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Sushi in the Garden!!

When we think of garden fresh food, we often envision over-flowing baskets of ripe tomatoes, and tender greens, freshly harvested and ready to be made into a healthy salad.  So, when Chef Lovely let the classes know they would be preparing sushi; our students were surprised and excited!  

First, Chef Lovely led the students through the garden to harvest lettuce and mint, all while teaching the students what it means to harvest and how to tell when the food is ready, then it was time to roll! The students wrapped the sushi with Nori seaweed and inside the rolls they used brown rice, red bell peppers, cucumber, avocado, and the mint, and lettuce harvested just moments earlier (talk about fresh!)  As the students were intently focused on their sushi rolling skills, it was most exciting to hear them exclaim that brown rice is healthier than white rice, and that they know how to make the healthy choice.

Once the sushi was prepared the students were able to show off their very impressive chop sticks skills.  A wonderful calm fell over the dining tables while the students were happily enjoying their sushi, their mouths too full to talk. It was a truly beautiful afternoon in the garden classroom. Seeing the students so engaged, a Chinese Proverb comes to mind “Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.”


Cooking with Nasturtium

In our garden classroom, we are always looking for ways to minimize waste and recycle resources back into the garden. For example, if our cooking class has food scraps left over, our way of recycling them is to feed them to the worms to turn into rich compost for our garden beds. But what if we don't have worms at home? Are there recipes we can cook that utilize the entire ingredient and don't leave scraps? Why, yes!

Nasturtiums are one of our favorite things growing in the garden! They don't need much attention to thrive and yet they still provide the garden with vibrant reds, oranges, yellows and greens. In addition to being beautiful, both nasturtium flowers AND leaves are edible! You can add the nasturtium's peppery flavor to many things, but one of the tastiest ways to eat nasturtiums is in pesto! This pesto can be a spread in sandwiches, used as a sauce for your pasta, a marinade on chicken or fish, or a fun addition to your breakfast eggs!
 Try to pick the smaller, dark green leaves for this as they have the biggest peppery flavor.
Nasturtium Pesto
2 cups packed nasturtium leaves, plus a handful of nasturtium flowers
1-2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup walnuts
juice of 1/2 large lemon
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Put everything but the salt and pepper into a food processor and mix until smooth.  Add salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!
**Note: You can freeze this pesto for future use...that is if you have any leftover



How do we know our students love our recipes?

Well, that's simple, it's because they tell us they do! Chef Lovely was teaching Ms. Menendez's first graders how to make guacamole with roasted vegetables, when she saw one of the students taking notes on a scratch paper. When she went over to find out what was going on, the student told her he was writing the recipe down because he loved it so much and wanted to make it at home with his mom!

Try our recipe and tell us what you think!

Roasted Guacamole


2 avocados, small dice
1 small tomato, small dice
1/2 roasted bell pepper, small dice
2 cloves roasted garlic, minced
1/2 chipotle pepper, minced
lime juice, salt, and pepper to taste

Cooking Method

1. Mash avocados in a bowl with some lime juice

2. Chop all ingredients and stir into the avocados

3. Season with salt, pepper and a touch more lime juice

4. Serve with whole wheat pita chips and enjoy!!


Learning from the ground up!

Decomposers, compost, worms, OH MY!  Fresh from our Vermiculture Bin to your computer screen, we bring you news of our hardest workers in the garden: the Red Wiggler Worms. 

These worms eat all the food scraps from our cooking classes and turn them into rich, beautiful, and nutritious soil!  These red worms are known as Natures Wonder Worker because they eat their body weight in compost almost daily!  Without them, all our food waste would go straight to the landfill and all those nutrients would be lost. 

So in honor of our Red Wiggler Worms’ dedication to the garden, we celebrated a worm appreciation month full of compost sorting races, worm biographies, even taking turns to feed the worms by hand!  The students were not afraid of getting their hands dirty when inspecting the “cool” and “cute” worms in our compost bin.  Students learned the importance of giving the worms a well balanced diet of plants, sticks, food scraps, and paper.  They also learned the valuable role compost plays in putting nutrients back into the soil in our raised beds. There is so much to learn and discover in the ground under our feet!  With the help of decomposers like our worm and Rollie Pollie friends, we are able to grow beautiful vegetables to eat in our cooking classes. 

Let’s give three cheers for the bugs under our feet who truly dedicate their lives to improve the world around them!!


Shoo (White)Fly, Don't Bother Me. 

The whitefly has come for a visit and as much as we welcome all living creatures into the garden, this little creature has overstayed its welcome. 

Whitefly, it's your time to skeedaddle.

Whiteflies are what some may call a "pest". And they are! They love to nest in all the nooks and crannies of our beloved Kale. They're actually starting to nest in all of our brassicas! The cauliflower leaves have a silvery powder on them, the brocolli heads are spotted. It's not looking pretty. 

Whiteflies have this way of sucking the life out of your plant and they tend to gross the kids out when we're cooking. Bugs are definitely not in our recipes! In small doses, the whitefly isn't that detrimental to the plant but when they take over, they take over. 

The technical name for these pesky pests is Cabbage Whitefly, Aleyrodes Brassier. Pretty, no? These small white-winged insects live on the underside of leaves, and fly up in clouds when disturbed. Adult whiteflies are structurally similar in appearance to aphids, but are covered in mealy grey hairs and have white wings.

The young whitefly, known as 'scales', stay on the leaves. The flies themselves don't cause severe damage, but the sticky honeydew or sugary excretions they produce can disfigure the plants. This is not so much to do with the honeydew itself but the sooty or black molds which grow on the honeydew. The sooty molds will spoil flower buds, e.g. on Brussels sprouts, and will prevent leaves from photosynthesizing. We certainly don't want that, do we?

Don't fret, we're fighting this battle and doing it au natural (aka: the natural way!) Say goodbye to the fly! 

We've come up with a little solution and a riddle!

What do vampires and whiteflies have in common?


Yeah, you got it. Garlic!! They despise garlic. It's like the relationship Superman has with Kryptonite. When they get together, it's not a pretty sight. But sometimes, that's how it has to be. Do we want whiteflies to be enjoying our kale or do we want the kids at 24th Street Elementary enjoying it? Enough said, right? 

We've been testing our simple recipe out and are looking forward to the results. Beautiful, whitefly free kale! 

Try it yourself and see how it goes.  

Garlic Foliar Spray:


 1 head of garlic

1 bunch of green onions

Hot water 


Chop up garlic and green onions.

Steep in hot water.

Strain into a spray bottle.

Spritz your plants, don't forget the underside of the leaves!

Prepare to smell for the rest of the day.