This fall, our after school garden club was populated with young, eager minds and hands. Right away they let us know they were makers! One of our students brought a garden crafts book to the first meeting by the cob oven, and it ignited them! In the weeks that followed we opened garden club with a check in, snack, and a craft. We collected seeds and decorated the envelopes, made sculptures from our veggies and herbs, painted terra cotta pots and pumpkins,
made salt dough decorations with foraged materials, and more!
How rewarding it is to observe the natural learning process of small hands separating seeds from chaff, or identifying lemon balm, or celebrating with whoops and dancing at small kale plants growing at last! We spent time each Monday walking through our garden plots and greenhouse making observations, learning the proper way to harvest many different herbs and vegetables, and how to care for the soil that sustains their cherished plants. The first foray was a chorus of “oh my!” “Can I pick this for my mom?” as they realized what can lie innocuous in a green leafy landscape. They especially loved pinching off kale and chard leaves, and gathering our unofficial official school herb, tulsi. They loved eating right off the plants, though a few didn’t get the note that eggplant isn’t so good raw, and we learned a little about composting!
We are winding down from the activities of the fall garden, wintering garden plots and nurturing the seeds of stewardship within.
As always, there are many garden projects needing volunteers, please contact Carrie firstname.lastname@example.org Chelsea email@example.com if you have the hands and heart to help our gardens grow!
Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace.
What an amazing start week we had!! I have heard from so many that it was one of the busiest weeks of their lives – I agree. I also just wish that all those busy could have been in the gardening classes on Wednesday to have a moment, time of joy and slowing down and though super busy just enjoying the joy of gardening with these kids like I did. Wednesday morning started off with a bang with the 4/5 market. Those kids had so much fun selling their bracelets along with the crafty and culinary creations from the garden. There were and are: dehydrated onions, tomatoes, peppers and eggplants among other things harvested from the Odyssey garden to be bought. Please know that on Wednesday mornings, these are for sale and go straight to the 4/5 classroom fund!
After market, on that very rainy day, the 4/5 came to the greenhouse and aquaponics room and thrived from the seed plantings they fulfilled. They planted so much kale, it is going to be blessed and delicious and harvested and community bound. Weather permitting, this week we are going to build cold frames for the tiny kale out in the garden. If anyone wants to join or donate tarps and dirt and steel or wood, that would be most excellent! The 2/3 class seemed to enjoy just as much planting broccoli seed and repotting all of the carnivorous plants they had planted last fall. They were so interested and careful with all plantings. The joy penetrated!!
In both classes we talked about the seed saving they could to do contribute, simply from their homes and lunches. We had great conversations about the aquaponics system and avocado growing. When asked what they most wanted to do this year, one 4/5 responded: “PICKLES!” We then talked about how pickles come to be and the fact that we absolutely can grow cucumbers and Cat offered to teach us all how to pickle!
Being around children and observing their zest and love for gardening is truly heart filling. There was so much enthusiasm and interest, such thankfulness for these children and their zest and interest for the growing world. I overheard a 2/3 grader a couple of times mentioning to his classmates how he “felt like the luckiest kid to be here! This school and gardening is the best!” Really Odyssey folks, we are so lucky!
If there are any interested parents who want to be involved in the gardening program, please do get in touch with me, Carriejacksonchisholm@gmail.com or Chelsea Potter firstname.lastname@example.org
Gardeners must dance with feedback, play with results, turn as they learn.
Learning to think as a gardener is inseparable from the acts of gardening.
Learning how to garden is learning how to slow down.
Wise is the person whose heart and mind listen to what Nature says.
Time will tell, but we often fail to listen.
Michael P. Garofal
When it comes to education we, as a community, are so very excited to get every single soul involved! Whether you are a sweet soul who is just reading this, one who has noticed the beautiful roses and iris and milkweed while driving up to drop your precious one off, one who has observed the old growth trees keeping watch over your babe while entrusted to the school, one who walks outside and can’t help but grab a node to sniff, one who likes to get down in the dirt and witness the plentiful worms in the amazing soil that surrounds our school, a parent who is brand new to the school and wonders about the greenhouse on the first tour, one who has gardened before and has so much to offer and might wonder where to begin, one who (thinks! He/she) has no clue about how to grow and or the benefits of teaching our babes the importance of knowing how grow our own food and share with other, this is your place!! This is your community, your plant space, your way to explore with your Odyssey child who is actively involved and growing.
So many people have mentioned to me that they love to garden but “aren’t really good at it.” NO SUCH THING! In the garden, there is nothing perfect! That, to me, is the best thing. In the aquaponics lab, there are guidelines to follow so that the fish may live as well as the plants but these guidelines are easily learned.
Gardening is all about learning, it is about going for it, experimentation, it is art in its best form, science based, love shaped.
This past year has been all about the love of watching growth, heartache and evolved learning of those who did not live, wonder and amazement of being able to shelter those green lives who were once sick back to health.
Passionately, we made seed bombs with the seeds from the plentiful native plants surrounding the school (oh what a fun mess we made, squishing with toes and hands and so sorry to beautiful Samata and Ellen and Andy and Jim!)
Exploration of carnivorous plants was so much fun! Robin’s class is amazing and had more information for MY learning than could ever be found in a library.
We released ladybugs with preschool, which was so magical for them in the moment. Sadly, most passed from the heat of the greenhouse, and I do not tell this lightly, it is sad, but we did learn so much.
A living cave was made. How fragile seeming those secretly strong willow trees are!
The classes learned about how invasive ivy is, may they always pull from the bottom and watch out for that poison ivy! They learned more about beautiful compost brown coffee earth than they ever wanted to but they diligently shoveled and transported to the abundant gardens surrounding the school.
Plentiful milkweed has been planted all about the school for the monarch population.
They tended to the fish in the aquaponics, cleaned out the media from the aquaponic beds, watered, fed, tended and loved. It was a great year of survival for so many.
Experimentation with the most important learning. Learning to fail. Learning to be in the dirt. Learning to be in the moment of tending the fragile life giving green.
We do hope you will join us. There is no perfect, just love!
By Carrie Chisholm
We have an incredible committee of parents, headed by Board of Trustee, Chelsea Potter, who are working on preparing this page to keep our community current on Garden events, news, and opportunities.