With the sun shining and the curious enthusiasm of CAS students, we had our first harvest sessions of the spring today! The abundance of rain over the past few weeks has brought us a flourishing green crop of vegetables for the students to pick and taste. Today, the students picked perfectly round crunchy radishes, sweet and tender butter lettuce (easily grown and much cheaper than the store), hearty spinach, flavor-rich arugula, and student-favorite kale. The kids gobbled up the veggies and vinaigrettes like they were going out of style. Some students jumped in right away. Others tentatively gave it a try, and found they liked something new. All of the experiences and energy in the garden today were incredibly fun and positive. We also introduced a new vinaigrette, Lemon Honey Dijon, which was as much a hit as our classic Balsamic vinaigrette. The kids asked, and so we are posting both recipes on our recipes page. If you have the opportunity, grow some veggies or pick some up at the grocery store the next time you are there. You will be surprised at how much these CAS students truly love their veggies!
We are looking forward to a great spring growing season at the CAS Garden! The snow may have set us back slightly, but we have a schedule in place for cleaning and planting.
Spring cleaning of the garden will take place the week of March 26-30, and planting is scheduled for the weeks of April 2-6 and April 16-20. Crops like kale and snow peas actually thrive in cold temperatures. We will schedule cafeteria and blacktop tastings later in the spring if bounty allows!
If you wish to become involved with the CAS garden, please contact Marlena Fass (email@example.com) or Megan Pagliaro (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Thanks, and please stay tuned!
On the evening of Oct. 26, CAS families came together to celebrate fall at the annual Family Reading Night. The CAS Garden Committee sponsored a Tasting event, featuring 7 different vegetable-based homemade recipes, cooked by our talented parent chefs. Dishes included roasted Brussels sprouts and cauliflower, butternut squash soup, spinach quinoa salad, a healthy smoothie bar, and two dessert breads: GF pumpkin bread and chocolate chip zucchini bread. (Link to recipe section).
Families enjoyed gathering together to listen to music, sample dishes and catch up with old and new friends.
This fall we wanted to give the 5th grade classes a chance to use their muscles and help turn over the garden from summer to fall. They pulled out the old plants, turned the soil, shoveled in some fresh compost and helped lug the dead plants into the woods for composting. Maintenance is a big part of gardening and it helped them learn about soil nutrients and enrichment.
They all loved getting busy and dirty, and they were a huge help to the rest of the school who came in after them for planting. Great job 5th grade!
This fall we are planting lots of leafy greens (kale, mache, lettuces, spinach), as well as radishes, peas, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbages. For several of these vegetables we have multiple types so the students can compare the look and feel of the seeds while planting, as well as the look and taste once they are grown and ready for harvest.
Here are some photos of 1M planting seeds using toilet paper. Several classes are using this method, which works great with greens that can be planted in rows. The toilet paper sits in a shallow trench, is sprinkled with tiny seeds and then lightly covered with more soil. After a few days of watering the toilet paper fully dissolves, leaving nice neat rows! This is super for tiny seeds, especially on windy days. And it also makes the students giggle!
We are very excited for the start of a new school year! New notebooks and pencils means it’s time to plant some delicious fall season veggies, and our Garden Committee is excited to get started a little later this month.
When CAS students visit the garden in September, they will get to taste what’s left of our summer harvest (which includes tomatoes, herbs, green beans, corn, squash and the brand-new ground cherry). Then with the help of our parent volunteers, students will be planting seeds and seedlings, including varieties of kale, lettuces, spinach, peas and broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower.
We look forward to seeing all the students again soon, and here’s a picture of some of our late-summer harvest. YUM!
The Garden Committee
A special thank you and farewell to the Xydas Family as they depart NJ for the Sunshine State. They have been a huge part of the CAS garden since day one – tending to, raising money for and teaching in the garden with love and enthusiasm. Geri and her kids could always be found volunteering their time and efforts to make the garden a better place for everyone to enjoy and learn. We’ve all had wonderful experiences with Geri as she shared her “green thumb,” her gentle manner teaching the students, and her ability to tame the mess in the shed! We will really miss having Geri and her family at CAS, and hope they will come visit us!!
~The garden committee and students of CAS
Over the past two weeks we have welcomed the whole school out to the garden for a big round of planting. Believe it or not, even though we still have some chilly days and nights, there are a lot of cool weather vegetables that do very well.
You can see from our white board that we have planted a wide variety of veggies including kale, carrots, radishes and sugar snap peas.
We hope to have everyone back out for harvesting in about 2 months or less!
Here in the garden, we are busy getting ready for planting which will start mid-March.
- We are planning our beds, buying seeds, and cleaning the place up for the students to come in and help us plant our spring crops.
- We are replacing the soil in the hoop house beds with all new soil, because several plants in there developed fungus last season and we don’t want that to impact the next crops.
- We are also going to spread mulch everywhere so no one gets muddy.
- Finally we are hard at work in the sensory garden, cleaning up and getting ready to plant some beautiful blooms for the whole school to enjoy.
Keep an eye out for the first flowers of spring, the little white and purple crocuses, which are popping up in the sensory garden already! We are also seeing the first leaves from the bulbs that students planted last fall. They will be up soon!