We had almost 30 pounds of harvested broccoli this year! The children learned how to harvest and prepare steamed broccoli during this class. Here our very proud group of children on that day.
“In gardening class we made pesto sauce, beet-banana smoothie, steamed broccoli, quinoa salad, radish avocado toast and tabouleh. We collect vegetables from the garden, then we went upstairs to cut the vegetables like radish and cucumbers. I liked the beet banana smoothie because to me, it tasted like a strawberry smoothie. I loved the quinoa salad! The first bite I took already made me want more. The pesto pasta tasted good because it tasted like regular pasta except it had green pesto sauce.”
“I like to eat and make pesto sauce because you can cut vegetables, see how it grows, then we go to the kitchen and then Ms.Fabiola blends it with oil, salt, put it with the pasta. Next we make beet-banana smoothie. We cut the beets and peel the banana, Ms. Fabiola blended the beet and it was so good!!!”
“I learned about different type of foods and smells of plants like chocolate mint and more. We also used the plants from the garden, for example basil. And we also ate the food that we made.”
“I liked how when we found food in the garden we got to eat and we got to prepare tasty cuisine and we got to eat it. And in the garden there were a lot of bees in their habitat feeding off of flowers and caterpillars biting the leaves.”
“I learned about making pesto sauce and growing tomatoes. Then we was tasted peppermint. We tasted an onion plant. We tasted chocolate mint. We tasted basil.”
“I love the pesto sauce and the beets smoothie!!!”
“I liked when we cut the plants and cooked, then we got to eat it them. Then we wrote about what we made in the garden and the kitchen.”
“I learned that we can make new different food to eat. We pick plants from the garden and cook in the kitchen. We loved the cooking.”
“I learned how to work together like with other people.”
“What I liked is the gardening class is the beet banana shake and the chocolate mint, and I like being in charge of the kitchen.”
Students completed their first full Garden-Kitchen-Lab lesson today by harvesting twelve super big broccolis! The children took all broccolis to the kitchen, chopped the stems and leaves off and added them to a large pan of steamed water. Three minutes later, the kids were enjoying steamed broccoli with olive oil and salt. All twelve broccolis were eaten that morning! the kids completed a quiz about the growing, harvesting and preparing the recipe along with learning the benefits of eating broccoli. A successful lesson.
This year’s growing season started by adding two additional beds to the garden and showing kids how to start a raised bed form scratch. They laid plastic, poked holes for drainage and added layers of organic potting soil and compost for a good grow. Some of the compost added came from our own compost bin which we started last year. After school kids learned to plant from seeds, learned how to transplant seedlings and how to feed the garden a mix of organic vegetable food. After eight weeks students were able to see the progress, harvesting twelve lettuces, eight beets and ten broccolis! By the end of the spring they were quizzed to asses how much had the children absorbed from the lessons.
Collard green, broccolis, beets and tomatoes were some of the vegetables that the children have been using to prepare salads throughout this fall. As part of the Garden Kitchen Lab program the kids also covered plant beds with oats and lentil seeds to protect the soil from extreme temperatures. Soil is the foundation of a healthy agricultural system. Through crop rotation and nutrient management, we are working on making a soil that is biologically rich.
The temperatures have dropped already and we have started our winter program by watching ‘Food Machine, America Revealed’, a documentary that explores how the country’s food machine feeds nearly 300 million people every day. This film showed the children the engineering marvels people have created by putting nature to work and takes a look at the costs of our insatiable appetite on our health and environment. Tied to the Sustainability theme for the Global Partners’s Junior program, the children at St. John’s are being exposed to a well rounded program on environmental awareness.
The children prepare a new plant bed to transplant beet starters using compost and soil donated by GreenThumb. In the kitchen the kids learn how to ferment tomatoes to save seeds for next spring, and back it the garden we continue to harvest tomatoes, we have been making tomato and broccoli salads. This has been a mild fall and the eggplant plants, the tomatoes and even the jalapeño pepper plants are still giving! We are also pleased to have found a new heirloom tomato in the garden. The kids are closely documenting how its shape is changing every day! And finally one the kids tells us about how she made a spinach strawberry salad at her grandmother’s home, a recipe she learned during class last spring!
This spring we started our project as a contained garden, now we have six small plant beds and one large raised bed. It has been an amazing experience to see how our seeds turned into seedlings and soon after started growing exponentially! The tomatoes started giving last week and so did the peppers, the onions and the eggplants. Our broccoli continues to grow and will be ready to harvest in a few more weeks. This project is moving forward! Thank you GreenThumb, Katie’s Krops and Build It Green! NYC. Special thanks to Ai Hirashi for al her gardening advice and plant beds donation and to Colm Johnston for your donation! We look forward to teach the kids how to use it this fall and learn more about how to measure the soil’s humidity. Thank you very much as well to Ed Feldman for his visit to St. John’s and the garden!