Miles Flansburg wrote: A while back, in another thread ,another member, Theresa McCuaig posted this ...
Miles Flansburg wrote:"How about adapting the Outdoor Classrooms curriculum by Carolyn Nuttall and Janet Millington, starting with a pizza garden? See www.outdoorclassrooms.com.au
PDF ISBN 9781856231145 (about $25 at various resellers)"
Miles Flansburg wrote: You might also get a mushroom growing kit from fungi perfecti.
John Elliott wrote:It's springtime! Show the kids how plants can root from cuttings. Willow, grapes, figs, these are all trees that can root quickly from cuttings once the weather warms up. And it's almost as easy to take 30 cuttings as it is 3 cuttings. So each kid in the class can take a rooted cutting home to plant. And care for. And get interested in. Figs can even bear small fruits the same year as the cutting was taken.
Zach Hurley wrote:
I have 120 kids that I teach. That is both a bad thing (things can get expensive) and a good thing (more people to impact). How would you go about doing things from cuttings? Do you know of any free resources that I could learn from? I'm a noob at planting stuff and tend to over-think a lot of it. So a one-stop resource that explains it to me like I'm five would be great!
John Elliott wrote:Where in South Georgia? I might be inclined to come down and help out. This week all my willow cuttings are leafing out, with a few precocious ones already forming catkins. My plum cuttings are just starting to awaken. It will probably be another month or so for the figs and grapes to leaf out. All my tomatoes from last year got killed in the January freeze; the greenhouse unfortunately was not up to that brutal blast. But I have new seedlings started and in another month I will be ready to do some serious tomato propagating.
That's something that the kids can learn. Take a tomato cutting home and care for it over the summer. Either in the ground in a garden, or if they don't have space, in a pot on the doorstep. Plus they will learn that tomatoes actually have flavor, something that is missing in most supermarket and fast food tomatoes.
Bill McGee wrote:I agree- decentralize. Are the families at home doing any gardening, growing, composting, natural building, solar, etc. Survey the parents and see if simple observational studies can be done, and get their permission and support.
Paul Cereghino wrote:Hey Zach. My best ideas about integration in schools around gardens and design are written down here...
...I'd suggest to take a big breath, and start thinking about the 14-15 school year, and how the annual school cycle synchronizes with the cycle of the year. Schools are actually in a powerful position to transform landscapes because your school year is strongly aligned with perennial plant propagation and installation.
Permaculture is just the logical extension of ecological theory to human behavior. You don't need to teach permaculture--you just need to teach ecology as if it really matters how we sustain ourselves and the life of the earth.
Paul Cereghino wrote:And absolutely start building community... ... Parents can provide skilled labor (and even heavy equipment) depending on you community. Universities, nearby public lands, garden clubs, local nurseries, they are all part of the design. You need to place and position the different people and resources around you in a relationship so that they successfully capture energy and create beneficial infrastructure and relationships. Its just permaculture with people--if you find that you are doing all the work and burning out, slow down and observe the system.
Zach Hurley wrote:
I am in Valdosta. I know that's kinda a long drive.
What would be the best way to go about getting the kids some tomato plants to grow?
Onions and garlic are members of the Allium family and are grown from the tropics to the sub-arctic. They are used in cuisine all over the world to add flavor, in both raw and cooked forms.
While onion plants flower and set seed, there is another way to propagate onions that will make sure you never run out. If you cut up an onion in just the right way, you can replant a piece of it and it will regenerate so that a few months later, you have another onion.
In order to do this, we need to understand how the onion grows. If you look at the bottom of an onion, you will see some wispy dried-out roots and a rough area about the size of a small coin. This is the basal plate, which is the place where growth takes place. If you are careful about cutting your onion so that you save the basal plate along with the developing buds and leaves directly above it, it can live to grow another day!
The first thing to do is to take a clean and sharp knife and cut the sides off the onion (That is the part you will be eating today).
You should be left with a rectangular block of onion, with a basal plate at one end and if you are lucky, a bit of green stalk at the other. If there is no green part to the developing flower bud, don't worry, it will just take a little longer to sprout above the ground.
Here's where the real trick comes. We are not going to grow one onion from this growth plate, but four. Carefully cut the rectangular block lengthwise, trying to slice through the middle of the developing flower bud. Then, once again cut it lengthwise, being careful to observe if the developing flower bud leans to one side or the other.
Now you have four sections of basal plate, each with some leaf material (the layers of the onion) attached. These are ready for planting.
If it is a big onion, maybe you can divide them further and end up with 8 pieces, but the smaller you cut, the longer it will take to grow a full size onion.
You can now plant your onion starter piece in the ground, with the basal plate down. If the starter piece has a bit of green stalk emerging, leave that above ground, but everything else should be covered with dirt.
Water them in good and in a few days you will notice green scallion type shoots emerging from the ground. To feed your onions so that they grow fast and big, a layer of mulch is a good idea. Cover your bed of onions with 2-4 cm of shredded leaves, grass clippings, wood chips, or whatever composting material you have available.
Onions are good companion plants for other garden vegetables like tomatoes and lettuce. Onions planted with strawberries help the berries fight disease. But if you are going to grow peas, they are an exception -- keep the onions away from the peas.
John Elliott wrote:The garden stores usually have some bushy tomato plants on sale this time of year. Get one and take a LOT of cuttings from it. All you need is a piece 4-6" long and stick it in a glass of water. By the end of the week you will have new roots forming, and by 2-3 weeks you will have enough roots to plant the cutting out. If you have a sunny windowsill in the classroom, you can just leave the cuttings there and the kids can see more root growth each day. From one plant at the garden center, you can probably get at least a couple dozen cuttings -- a much better value than buying those 6-paks with the spindly seedlings.
Zach Hurley wrote:
Is there a specific variety that I'd need to get to do this? I would normally describe tomatoes as "viney" and not "bushy" so I feel like I may be missing something. Is there something I should look for?
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