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November Garden Beat

As the squirrels complete their final hoard reflex, the garlic begins to crown its shoots, while the revered camas root goes into subterranean slumber, the smells of hard wood ash begin to waft in the air while the students pick their teeth of chocolate all the while picking their nails of dirt from their hands-on tasks in the edible garden - it is, as it's been every year, Fall! Well…late fall.

It’s been nearly three months with your children and although a quarter of my appendages are out of order, things in the garden are flourishing!

I spoke to my Dad recently (a former Montessori school teacher) who mentioned how much of an impact his students had on him on a daily basis. Since being unable to tend to larger tasks, the students have been able to unyieldingly rise to the challenge and care for the garden on a macro-scale as if their own - its warmed my heart and, I believe, fed the fire in theirs’.

It’s amazing what a village this has become.

Thank you to everyone who bought tickets, played instruments, and came to the Taste of Thanksgiving event last week. A special thanks goes to Whole Foods too. We raised $2,490 for the Sabin garden education fund! We will complete the ADA accessible pathways, potentially install living willow structures, potentially a new greenhouse, seeds and much, much more!

With the recent donation from Thicket, the small boutique nursery off Alberta, of blueberries, currants, wild flowers, lavender - are now in the ground, watered and mulched, or, as the students know it as, a winter blanket. This blanket comes from the continually utilized impromptu-play-mound of cedar woodchips that sit under the canopy of the oak trees. Mrs. McKinney’s class of 28 took to shovels, hard rakes and wheelbarrows for our newly arrived plants - essentially completing a day’s worth of landscaping in 23 minutes.

Additionally, the central area of the garden received some love with more plants from thicket. Ms. Johnston’s 4th & 5th grade planted a medicinal garden and learned the importance of not only growing food but growing medicine. Devil’s club, burdock, lavender, rosemary, sage, thyme, St. John’s wart, Chinese chrysanthemum, and others with elderberry at the center.

The Asian pear is nearly in full hibernation but the lemon balm continues to be the plant of choice for the students. As someone who has had to deal with it’s voracious growing patterns and has felt complete disdain towards the sentient being, I’ve actually grown to appreciate it. I learned that lemon balm has the healing qualities stress relief and ease of concentration- so…eat on kiddos! Perhaps we’ll harvest the rest and make a woman’s blend with the raspberry leaves and ginko.

The harvest / planting party we had one week after our last PTA (Thank you to all of you who were able to join!) was such an incredible success. I think the count at critical mass was around 70-100 students, faculty and parents. With the postive leadership of Carol Senna and her super-human planting powers, the folks involved in the event were able to find homes for hundreds of native plants, most of which are the water-loving beings designated to the rain gardens - sedges, grasses, and ground cover…oh my.

Ms. Shaw’s class and others took to adventure when they finally ate some acorn cake! It had about the same response as if you asked a child how their school day was: “meh”. You win some you loose some. On the up swing, Ms. Mode, Ms. Anderson and Mrs. Cooper’s kinder all ate sweet roasted chestnuts in class - that was more of a “mmmm, more please.” The kinders have also been learning of different leaves, counting rings on the sawed cedar stumps and we’ve been literally running around leaf storms - also going on exploratory missions around the property finding odd bits of interestingness.

All grades have been admiring the growth from the garden, eating fava bean leafs (fava bean pesto, anyone?), kale, mustard greens and worms…yes, worms. We’ve learned about root structures and massaging them during transplanting, learned the art of tool maintenance, and some of the 4th grade worked on a passive solar design for a potential green house.

The counselor block is still being refined and we’re really close!

A grant for seeds has just been sent in.

Heather and our AmeriCorps person, Katie, have been gearing to set-up a volunteer base to get more parent volunteers to get teacher’s and kids in the garden! Sign up for her, if you can.

If anyone knows a builder, we are in need of a small and simple green house adjacent to the wood shed. Starting seeds, learning about heat retention / growth and planting is pivotal. Please be in touch if you could help.

The compost bin is ready for action and we will now ascend the road towards soli-making.

Mathematical problems, biological differences, chemical compounds, physical structures, geographic / bio-regional discussions, native historical stories, song, photosynthetic understanding, play and pure jokin’ around have all been woven into the basket of the learning syllabus in the edible garden.

Thank you for your time and thank you this work.

Here’s to an abundant December!


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