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You’ve Got Kale! 

Often, in seemingly season-less Southern California, it can be easy to overlook the fact that different types of fruits and vegetables thrive during different seasons. Even in our perpetually moderate climate, the concept of seasonality is important to keep in mind when it comes to planning your garden. Here at the 24th Street Elementary School when we ask our students, “What’s growing in our winter garden right now?” they unequivocally respond, “KALE!” and frequently can even identify the varieties that we have:

KALE! What is it good for? Absolutely everything!

In cooking class, the kids have been gathering around a blender to make their now famous Superfood Smoothie. Earlier this month, Chef Chris taught the 3rd graders how to write a recipe; a corollary to their science class curriculum on mixtures. Chef Chris had the students write down each ingredient and its amount and draw a picture of what should be done to it before entering the blender.

Superfood Smoothie
2 leaves kale
1 banana
1 tbsp ground flax seed
1 cup berries (in this case, blueberries)
1 cup rice or almond milk

Kale, we learned, is one of the best foods for you, with more nutrients per calorie than most other foods. Once we added all the ingredients, the kids took turns blending using our exciting environmentally friendly bike blender. This interactive blender is a favorite among the kids, who love using their own energy to blend their smoothies. Each student took a turn as the others cheered them on: “Go Jamie, go Jamie, GO JAMIE!”

After the blending was done, the kids were full of smoothie and questions! “Where can I get kale?” was a common one, so we talked about the leafy greens section of farmers markets and supermarkets. When another student pointed out that they didn’t sell kale where he shopped, we talked about how other kinds of leafy green vegetables like spinach or chard could be a healthy substitute. “I’m going to tell my mom to make this for me at home!” exclaimed one student, while another wrote “I <3 Kale” in her notebook. Even one student, who didn’t like the smoothie, was convinced after trying a piece of raw kale…and then another, and another. Suddenly a huge group of children gathered, asking to try the raw kale, and they loved it! Whether it’s in a smoothie, a salad, or baked into chips with our solar oven, the kids are loving the kale from our wintry garden, and it loves them.


Citrus Beauty Pageant

"I believe that my fruit should be crowned 1st place in the Citrus Beauty Pageant because it's the complete package! It's beautifully round and orange with a shockingly crimson inside! My fruit is sweeter than all its cousins, and if you juice it and serve it to your friends it will make any party a hit! If you cut it up and put it in a salad, you will be delighted as the juices dress your leaves. Finally, just like all its cousins, it has enough vitamins and minerals inside its peal to keep you strong and healthy! Vote for the Blood Orange, for 1st place in the Citrus Beauty Pageant!!"

This month in cooking class, our third graders are competing in a Citrus Beauty Pageant. The students work together in teams, trying to sell their story. Writing a persuasive article, they explain why their kumquat, grapefruit, lemon or blood orange is the most beautiful, tasty and healthy treat.

Citrus Pageant

Once the winning team is crowned, they squeeze all the juice from their fruit and have a toast to how much they love this winter treat!


Make Seed Bombs, Not War!

Even when classes are not in session, there is always something in the making here at the 24th Street Garden. Weeding, planning, prepping, planting, these tasks are just a few of many that must be accomplished to maintain the garden and to run our interactive classes. With our amazing and tireless group of volunteers, we have been able to accomplish so much at the garden!

Last week, we all experimented with a new project: Seed Bombs. We wanted to create an activity that would bring the garden to the students, and seed bombs do just this. This activity also teaches our students about seed identification and seed dispersal. With these seed bombs in hand, students are armed with the power to transform the world around them by beautifying vacant plots of land on the schoolyard, while taking ownership and pride in their community. 

Rolling the adobe clay, dirt, and seeds together in the palm of our hands, we felt like revolutionaries making these seed bombs of peace and propagation.  You can join in on the fight too! Make your own by following the recipe below or come make some with our students at our Garden Workday THIS Saturday, February 11th, 2012!

Here’s the seed bomb recipe:

5 parts dry red clay

3 parts dry organic compost

1 part seed (the smaller the seed the better)

1 – 2 parts water

Step one: measure out three parts of dry compost or soil. This provides a growing medium for your seeds.

Step two: measure out five parts of dry powdered clay. Once mixed with water, the clay will hold the seed balls together. I use Red Art clay, which I get from a pottery supply store. It’s cheap, food safe, and feels great to work with.

Step three: Add one part seed.

Step four: Roll the seed ball mix into balls 1-2 in. (2.5-5cm) in diameter. Be prepared to get messy!

Step five: Set aside to dry on wax paper for a few days before storing or using.


Garden Guess Who

Winter in Los Angeles can be a confusing time since we aren’t wearing down coats or out building snowmen. So how do we know that it’s winter when the outdoor thermometer reads 70? Luckily for us we can look to the garden for clues with a little game we like to call, Garden Guess Who.

Click to read more ...


Something New at 24th Street

It's a beautiful beginning to another lovely year at 24th Street! And we are just so exited to get this new season started!!

We are ready for a new season of planting, growing, playing and unlocking the magic that lives all around us in the garden.

Although a winter garden often leaves a visitor wanting, at 24th Street we are filled with hopes and wishes for the months to come!!

So drop by and visit one of our cooking or gardening classes or send us your wishes for the new season. Either way, have a happy, healthy and strong New Year!!