Garden Art

Sometimes it is difficult to get members of the family involved in our gardens. Julia posted on her blog an interesting idea from the Children’s Museum. https://anotherjsblog.wordpress.com/category/kids/art/

I would enjoy seeing gardens from the creative minds of children. When you send the photos to me, I will post some of them to exhibit the “Lens of a Child”. You might share with the child ideas as a stimulus for this project. Or, just give them your cell phone. Try to learn what your child sees: germination, pollination, seed development (seed savers), flowers just before the vegetable develops, harvesting, the family garden or the vegetable on the dinner table. You can teach your child a lot of science in a garden.

Curiosity through Composting

For some parents a week with the children home probably feels like a month already.  On-line classes are good and the technology involved is probably more of a learning experience for parents than for children.  I talked to a physics teacher yesterday and he believes that Google Classroom is a useful tool.

But in my opinion science learned through practical application can be fun and it sticks.  How many people do you know that say, “I hate science”?  That makes sense too because right now in the United States not much of the Federal executive decision making is based on science.  I guess they didn’t pay attention in class.

There is a lot of science in garbage.  We all know that trash is expensive to get rid of, single stream recycling is no longer cost effective, reusable is in and manufacturers have a lazy eye when it comes to packaging.   Our learning curve needs to accelerate.

The children in Honduras are an inspiration when it comes to composting and gardening.   Food security is not a given for them.  When Kathy and I do horticulture / science projects in their classrooms, they are attentive and curious.  They helped me define a composting area behind the school.  The little children were caring cement blocks that may have weighed more than what they weigh.

Michael Imhoff the horticulture teacher at Quincy High School shared the following video with me which is excellent.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x4JssQPTYF8.

Please be mindful that a perfect compost pile is not easy to develop.  But, “Just Do It”.  Get started and learn some science along the way.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Like Talking to Bricks

When it comes to organic gardening I often feel that the key for success is our children.  They are open, enthusiastic and have fun growing things.  We are teaching math, science and technology through horticulture in Honduras.

pepperscristian

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The two pictures are almost identical.  One picture shows the best pepper crop that I have ever grown.  I use worm casting and the children at our Honduras Hope Dorm use worm castings.  The gardening technique is called Square Foot Gardening.  We are headed back to Honduras in November and our next project at the Dorm will be growing and the distribution organic Moringa.

Arsenic

My neighbor is a construction manager working on mall outside of Boston, Massachusetts.  The mall is being built on a former apple orchard.  The project has had some obstacles.  The amount of arsenic in the soil exceeds acceptable levels by the EPA.  The contaminated soil cannot be removed from the parcel of land which means the construction company must bury the soil under payment or mix it with uncontaminated soil to reduce the percentage of arsenic in the end product.

mcintosh-apple

When farmers spray pesticides, the unblemished apples, big red peppers or perfect melons all look so good.  Beware the perfect fruits and vegetables because they may not be as perfect as you think.  When the arsenic in the pesticide was sprayed, there was enough to kill small insects.  As the rain fell, contaminates soaked into the soil.  The apple tree’s roots absorb the chemicals.   The accumulative effect has caused big problems for the developer.  What has been the effect of the arsenic on you and especially on young children?

It might be worth considering Square Foot Gardening.  BEWARE: being an organic gardener may take some time to learn.  Mel Bartholomew’s book Square Foot Gardening might be a good place to start.  Warning, don’t just skim the book, read it.

Reflections

It is the 21st  of March.  The sun is halfway to its peak position.  And yet most people plant their gardens in the Northeast around Memorial Day.  And so what do your plants need?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sunlight!

Place a white reflector behind your Square Foot Garden and watch the plants thrive.  For young children the whiteboard can be a message board.

Try growing things with your children in the yard and see if they will start enjoying vegetables for lunch and dinner.  Or what do you think about a delicious smoothie for them straight from the garden?

School Equity

Good nutrition will provide the fuel necessary for academic achievement.  Students who grow things will at least try to eat them.

SchoolGardening

I wanted to provide wheatgrass juice to my high school athletes and was told not to because someone might be allergic to the juice.  So instead of the nutritious juice they were digesting grease from the french fries in the cafeteria.

Just visited a private school.  We were invited for lunch.  They served real food and it was delicious.  Students were eating the unprocessed food without objection.

If public schools are going to move in the direction of educational equity, they might want to start with the food they serve. Better yet, have the students grow the food on the school’s roof tops.  Now that is radical.

Read the following article and comment if you like on what you think.  http://www.upworthy.com/his-class-attendance-went-from-40-to-93-because-of-a-garden?c=tkp1

Tom Brady

Doing battle with large industries that are polluting children’s minds with advertisement about sugar drinks and packaged food is a challenge.  The holistic  approach to living is a struggle as the money guys; hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies and food corporations pollute all of society.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady pauses for a moment while answering a reporter's question prior an NFL football practice in Foxborough, Mass., Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015. The Patriots will travel to Dallas to face the Cowboys on Sunday. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady pauses for a moment while answering a reporter’s question prior an NFL football practice in Foxborough, Mass., Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015. The Patriots will travel to Dallas to face the Cowboys on Sunday. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Read the Boston Magazine article http://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/blog/2015/10/09/tom-brady-alex-guerrero-neurosafe/ about Tom Brady’s go to health guru.

The alternative approach to living healthy that Tom Brady uses is a far cry from traditional medicine.  And yet it seems to be working for him.  It has also  worked for his teammates.

Unfortunately, growing organically and making small amounts of healthy food for the consumer is expensive.  Fast food junk is just that and it is all that many families can afford.  In addition, Tom Brady spends his time right now preparing to win football games while marketing firms spend billions to win over children and the public.

Growing organic food is one way to deal with this issue but so many people need to work so hard just to make it that there isn’t enough time to do it all.  My money is on the Patriots and Tom Brady.  The NFL tried to take them down but when you are “right you are right”.  Unfortunately, Brady’s situation is not a short term solution but you can help.  Advocate for green living, holistic medicine and health insurance that pays for alternative choices.

Science and Health Education

Why does it take some educators so long when it is so obvious?  Read the article and see why and how this can be done.  http://childrengrowing.com/2015/05/11/share-if-you-think-every-school-should-have-a-year-round-gardening-program/

Application for many students leads them to conceptual learning.  First seeds must be planted in their minds.Garden OCT 2014 413

Great Kid

In Hingham, the town composts our leaves and other organic waste.  They do a great job.

ShaunDump

In the picture my new neighbor Shaun is shoveling compost which I use as mulch.  At Lowe’s they charge $ 5.64 a bag for mulch.  Mulch in a bag is dyed and treated with weed preventatives.  Other ecological considerations are: the energy it takes to fill the bags at the mulch farm, trucking it to the store and bringing the empty plastic bag back to the dump as trash.  In our town most of the residents bring their trash to the dump so they are already there to fill the emptied containers which was originally stored the trash.

We also have a swap shop which is a big favorite.  The town just upgraded the facility and volunteers monitor the area so that people don’t over stay their welcome.

Encourage your town to get involved in reuse if they are not already doing it.