beneficial qualities of worms in the soil. Luckily, we found bugs from each of the four categories so the students were able to observe the bugs while learning about their role in the garden!  At the end of the lesson, the students determined which bugs should be placed back into the garden and which should be disposed of.  Not only were the students able to learn about bugs and the garden food web, but they assisted in eliminating pests from the garden. What an excellent method of natural pest control!

Andrea Jannotta

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Edible Peace Patch Featured Plant No 4: Broccoli!

Welcome to the third posting in a series called the
Edible Peace Patch Featured Plant 

Broccoli (Brassica Oleracea)

Identification:  Found in many of our schoolyard gardens, broccoli is an edible plant in the cabbage family, whose large flowering head is used as a vegetable. Broccoli has large, dark green flower heads that are arranged in a tree-like structure on branches sprouting from a thick, edible stem. A mature plant grows to be about 24-30 inches tall and bears about 4-10 inches of flower head. The mass of flower heads is surrounded by leathery leaves, which are also edible!

Growing Conditions:  Broccoli is a cool-season crop and can germinate in soil with temperatures as low as 40ºF. It requires full sun as well as fertile, moist, and slightly acidic soil in order to flourish. The mostly sandy, basic soil found here in Pinellas County means that composting and adding organic material to the soil is essential for growing broccoli.  It is also important to provide consistent soil moisture with regular watering.  Plant them 1 or 2 feet apart, 1/8 inch deep in early spring, late summer, or early fall.

History: Native to the Medditeranean, broccoli was cultivated in Italy in ancient Roman times and was then introduced to England in the early 1700’s and then to America in colonial times.  However, it wasn’t until the past century that broccoli gained popularity in the United States.

What’s so special?

1. The stem, flower, and leaves are all edible.

2. Broccoli has a very low calorie level, providing just 34 calories per 100 g.

3. Fresh Broccoli is a storehouse of many phyto-nutrients such as thiocyanates, indoles, sulforaphane, isothiocyanates and flavonoids like beta-carotene cryptoxanthin, lutein, and zea-xanthin. Studies have shown that these compounds by modifying positive signaling at molecular receptor levels help protect from prostate, colon, urinary bladder, pancreatic, and breast cancers.

4. Broccoli is a good source of minerals like calcium, manganese, iron, magnesium, selenium, zinc, and phosphorus.

5. Broccoli contains large amounts of the anti-oxidant vitamin, vitamin-A. About 100 g of broccoli provides 21% of recommended daily levels. Vitamin A also helps maintain integrity of skin and mucus membranes and is essential for healthy eyesight. 

6. There is an enzyme in broccoli called myrosinase which can reduce the risk of developing cancer. The enzyme works by changing sulfur-based chemicals found in broccoli (called glucosinolates) into isothiocyanates (other sulfur-containing chemicals), which have anticancer properties.

Personal Note:
Though cooked broccoli is extra delicious, try just lightly steaming the broccoli to fully benefit from all its vitamins, minerals, and enzymes. Like many other vegetables, over-cooking broccoli is said to decrease the health benefits of this plant. 

Stay tuned for the next Edible Peace Patch Featured Plant!