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Archive for the ‘Volunteer’ Category

Thank you so much for helping to tend to the SNAPPdragons garden! I think we have a full complement of volunteers signed up on our ‘master’ list online: http://www.signupgenius.com/go/30e0f45a5ad238-school1.

Firstly, the gate to the South Entrance has a blue combination lock on it. The gate will be OPEN during school hours 7am-3pm, but if you come in the evening and it is closed, you can open it with the combination: Blue Lock: 34-08-30 When you lock up, make sure you do it properly: Lock our Blue Lock to ONE end of the chain and only to the OTHER lock. The other lock will be locked to the other end of the chain, so that the two locks together are links in the chain. If you forget, and someone needs to get in, they will CUT the lock.

Please water the native garden first, ideally for a full hour once a week. There are free-standing sprinklers in the deck box around the corner, along with several watering cans. You can leave the sprinkler-head on the end of the hose if that is more convenient. I’m mostly concerned about the small trees on the mound; the strawberries are doing a great job as a ground cover. Feel free to weed, if you have time. Any strawberries can be eaten!

The combination to the deck box, with the Red Lock is 38-16-30.

The key to the hose bib is an inset square-headed 1/4″ Heater Key that we have placed in the hose-reel box. I have delivered one to Family Works, and I have another for Jordan if he needs it. Keep the one you have, and if you lose it, you can get replacements from Stoneway Hardware for about $3. There should also be one in the worm bin, but as Kimberly so unfortunately discovered, there are bumblebees currently nesting under the worm bin, so please avoid that until they are moved. [update:6/18/14] Bees have been relocated!

Please water all plants in the raised beds near the blue rock. Everything should get a good soaking twice (that is, water everything, then go through once more after everything has had a chance to soak in.) If you bring kids with you, hand a watering can to each kid and have them fill the cans from the rain barrels. You can fill the rain barrels from the hose. Send the kids across the driveway to the strawberry mound on the East wall, too. But that won’t need as much water.

Harvest and donate to the Family Works Food Bank anything when it is ready, except for the obvious – the potato tower is harvested in late September with the kids, and the 3-Sisters Garden, which contains corn, beans and squash. One of the raised beds has snapdragons, so if they bloom, take a photo, then it’s OK to pick. I dropped off a bag of seeds to Family Works that we had left over from this fall that Pam can use to plant new crops. We’re delighted that anything can be put to use.

Finally, feel free to call or email if you have any further questions or problems. My email is methylgrace at yahoo.com and my cell is 206-388-6955, and Kimberly can be reached at KimberlyChristensen at live.com or 206-852-8030. Keith, our custodian, can also be reached at 206-793-8757 if there is an urgent problem with vandalism or problems shutting off the water.

Best wishes for a happy summer gardening!

 

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October Open House

It started out as a cold and foggy morning, but by lunch time, the sun was warm and pleasant.  At our fall Open House today, we were so pleased to have 8 classes show up.  Each class painted a classroom sign for their garden bed, planted fall vegetable crops and two kinds of cover crops (fava beans and red clover), and started our Field Guide project.

working

There was a lot of competition to find the most number of unique mushroom varieties!

Mushroom sighting!

Mushroom sighting!

We found a lot of critters, including spider webs, huge earthworms, and slimy slugs:

Critter Collage

And, remember these?

Potato Life Cycle

Potato Life Cycle

Last spring, the 3rd graders planted several kinds of potatoes including our local Makah Ozettes. Last month at our September Open House, we harvested a big pot full of potatoes. I picked some leeks from my garden and made potato-leek soup:

Potato Varieties

Potato Varieties

The soup was a big hit with all the kids, who begged for seconds. We heard a lot of “Wow, this is yummy!” Some of them even requested the recipe for this delicious dairy-free soup. So, if you want to make this at home:

Potato Leek Soup

  1. Dig up, wash (scrub) all of your potatoes, and trim off any green parts or tough ‘eyes’.  If using Makah Ozette potatoes, don’t bother to peel them.  Cut them into 1″ pieces or chunks.
  2. Pull 4 leeks from your garden, trim the roots, discard most of the green tops. Slice in half lengthwise, and wash the leeks well.  Cut into thin rounds.
  3. Saute leeks in 2 tablespoons of olive oil (dairy free!) or butter (yum!) until soft.  You can add garlic and onions, too.
  4. Add 1 tablespoon thyme, and 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, and stir for about 30 sec.
  5. Fill up the pot with water, add 2 bay leaves, 2 celery stalks cut in half, and all of your potatoes.
  6. Boil until potatoes are soft.
  7. Remove the bay leaves and celery.
  8. Use your immersion blender to make a puree.  If you don’t have an immersion blender, wait until soup cools(!) before blending in a regular blender. [Trust me, you can’t clean soup off the ceiling.]
  9. Season with salt and pepper until it tastes good.
  10. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Serve on a cold and foggy morning, after digging in the dirt.

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Moving the big blue rock

Moving the big blue rock

The APP@Lincoln SNAPP-Dragons School Garden team is looking for additional people help lead our school garden.  We’ld like to have a team of people who can offer monthly ‘themed’ work parties to facilitate getting the teachers and their classrooms into the garden.  We will explore obtaining grants, supporting curriculum development,  create special events, and much more.  We would like our Garden Leadership Team to help coordinate additional Garden Steward volunteers and activities to help build our program.

Some of the themed work parties that Kimberly and I have thought of include bulb planting, seed saving, cloche building, butterfly habitat planting, seasonal parties, and a Bio-Blitz to create a long-term species inventory for our garden.
Our first Back To School work party is a Open Garden on Friday, September 13th, from 10am-2pm.  Teachers are already signing up their classrooms to build new raised beds, fill them with dirt, weed out the old beds to prep for the fall, seed starting and transplanting, weeding the native garden. We have requested some shovels and wheelbarrows for the day!  I expect a lot of dirty, tired, happy faces on Friday!  It would be fantastic if you can help for one or more 1/2-hour slots that day.

We look forward to hearing from you.

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Food Day 2013

Food Day October 24th Logo

October 24th is the Third Annual Food Day.  Last year, thousands of schools celebrated Food Day in the cafeteria and in the classroom, by serving up local and healthy meals and hosted special activities.  Bentonville Public Schools in Arkansas created a “Junk Food Hall of Shame” art contest and a “Fear Factor Vegetable Tasting Challenge”.  In Nashville, TN, they matched 100 chefs with 100 schools to fight obesity with healthful meals to encourage good eating habits.  Even in Seattle, we had a Game-Show Taste Test at Chief Seattle High School to add Cowboy Caviar to the school menu, and have our own head of Nutrition Services, Eric Boutin, adding whole foods to our menus.  Read more on the Food Day Curriculum for Schools [PDF].

What shall we do here at our school?

  • Plant radishes, spinach and green onions to add to an easy quinoa salad?
  • Kid-powered recipe contest using only 5 ingredients?
  • Publish our own “Lincoln Fresh” cookbook?
  • Make our own tortillas and fresh salsa?
  • Invite a local chef to give a cooking presentation, with student sous-chefs?
  • Create a Sugar Search, and chart the amount of sugar per serving in a variety of items kids bring from home.  “Power” a car on the number of calories per item and see which classroom can go the shortest distance?
  • Create our own Perfect Menu based on the new Choose My Plate diagram?
  • Invite our parents to a special meal?
  • Have a Lincoln Food Festival to combine all of our ideas?

Comment here with your ideas!

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Thanks to the wonderful watering crew of Garden Stewards, our garden is growing throughout the summer.  There have been a few hitches with the gate being locked sometimes, but a few phone calls found Sean, our school district Self Help Projects Coordinator, and all is well.

The 3-Sisters bed already has corn ‘knee-high by the 4th of July’ and the squash is growing nicely.  The beans look a little anemic, though.  While there are bean pods, the vines are pretty stunted.  I added a few more boards to the potato tower and filled it up with more dirt.  And, everything got a good soaking.

corn, beans, squash

corn, beans, squash

Potato Tower

Potato Tower

Of particular interest was the dog-vomit slime mold that has colonized our wood chips.  Fuligo septica can be bright yellow, but ours is a dusky tan.  It’s harmless (except to asthmatics when the spores are released) and fun to poke.

Dog Vomit Slime Mold

Dog Vomit Slime Mold

Here’s a fun video of spore release when it gets watered:

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We are delighted to form our new Garden Steward Program to support our teachers using our new outdoor classroom.  Parents and volunteers who have completed the background check and paperwork (see Kathy in the office) are welcome to join us.  Our goal is to have at least one volunteer from each classroom to help with garden related duties.

clip art of farmer with shovelWe will have a kick-off meeting in the fall as School starts to outline the myriad tasks and responsibilities.  As a Garden Steward, there are both small tasks and big ones.  Please contribute as much as you are comfortable with.

  • You can weed and water.
  • You can work with your teacher to set up, assist with, and clean up after any garden activities.
  • You can blog right here about the activities you participate in.
  • You can discuss outdoor-classroom curriculum ideas with any of the teachers, and work with us (our principal, Rina, and Kimberly, Grace, Amy and Julie) to get these ideas implemented.  We might write a grant, scrounge craigslist, or ask for donations to fund the projects.  We can help you get dirt delivered or organize construction parties.

For now, the most important thing is to come up with a Summer Vacation Watering Schedule for the 14 weeks school is out.  We have created a Signup Genius Calendar with tasks.  Once you have been invited to the calendar, you can sign up for a watering slot.  If you can, volunteer to water three times in one week, and then you’re done!  Of course we can get 14 volunteers!  There are rain barrels (which can be filled from the hose), or you can just use the hose and nozzle.  A key can be obtained from the storeroom, and we’ll make it available outside in the garden (in the worm bin!)

Contact Grace at methylgrace at yahoo dot com to get full access to the calendar, and I’ll meet you at the garden to show you what to do during the summer.  We’re looking forward to seeing this garden grow!

[Update 05/28/13:  Google Calendar doesn’t allow multiple people to add things, so I have created a Yahoo Calendar, and updated all of the links ]

[Update 06/06/13: Ugh, Yahoo Calendar also isn’t ideal since you have to have a yahoo email account.  Moving to Signup Genius for this summer.  I’ll post a whole spreadsheet soon.]

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