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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

First-graders in the Garden

I had a delightful day with Mrs. Lioy's and Mrs. Leduc-Gibson's 1st graders recently, planting, some radishes and carrots in their garden beds. We had such success with using seed paper with the 5th graders, I decided to do the same with the younger kids. Carrot seeds are tiny! They are so tiny that it's near impossible to have the manual dexterity to space them appropriately. But we tried. 

In partners, they painted some dots on a paper towel, using "home-made" glue made out of flour and water. Then they placed the seeds on the dots.

We got some assistance from some helpful 5th graders.

Before we put the seed paper down, we had to get the garden bed ready. We broke up the clumps of dirt, added some compost and smoothed it all down to make a nice little bed for some baby radishes.

And here they are!!
Baby radishes, just 7 days old!

So, can you tell what this is below? If you look very carefully, there are about a million ants with some little white looking things. Some of you are thinking, oh, disgusting. That's kind of what I was thinking. But not the boys on recess.

"Hey, look, there's a bunch of ants and little white things."
"Those are maggots."
"No, those are larva, not maggots."
"Let's move them."
"No, let's get a spider and let the spider eat them."

I have to say I was impressed by this exchange, at the very least for their creative problem solving. So they searched around and within 2 minutes came back with a spider, which they dropped on the ants.
Did it start to eat them? No, it scurried away. So we scooped out most of the ants and larva with a big shovel and moved them. They needed a new home anyway.

What's the spider doing? Is he eating the ants?
On a different note, a harvest kind of note, we also dug up some plants. A root crop. Starts with a P and ends with a P. These were the hints I gave the 5th graders and I got a bunch of blank stares and more guesses of carrot and ginger. These are parsnips. PARSNIPS! Which, according to the seed package, are difficult to grow because of a low germination rate. And we harvested about 10 decent, edible-looking parsnips. Below you can see what they look like above the ground. A lot of greenery. One really cool thing we noticed is that the leaves smell really sweet, like a roasted parsnip. Kind of like coconut. Amazing, huh? Just look at all the things you can learn in the garden! 

These are the parsnips about 2 weeks ago.
Amazing what a little warm weather can do for growing plants.

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