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.

Should We?

Blame your science teacher?  There are many people in government who have no idea about the science of this pandemic.  Is nature telling us something?  Many people suggest that they just were not good at science.  Go back and read the first sentence.

In the past too much theory was taught to science students and not enough practical application was used.

I believe that hands on learning will stimulate a love for science.  Maybe save the planet.  The following article is important to demonstrate how horticulture in school will stimulate an interest in organic understanding, grow / buy local and how to get back to nature by removing dangerous chemicals from our environment.  In addition:  these students enjoyed their independent studies.

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Sharing the Harvest–Hingham High School Greenhouse Program Gives Back

 

Foster Elementary Students Compost

Let the students teach their parents.  We were taking a walk and I wanted to see how the composting project has developed at our local elementary school.  Parents should follow the environmental leadership of students.

Kids at Foster compost.  Although school is out because of the pandemic, there is an opportunity for all of us to facilitate composting projects and start growing vegetables in our own backyards.

The kale that students grew in the fall has weathered the winter.  Kale is hardy and when grown in composts the results are amazing.

Holly Hill Farm in Cohasset is the guiding force to these gardening projects.  By the way you can log on to their website to find out how to order local and freshly grown produce every Wednesday.

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Food Security

People talk about food security and I use to say to myself that Americans will never be interested.  Today thousands of people are waiting in line at Food Banks.

Peter Jensen, is a Peace Corp. trainer in Africa.  This is a quote that he sent along today:  “This… right now… is the time to focus on small scale, high yield, nutrition focused, intensive, organic, home gardens. Right now!”

So you are home schooling.  And what are you teaching at home?  What could you be teaching?  I believe that we can best teach children science, math and technology through horticulture.  Teach the children because this pandemic is a hard lesson.  This may not be a one time lesson.

You can grow vegetables in a container.  You can grow a Square Foot Garden on a driveway.  Read Mel Bartholomew’s book on SFG.  Sunlight is important.

Don’t complain on Facebook how the kids are driving you nuts.  Teach the children.  They will love watching things grow.  They will love it and you might learn something about yourself as well.

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Last night Mark Zuckerberg  and his wife Priscilla Chan were on CNN.  Priscilla said that Mark had just come in from gardening.  If a billionaire many times over thinks gardening is good for him and his family, it might just be a skill suited for you and your family.  Priscilla learned about gardening at Quincy High School when preparing for a State Envirothon competition.  The theme for the school’s project was: Food Security.  She and her peers made elevated raised beds for older people who could not bend over to garden. One of the places we visited in preparation for the competition was Holly Hill Farm in Cohasset, Massachusetts.  Holly Hill is a great place to purchase food but also just to visit.

 

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.

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The Organic Key

Making compost is a sustainable process.  Students at our Honduras Hope Dorm are developing organic gardens.  They make compost and are growing food to be used as a nutritional base.

Their next project will be to bring this technique to their mountain village and teach their families to grow without chemicals.  The students at the Dorm are champions.

The Smart Gardener

My neighbor Leo Gallivan has valuable experience as an environmentalist / gardener.  He and his wife Holly spend six months in Florida.  Springtime is when most people are preparing their gardens.  Not Leo.

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Leo isn’t at home in the spring and he does’t need to be.  Because as a smart gardener, he prepares the garden in the fall.  He mulches all the green material around the existing plants.  The nutrients that he uses come from the existing plants reusing the organic materials.  You can be a Smart Gardener too.

Just Grow It

One Square Foot at a Time has been designed to influence you, school children and the people of Honduras.  There are many worthy organizations that help people in developing countries to grow food that is more nutritious and provides greater quantities of vegetables and fruit.  Most of the organizations that I have heard of, try to use organic methods.  However there are many challenges in these countries and if the only solution to save a crop is pesticides, I too would use them.  It is a no brainer to use chemicals and pesticides when life depends on each harvest.

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What I have read concerning agricultural groups that go into developing countries is that they help farmers understand seed saving, using organic methods and conservation in order to increase yields.  All of that provides investments in the people and lends itself to good health.  My interest however is to teach the children.

The students served by Honduras Hope are eager and hard working.  They show their appreciation while working with us and I believe they are learning science and math as we work with them.  Some of these children have brought these techniques to their mountain villages and there is interest from those communities.  In January we will start a kitchen gardening program at our rather crude kitchen facility in the mountains where we provide nutritional and protein rich lunches for children from birth to six years old.

The Square Foot Gardening Program in Yoro is doing very well.  It is developing so well that I want to expand what we are doing.  I want to pay students a small stipend to teach young child and adults as well to use Square Foot Gardening techniques to grow things other than beans and corn.  I want to introduce kale, spinach and broccoli into their diets.  I want to provide nutritious smoothies to children that are malnourished.

In January I am bringing a gas generator to Honduras.  The people in both of the villages we serve have no electricity.  We have a community center in Plan Grande which is a wonderful facility.  With electricity from the generator we have planned movie nights.  Many students have never seen a movie and they don’t have televisions.  Students who want to attend Friday night movies can earn admission to the movie by bringing a five gallon bucket of compostable materials to the new composting bin at the primary school.  With the contribution to the composting idea they will earn a ticket to the Friday night movie.  It is proposed that young women from our Girl’s Empowerment Program will collect tickets.  Others can watch movies on Friday evenings by purchasing tickets.

Compost of course is the key to successful Square Foot Gardening.  There are plenty of green compostables and horse manure on the reservations. All of the kids use machetes.

This is the time of the year when everyone is asking you for money.  Worry not, I will find the money eventually.  However if you would like to become a part of an exciting venture, this might be something that you will want to become a part of.  Should you decide to contribute be sure to earmark your gift to Square Foot Gardening.

Send to:  Honduras Hope

P.O. Box 60

Franconia, N.H. 03580

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