Edible Peace Patch Blogs

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Monday, November 17, 2014

Measurements in the Garden

The lesson this week started with our students picking a plant. From there we took turns measuring how tall the plant is and coming up with some questions that we could investigate and observe until the semester concluded.

Our beautiful garden on an equally beautiful day.

Working together to form and answer questions about our plants.

Our class works together to ensure that everyone has had a turn to do the lesson and to get some hands-on experience with working with their veggies and herbs.

A quick note about 1st graders: they love to water. And they are super careful to not water the same bed twice. We water with the students to teach them how important it is to plants as well as for our own bodies. Only having one watering can certainly encourages and requires sharing from our little ones.

We were taking our measurements seriously. We first identified the plant, then took the ruler from the base of the plant to the top and had our students record the height in inches. Sam and I would write down the students' questions and we will return to them each week we have with them. The students were so enthusiastic about the proposed changes and what has already changed in the garden. They are especially concerned with when they can eat the leafy greens and okra.

From Melrose Elementary,
Meghan R.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Lakewood Elementary Service Day!


Join us in spending the morning in our Lakewood Elementary schoolyard garden. The Junior League of St. Pete will be lending a big helping hand for this Service Day!
Saturday November 15th 2014 9AM-1PM
We take this time to catch up on garden maintenance and to finish larger projects so that our gardens are ready for the students who come out weekly to learn and explore.
Morning refreshments are provided.
Bring along your family, friends, and your gardening tools!
p.s. Bring along your compost-ables to donate to our compost bins(veggie and fruit scraps, oak leaves, coffee grounds, tea bags, BUT NO MEAT or DAIRY, please)!
Visit peacepatch.org for more info about our project.
Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
Keep an eye out for the addition of November and December service days!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A sprouting garden and bugs!

Today at Melrose Elementary School it was bug day! The kids loved looking around and trying to find different types of insects and trying to figure out what kind of bug it was! Although we did find mostly ladybugs, which the kids loved passing around!

Not only did the kids love searching the plants for bugs, but they also just loved seeing everything that had grown since the previous week! The garden was full with kale, purple okra, peppers and so much more! The kids kept begging to try the different leaves and loved finding out the names of these new veggies! 


The garden has grown so much and is filled with such beautiful smells! Today was a great day and I can't wait to see how much more the garden grows and how the kids will react to the growth!

Peace, Sam!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Seeds and Sunshine!

It was a beautiful day out at Melrose this Thursday! We taught the 1st graders about the structure of a plant and boy did they love that! Not only did they love getting to look at all of the different types of plants and pointing out the different parts, we also allowed them to plant some seeds to grow their own plants!

The kids were so excited that these seeds would be their own and that they each got to individually plant them! They planted some acorn squash and the kids kept asking for more seeds and asking if they could take some home to plant at their houses! It amazes me how excited kids can get when they are helping to take care of something, even if it is just one acorn squash!

Everything else in the garden is also coming along beautifully! The kids loved trying to figure out what the different plants are and were so surprised that you can find most of it in the foods you eat on a regular basis! We have tons of oregano, okra, basil and beans sprouting up and the kids can't wait to try everything! 

Peace out, Sam!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

I've never worked with kids before, and none of my gardens have ever survived longer than a season. That being said, gardening with the kids at Melrose is more than just an adventure--it's a challenge. The idea of not only supervising 7- or 8-year-olds but also teaching them was totally out of my comfort zone, yet the cause is near and dear to my heart.
Food is a passion that I think everyone should share, especially making wise choices about food. The kids at Melrose Elementary are live in a food desert, with nothing but gas stations and quick-stops in the neighborhood. Many of them probably don't have easy access to fresh produce, and may have little idea what that actually is. By gardening with them, all I want is to get them interested, or even just more familiar with vegetables. There's more than just apple slices and carrot sticks waiting for them in the garden.
The first thing that I asked my little group of kids was what their favorite food was. They were on to me from the start, and knew that I was looking for fruit or veggie answers. They named off corn, apples, carrots, etc. Some of them hesitated before just repeating one of the last answers.
Once we got into the garden, however, their palates seemed to unconsciously expand. As soon as they found anything that looked edible, they would ask if they were allowed to eat it--before even asking what it was.
The effort it took to keep them from stripping every basil leaf, every unripe pepper from the plants was incredible. The novelty of something being ready to eat off the stem (though not much of the garden actually is) just drove them crazy, to put it bluntly.
By the time they had left, my team and I tiredly picked up bits of half-eaten peppers and pea pods that had been sneaked when we weren't looking. We couldn't really be mad. I mean, they're eating their vegetables, aren't they?

Love and peas,

A new year of garden education is here!

On Friday we had the pleasure of hanging out with two second grade classes taught by Mrs. McDonald and Mrs. Furse. The students remembered their USFSP and Eckerd College team leaders from last week and seemed very excited to have us back at Melrose.

We were able to get through the whole lesson about seeds in our small groups and students were very intrigued by the different sizes, shapes, and textures of the seeds. Many of the kids were able to guess what seeds need to grow (sunlight, space, air, water, soil-- in most cases), that they are living things, and some were even able to guess which of the seeds they held would in time grow into marigolds, purple beans, and acorn squash!

The kids absolutely loved "raking" the soil in the grow boxes and then poking holes with their fingers to plant their seeds. They were very controlled when it came time to water their personal plants: they stood in a line and very carefully, one by one, tipped the watering can slightly over the edge of the boxes until the soil was lightly saturated. They definitely understood that overwatering could kill their seeds and took this part of the lesson very seriously without instruction.

At the end of our time together we had them guess what the upcoming lesson could possibly be about and elementary and college students seemed equally excited to return this Friday for the parts of the plant!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Surprise Visit!

Given the testing this week, we weren't expecting to have any classes out to the garden today. Luckily, we had a surprise kindergarden class visit the garden on their way to gym! We spent most of the short visit with them today looking for bugs in the grow boxes and tasting some of the leafy greens.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Join our Earth Workday!

The Edible Peace Patch Project
invites you to join our
Earth Day Garden Workday
Saturday, April 19th
9 am - 1 pm

We'll be meeting at Campbell Park Elementary, 
1051 7th Avenue South, St. Pete, 33705

Morning refreshments will be provided.
Bring along your family and your gardening tools!

See you there!

Photo of mushroom at Campbell Park Elementary Peace Patch by Noah Schlager

Friday, April 4, 2014

The Melrose garden is blooming!

We have some gorgeous Swiss chard and corn, as well as several other plants that are growing wonderfully! The children have been learning about how bugs are great for the garden, such as bees and ladybugs and that these bugs make their home under the plants and help them grow. They especially enjoyed shouting out what kinds of bugs fly around and pollinate the flowers in the garden. 
 We made a quick side lesson when a type of mushroom popped up and the students also learned about decomposers!

The bottom two rows of pictures illustrates the time difference of just two weeks. Pretty soon, we'll need to take some of that lettuce to make a salad for lunch!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Wednesday March 19, 2014

The day was still as beautiful now at Melrose elementary, as when it started when I Sanderlin.  For me Melrose posses new challenges for teaching about gardening, because you must change your lesson plan accordingly to adjust to the raised plant beds and smaller space.  With the previous two lessons plans for Melrose (seeds and garden observations), the plan still concerned the garden.  With this week’s lesson we had to incorporate non-verbal communication into our message.  Now its difficulties were what one would imagine, but wrapping my head around teaching communication skills other then gardening lessons was weird.  As it would turn out, it was a learning experience for me.  I realized today that the garden, of course is the garden; but it is also a true forum for education in all of its facets.  Not only can you teach math and science, but one can feature history perhaps of the area or of a specific plant or growing practice.  Or in our case today we used a hand-clapping version of hot/cold to work on our non-verbal communication, which in this case strengthens our problem solving skills.  Ms. Williams fourth grade class was the only one we were able to do the lesson plan with because the second and third classes came out together (a lot of kids).  It would have become a great undertaking to accomplish this activity in such a short period of time.  As it turned out, all the classes were all new to the garden.  So establishing the rules and getting to know one-another was of more importance.    

Matt who works with me every week at Sanderlin and Melrose was with me, and he took one volunteer away from the garden.  The rest of us would choose a plant for them to guess.  We would find that there were subtle changes that we would have to make for our volunteer to better understand us.  These changes were clapping faster when they were closer and slower when they moved away.  Also there was the task of staying non-verbal when giving our clues.  In the end we found that this could be what it is like when coming across someone who speaks a different language, and sometime we must problem solve to communicate effectively with others.  That’s regardless of whatever language is spoken.

Before wrapping up our classes, we talked about making observations whenever we are in the garden, and keeping that in mind when we come back.  I know for myself this was a lesson of over-coming obstacles and problem solving.  So as always the Peacepatch comes through for me.  It has been an aid for teaching and learning sustainably, learning organic gardening, and really learning more about me and my capabilities. 

The continuous pursuit of knowledge is one of the greatest gifts I have ever received.  I am grateful to pass that gift on.



Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A Beautiful Day in the Garden

After all of yesterday's rain, our maintenance in the garden today was easy. Unfortunately, the kids had more standardized testing today, so we didn't have any visitors to the garden, but Hank and I enjoyed spending time reviewing the lessons for today, checking on all the plants, and brainstorming activities for the kids! 

Hank tending to the plants

Hank sampling the Swiss Chard

Me investigating the Lettuce

By: Andréa Martin

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Work Day!

Thanks to our wonderful volunteers and students, we've been able to make these gardens into incredible experiences for elementary school children! 

The one and only Pab, our garden manager, instructing the kids with the garden

The students getting down and dirty with the the garden's soil

Tarps being laid out for the foundation of the garden boxes at Melrose Elementary 

We want to thank our dedicated volunteers for investing their time in the future of our children here in St. Pete! 

Salad Bowl Plants

It was a rainy day at Melrose Elementary but fortunately our plants love the extra water!
These budding plants are great for salads, stay tuned for more sprouts that our volunteers and children have planted!

Mustard Greens!


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

First Day with Kids!!!!

The Melrose Elementary School Peace Patch Garden saw it's first kids today! This unique garden space uses raised garden boxes rather than sunken beds like the other schools, which made today's planting task easy. Since this is a young garden, all the boxes were ready to receive plants for the new semester. The primary focus of today was to plant the lettuce, kale, and mustard green starts, but also to introduce ourselves to the students we will be working with and lay down some garden norms for the semester. I worked with an exceptional couple of fifth graders today who really took an interest in not only the physical planting and care of the plants, but of the biology and chemistry behind the veggies we were working with. I loved diving into some of the more challenging material and having my personal knowledge tested with these older kids. I can't wait to continue working with these smarties for the rest of the semester: growing and learning together!

By: Andréa Martin