Garden Club – Harvest Celebration

by Angela Stanford

Garden Club Week 5 – Eating the Fruits of Our Labor

Today was the last session of Sycamore’s Spring Garden Club.   After the kids finished eating their lunches and fed their scraps to the red wigglers,  we headed over to check on the progress of our tomatoes and herbs.  Lo and behold, we found several blossoms replaced with little green tomatoes.  How exciting!

Fruits of our labor – first tomato

Since these little green tomatoes will take another month or two to produce enough fruit to make pizza and salad for 25 hungry fourth graders, (and we will be well into summer break by then) we supplemented the basil and bought some organic tomatoes to top the cheese pizza they enjoyed.  They also enjoyed eating “pizza poppers” by wrapping the chopped tomatoes with a basil leaf and popping into into their mouths.  Many kids were pleasantly surprised how delicious this simple little snack can be.  (Another version includes wrapping up a bit of fresh mozzarella and a cherry tomato with a basil leaf.)  Mmmmm!

two thumbs up for pizza made with garden fresh tomatoes and basil

While the kids were eating, we brainstormed other ways the kids could make pizza with basil and tomatoes at home.  For example, they could toast an english muffin, pita bread or piece of naan, spread pizza sauce on top and then top it with chopped tomatoes, shredded basil leaves and shredded mozzarella or parmesan cheese and then pop it in the toaster oven or under the broiler (with help from a grown up, of course) and yum.  It’s pizza time!

Here is another quick and easy way to enjoy eating fresh garden produce on your pizza.

Arugula & Cherry Tomato Pizza with Feta Cheese

Pre-baked pizza crust or whole grain tortillas or Naan

olive oil

parmesan cheese

3 cups arugula –coarsely chopped from your garden

15-20 cherry tomatoes – halved from your garden

2 tsp lemon juice, fresh

2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil

pinch of kosher salt

fresh ground black pepper to taste

Optional toppings:  pine nuts, olives, feta cheese, chopped fresh basil or other herbs from your garden

-Brush pre-paked pizza crust/tortilla/naan with olive oil.  Warm in oven or toaster oven according to package directions or 5-7 minutes depending on how crisp you want your crust.

-Cover with Parmesan cheese. Bake for 2 minutes until cheese is lightly brown.

-While cheese is melting, toss arugula, tomatoes, lemon juice, olive oil and optional toppings together.

-Gently cover pizza with topping while crust is still warm.

-Serves 4 as a light lunch.  Enjoy!

4rth grade gardeners with Angela Stanford and Kim Lawrence enjoying their garden

A big shout out to Mr. Lawrence, Sycamore’s Science Specialist and my partner with this project to help kids learn about where there food comes from and how the choices they make about food affect their health and the health of the environment.

See you next session  Until then….

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Garden Club Visits Backyard and Patio Garden

Week 4 – Backyard Garden Tour

This week during our lunchtime garden club, the 4th grade gardeners learned what food and paper items are great for composting.   Upon finishing their lunch, the kids fed their lunch scraps to red wiggler worms in our Worm Cafe outside the science lab and then took a field trip to my backyard garden to explore what is “springing up.”

Mrs. Lawrence & 4rth grade gardeners feed worms in worm cafe

As we entered the garden, I told the kids they were entering a “nursery” where many baby plants are growing and over the next 2-3 months will grow and yield a bountiful amount of fruits and vegetables bursting with color.    As we walked through the strawberry patch, we talked about how strawberries and the sugar snap peas growing next to them are already producing food in early Spring while the mung beans now showing their leaves will soon follow and the blueberries are not far behind them.

Angela explains how you can grow many foods in small spaces in your back yard, or in containers on your patio

As we passed the herbs in pots and the green tomato plants in their Earthboxes starting to climb their trelaces,  we talked about how every blossom now appearing will soon be replaced with a colorful tomato ripe for eating in a couple of months.

smelling fragrant lemon blossoms

The kids also got to smell the fragrant blossoms on the meyer lemon tree that will drop and turn into green bulbs that in early March turn into yellow producing the most delicious fruit!

Angela demos composting kitchen scraps into the Tumbleweed composter

Lastly, we visited the compost bin and loaded up my Tumbleweed compost bin with food scraps form my kitchen and gave it a spin!  Mrs. Lawrence and I then explained the differences between how the composter breaks down food by incorporating oxygen with the spinning to help the microbes break down the scraps and turn them into compost, where the worms in the Worm Cafe eat the food scraps and turn it into worm castings which also make excellent compost!

See you next week!