In preparation for a week of gratitude the 6th graders learned about a few cultural traditions surrounding the practice of smudging. Before leaving for Thanksgiving break they gathered and bound their own smudge sticks from plants in our herb garden.
While the earth sleeps we turn our work from planting, tending and harvesting to maintaining the other elements of our beautiful garden. The 6th graders have been working on new pathways, composting and putting the last touches on putting our beds to rest for the winter. In 7th grade we are working on care of our tools. Last week we began sanding, oiling and cleaning our wooden hand tools.
Look for the 5th grade gardening class's healing salves at Winter Faire! The containers may be small in size but a whole lot of love and care went into their creation.
Back in September the 5th graders began gathering herbs and healing plants from our garden. They learned which parts of these plants were to be used for salves and the properties of each. After being dried and processed, calendula, lavender and chamomile flowers were added to olive oil and soaked for several weeks. Each of the four soaking jars were dutifully cared for by 5th graders who took the jars home and turned the mixture daily. Upon returning from Thanksgiving Break Ms. Swigris and Ms. Nance helped the children strain the oils, melt beeswax, add vitamin E oil and pour salves into containers.
If you see a 5th grader be sure to ask them about their experience making these little pots of gold!
Who knew that, after taking two city buses and a short walk, you could find yourself at an urban farm that grows and uses...worms! Compost turned and digested by worms is called vermicompost, and Kathy Doesken, owner of Rocky Mountain Soil Stewardship has her vermicompost farm down to an art. As a former soil scientist, Ms. Doesken and her climatologist husband Nolan gave our students a lovely day full of practical and scientific lessons from nature.
"Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life."
7th Grade First Quarter
.The 12 seventh graders in my first quarter gardening class, Ms.Nance and I have had a ball harvesting, prepping and serving the Harvest Festival Soup. This year all produce, save 25lbs of the 50 lbs of potatoes need for the soup, was grown in our garden! A new ingredient crop we grew this year was celery...what an interesting plant to watch develop!
We also spent a class learning about pickling and fermenting. Cucumbers, carrots, cabbage and garlic bubbled away in the garden closet.
Thanks to our resident 7th grade fisherman, Arlo, we now have 4 Bullhead Catfish in our pond! They will work to clean decayed matter from the bottom of the pond and in turn fertilize our pond plants.
We were very excited this past week to use our new pond test kit and find that the ph, ammonia, nitrate and phosphate levels in our pond water are at healthy levels for both our fish and plants.