Friday, August 18, 2017

Eat a Rainbow for Healthy Fun

Here are some healthy eating ideas for back to school. Young gardeners can also "cook"! You can use the book "Planting a Rainbow" by Lois Ehlert.

We do Eating a Rainbow lessons with 2nd graders at Marquez. Kids can grow parts of the rainbow or not. You can draw a rainbow and have the kids match the fruits or veggies to the section on the rainbow.  They can sort the food or put them on toothpicks and skewers.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Books About Gardening for Kids

Here are some books that you and your kids might enjoy:
- Anywhere Farm
- The Tiny Seed
- Planting a Rainbow
- Growing Vegetable Soup
- The Ugly Vegetables
- Mrs. Spitzer's Garden
- Oh can you seed?
- Blue Potatoes, Orange Tomatoes
- The Vegetables We Eat
- Tops and Bottoms
- Gus Was a Friendly Ghost (mentions nasturtium seeds)
- The Story of Chester the Monarch Caterpillar/Larva
- The Secret Life of Hummingbirds
- Face to Face with Caterpillars
- Monarch and Milkweed
- Kids Can Compost
- Composting

For the youngest children:
- The Little Gardener

For older kids:
- The Secret Garden (my favorite book as a kid)

Gardening Activity Books
- The Book of Gardening Projects for Kids

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Summer Gardening Workshop for Kids at the Palisades Branch Library

UCCE Master Gardener and Marquez School garden teacher Marie Steckmest will work with children on Saturday, July 15 from 10:30 am to noon. Children ages preschool to 6th grade are welcome.

There will be three stations of activities including planting, arts and crafts and sampling of veggies and fruits.

Preschool activity includes a brief story time.

Children grades 3-5 who wish a more in depth study of gardening may sign up for the Junior Master Gardener program.  A sample booklet will be available at the workshop.

RSVPs to are appreciated.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Planting a Salad Bowl Garden

Now is a great time to plant seeds of vegetables that like growing in the cooler seasons. These include lettuce, kale, arugula, spinach, radish, carrots, beets, broccoli, cabbage, onions and garlic. You can also plant herbs such as parsley and chives.

You may wish to plant a theme garden, such as a "salad bowl garden". That could include lettuce, arugula, radishes, chives and parsley. This could be planted in a pot so you don't even need to have a garden!

If you're planting seeds, remember that it'll take a while before you can eat from your garden.  I plant Renee's Garden "Baby Mesclun Cut and Come Again". It's a seed mixture of various kinds of lettuce. Here is a video that describes planting the lettuce seeds:

Garden Workshop at Palisades Library

Last Saturday we held a garden workshop for children at the library. Fifteen kids from age 3 to 16 attended along with their parents. The parents got two handouts: a list of what to plant in August and September from the Master Gardeners and a back to school newsletter from Jessica Siegel of Gelson's.

Part One. After asking the attendees about their favorite vegetables we introduced the concept of warm season and cool season vegetables and showed examples. We highlighted tomatoes and zucchini as examples of warm season vegetables. Lettuce, kale, broccoli, carrots and sugar snap peas were the cool season vegetables which we displayed. After this part of the program, children sampled tomatoes, broccoli and sugar snap peas.

Part Two. The children planted seeds of cool season vegetables in biodegradable pots. They first filled a pot with seedling mix and then chose seeds to plant which included carrots, kale, arugula, broccoli, lettuce and sugar snap peas. They then misted the pot with water. They were to soak the pot in water and then keep the soil moist once they got home.

Part Three. Each child chose either a kale seedling or a sugar snap pea seedling to take home and plant.

Thanks to Amalia, Karen and Ella for volunteering to assist in the workshop.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Nasturtiums-Growing Them and Eating Them

Growing Nasturtiums

Nasturtiums are one of the easiest edible flowers to grow either in pots or in the ground. They are colorful and grow in a variety of soils. They seem to like the dry clay in my yard.  You can directly sow them in the ground or soak them in warm water overnight to help them germinate. You might do an experiment and plant the seeds both ways to see which germinate faster. Nasturtiums like to dry out between waterings. Nasturtiums attract hummingbirds.

Saving Nasturtium Seeds

You can easily save the nasturtium seeds for next year. When the plant is finished blooming, collect the seeds, dry them and place in a paper bag. Plant them next season.  You can also leave them in the ground and cover them with a bit of soil and see what happens. This is how I let mine "self-seed".

Cooking with Nasturtiums

You can tear the petals and add them to a salad or use the whole flower as garnish. In addition you can make pesto from nasturtiums. The recipe follows here:

Nasturtium Pesto

2 c. nasturtium leaves and a handful of nasturtium flowers
1-2 cloves garlic
1/2 c. walnuts
juice of 1/2 large lemon
3/4 c. olive oil
salt and pepper

Put everything but the salt and pepper into a food processor and mix until smooth.  Add a little salt and pepper at the end if you wish. Then eat!

Note: you might want to try this with pine nuts as well.

Serve the pesto with pasta, on a slice of baguette or on a carrot!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Spring Garden Workshop May 17

Palisades kids are invited to the spring garden workshop given by Palisades Cares on Saturday, May 17 from 10:30 am to noon on the patio of the Palisades Branch Library at 861 Alma Real Drive.

What's happening that day:
- Learn how to start seeds in reusable pots.
- Learn about warm season vegetables.
- Get a list of books and other resources about gardening. Listen to or read books about growing vegetables.
- Grades 2 and up can learn about the Junior Master Gardener program.
- Learn about composting.  

RSVP's aren't necessary but welcome. Questions can be emailed to