8 weeks ago we sowed our cherry tomato seeds, and already they are outgrowing their homes! Today we transplanted them from small six-packs into 4" pots and made some stakes from our bamboo plant to hold them in place. We're so excited to see how they grow now that they have more room and more support!
We noticed some curling leaves on our bachelor button seedlings, and upon close inspection recognized the issue: aphids! These tiny insects love to suck out the juices of healthy leaves but in the process they damage our plants. We mixed a small bit of mild dish detergent with water in our spray bottles and coated the leaves, hoping to smother the aphids. We also took a look at these creatures in our science microscope!
Part of being a good gardener is learning to be a careful observer of the life cycle of plants. A fun and artistic way to do this is to carefully sketch plants. Here are some of our student gardeners' sketches of their two-week-old seedlings.
It's always an exciting day when we move our little seedlings from their seed starting mix into larger containers filled with nutrient-rich soil. This is delicate work but if done properly will bring our seedlings to the "next level," one their way to "real life" in the garden in a few more weeks.
We aren't wasting anytime getting our seeds germinating this spring! Our goal is to have plenty of vegetables and flowers to eat, sell, take home, or give away before the end of the school year. Special thanks to Peaceful Valley Farm and Garden for donating many of the seeds we are planting! They've always been very helpful and have the best how-to videos on organic gardening in California. Check them out online!
We heard our neighbors at Gateway Middle School needed some help getting their garden cleaned and ready for spring. We took a walk over with our tools and expertise and helped them weed and clean, and we also helped them plant a bunch of seeds to start indoors. It was a special trip, since many of our students went to Gateway Middle School! We can't wait to be back!
We're back from winter break and excited to start our spring plantings in the garden! We need to work quickly to be able to have a good harvest before the school year ends. This week we are propagating cuttings from geraniums and lavender. It's amazing that we can grow brand new plants from a single parent plant, without having to worry about seeds. We hope to have these ready to take home and plant in our own gardens in a couple of months.
Gardening students installed over 30 new plants and a decorative fence to help beautify Gateway's front entrance area. The plants were provided at a discounted rate from Pacific Nurseries (thank you!) and originally were centerpieces at our school's annual luncheon fundraiser. They'll now provide beauty, pollination, and carbon sequestration for years to come!
We're happy to announce the completion of another exciting feature in our ever-evolving garden: the Performance Stage!
This 12x12 redwood deck was constructed with the help of 9th grader Sara Otgonbaatar’s father, recent Gateway alum Ali Almari ’18, and our Gardening class. It was funded by a grant from Lowe’s. It’s perfectly level with the sea (actually a 1/2% slope for water drainage) and solid as Yosemite granite. Check out Mr. Becker's Art 2 class testing it out in the photo below!
The vision here is to host outdoor performances featuring our students, our staff, and the greater community, during lunch, after school, and any time!
Initial ideas include:
Hip hop artists
Let us know if you have any ideas for , let’s collaborate!
We use Intergrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies in our garden. This means using organic pesticides only as a last resort. Our cages are a great example. We built these after we noticed how much of our newly transplanted seedlings were being eaten by sparrows and even mice (about 100 percent!). These cages are designed the keep the birds and rodents from gnawing our plants into oblivion, without using any poisons or other tactics harmful to the wildlife or the soil. Learn more about IPM here.