Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Updates from MLK Middle School!

photos: preparing a "winter fruit-root salad" and a bed of kale and chard!

As the days get shorter and cooler, we have been busily tending our winter crops at the MLK Middle School garden. We have kale, chard, bok choi, broccoli, romanesco, fava beans, beets, and carrots growing, which will make for a yummy feast once we get back from the holiday break! Last week we made some delicious “winter fruit-root” salads with lettuce, apple, pears, carrots, dried cranberries, and a lemon salad dressing made with lemons from our own tree. The students gobbled it all up, and some students asked for the recipe so they can make it at home!

In other news, we kicked off our new after-school “Garden and Ecology Club” by creating “worm hotels” and getting to know these wiggly friends up close and personal. Creating a small worm bin is a great way to continue to help your garden throughout the wintry months – just mix up your vegetable kitchen scraps with some red wiggler worms and newspaper, and come springtime you’ll have wonderfully rich worm compost to feed your plants!

I savor experiences like these – they are what make my work so much fun! In the few months since I started working with Urban Sprouts, I have been amazed time and time again to see youth transform when they are in a safe and nurturing garden environment. I have seen kids overcome their fears of dirt to learn how to make compost and maintain a worm bin. I have seen students with severe behavioral problems inside the classroom go out to the garden and eagerly cooperate with classmates and teachers. I have had students come up to me after trying new fruits and vegetables to tell me, “I almost never eat vegetables at home… can I have seconds?” I am already looking forward to the springtime of gardening and eating ahead!