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Extension > Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds, Healthy Learners > May 2017

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On this blog, we share regular updates about the Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds, Healthy Learners partnership between Extension's Children, Youth & Family Consortium and Bruce Vento Elementary School.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Why We're Not Planting Beans or Peas or Grass

By Kirsten Saylor, School Garden Coordinator

At Bruce Vento Elementary School in St. Paul, students in Pre-K, kindergarten, and fifth grade are planting seeds indoors before planting outside in the school’s garden. They are learning both the principles and practice of planting in a garden — and we’re doing it without beans, peas, or grass.

three Pre-K students working with plastic cups and soil in white buckets
Pre-K students prepping indoor planting containers.

“Why not beans or peas or grass?” you may wonder. “They are tried and true plants of elementary classroom planting!”

Admittedly, we're taking a risk.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Learning about Soil and Water at Garden Camp

By Kirsten Saylor, School Garden Coordinator

Third grade garden camp kicked off last month at Bruce Vento Elementary School in St. Paul. During camp students learn about planting seeds, how to read a seed packet, care for seedlings, watch growth, and harvest mid-May. If you haven’t already, you can read about Session One here: Third Grade Garden Camp Begins. Sessions Two and Three are here: Updates from Garden Camp.

Session 4: Soil

Once seeds are planted, students come to the garden for another three weeks to see how their plot changes, including the growth of the seedlings in terms of growth of shoot and roots, recording this information on a Daily Observation worksheet.

In addition, students take a deeper look at what plants need, and the first week was soil. Observing temperature, moisture, softness, and color of soils around the garden: in their raised bed, under the mulch, on an eroded area. They noted that under the mulch the soil was much cooler and wetter, while the surface of their plot was warm and quite dry despite recent rains. We compared the color and feel of the garden soil (dark, soft) with that of eroded soil (hard, rocky) and discussed what might be better for our plants to grow their roots in.

Students examine seedlings using a magnifying glass
Examining seedlings with a magnifying glass

Students started to see bugs! For some this was a real challenge to be around bugs. Those that were fine or enjoyed the insects, essentially taught their peers more about them and that they would not hurt them.
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