There is not a doubt that the highlight of fall gardening was the butterfly lesson. After many years of having a butterfly garden at Armstrong, but not many butterflies, we have added the host plants to the existing nectar plants to have the full spectrum of plants necessary to have caterpillars, chrysalis’, and ultimately, the butterflies emerging. The students learned about milkweed and how important it is not to touch it, as some are allergic to the oils in it.
October 4th and October 11th
September 27, 2016
Some of the students utilized our germination station indoors by planting seeds and growing them under lights, while some planted in the outside beds. The kindergartens planted herbs, while the first graders learned the story of the Three Sisters and planted corn, beans and squash. Planting seeds requires tedious attention as the seeds are very small. The students learned how deep to plant the seeds and they were so excited when they returned to the garden and saw the sprouts.
The second grader enjoyed the fun in planting their special cabbage plants as well as planting seeds. Third and fourth graders germinated radish and carrot seeds.
September 13th and 20th……We have replanted the garden this fall. We have taught square foot gardening and the students have learned how many plants they can plant in each defined area. The students have planted lettuce, cabbage, brussels sprouts, broccoli, and spinach. Adding new soil to the garden has been a learning experience for the students as well. They know the new soil will make their plants healthier as it adds new organic matter to the present soil.
We really appreciate all the volunteers who have been coming to the garden. We hope you all know how additive you are to making the garden work so well. Many thanks!!!
The last two weeks in the garden consisted of harvesting and enjoying the “vegetables of their labor”, so to say. The first graders harvested their onions while the second and fourth graders harvested their potatoes. The students at Armstrong harvested 134 pounds of potatoes in 126 square feet of land. We had so many potatoes that we could not consume them all on the last day in the garden, when we had the garden feast. Next year, we plan to make a donation of potatoes to a shelter.
Hope you all have a great summer, and happy gardening!
Your garden team,
Jana Beth Eidson
IPM or Integrated Pest Management was practiced in the garden by all grades April 26th and May 3rd. To demonstrate this practice, all of the students participated in releasing lady bugs. They were taught that the lady bugs eat aphids and that aphids are destructive bugs in the garden. We had a lot of aphids in the wildflower garden so the lady bugs had plenty of work to do. They also learned how chemicals, that are used to kill bad bugs, end up doing harm to the environment.
The act of releasing lady bugs was one of the most delightful things we did this year in the garden. We sprayed the plants with water, and then released lady bugs that had been in confinement. They flew right to the water on the plants. This allowed the students to study the bugs before they flew away.
April 5th and April 12th
In order to draw a plant, you have to study it, and that is how you learn a lot about it. So studying leaves and their veining is what is was going on in the garden for the past two weeks. Each student was allowed to pick several leaves from their favorite plants. The Lamb’s Ear plant seemed to be the most popular to pluck leaves from followed by the leaves from the potato plants. The students traced or drew them on paper and then painted them. We had many beautiful paintings created in the garden.
When the students finished their art painting projects, they were encouraged to do rubbings of the tree stumps. That way, they could count the rings and figure out not only how old the tree was when it was cut down, but how much the tree grew each year pointing to the environmental conditions it was experiencing. They were fascinated with the experience.
After they completed their art projects, they enjoyed their grade specific activities. The Kindergarteners tasted their spinach and lettuce plants. The first and second graders worked in the butterfly and wildflower gardens, respectively. They are adding new plants each week to make each garden lure more pollinators. The third and fourth graders planted Pentas in front of the school office. These plants were chosen in order to lure more pollinators to Armstrong, as well. The campus is in full bloom thanks to our garden helpers. Everyone is enjoying the flower gardens coming alive with color, as well as the vegetables growing by leaps and bounds.
Jana Beth Eidson, and JMG Garden Team
March 22 & March 29
We have had a blast in the garden propagating plants. The kindergarten propagated herbs and begonias, while the first graders propagated plants for the butterfly garden, as well as begonias. The second graders propagated begonias and African violets, and the third and fourth graders propagated begonias, geraniums and African violets. All classes took their propagations back to their classes to view the results.
They were all amazed when we took plant cuttings and dipped them in rooting powder for soil or water propagation. Many were asking to trim stems off other various plants in the garden and take them home for propagation for their own experimentation. We were thrilled with all the enthusiasm.
For the next two weeks we will be enjoying art in the garden as well as replanting the annual beds. I hope every parent will have a chance to visit the garden at will with their student, and find out the fun we are having as we learn about plants.
Jana Beth Eidson