Thursday, May 28, 2009

question 4--- my hopes and desires for my students

I was asked by my friend, who runs the career ed program at the school, to answer some questions about the horticulture program. Tonight at home I answered all but one. Here is how I answered number 4...

4. What are the desired outcomes for your program? What is your ultimate goal? Reach for the stars with this one people.

Answer... Students will develop and grow their passion, knowledge, confidence, and skills in order to do any or all of the following:

• Obtain a job working with plants.
• Grow a garden in their community.
• Recognize plants as they move about their environment.
• Keep house plants inside their homes.
• Use fresh vegetables and herbs in their cooking.
• Appreciate the beauty of a garden and understand the effort taken to maintain it.

Monday, May 25, 2009

a late Friday jump into a new experience

The Mighty Assistant loves to cut and arrange flowers. Friday morning she was out cutting flowers from two of our herbs: chives and sage. She was making tiny bundles before she left at noon in order to get a jump on the holiday weekend. Unlike me, she is a shore person.

I had the last horticulture class of the week out making sure the flower garden was good and soaked. We came in to wash up and rest a moment before the afternoon homeroom period. It was then that a student noticed the chive flowers. From my desk I explained what they were and that they were edible.

"I can eat this????"

"Go for it."

Hesitation got me out of my chair.

"1,2,3" And we were into the realm of edible flowers.

Plenty of times I had eaten chive leaves with students.

So, I assumed mellow onion.

Wow. It was far from mellow. How much flavor can be packed into a flower? Try it, or have you already?

Here is a picture of my herb garden at home where the chives and sage flowers are next to each other.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

PK's Iris comes to the forefront

Several years ago a friend at work donated some Irises which she had divided and dug up from her garden. I planted them behind the greenhouse and for years, it was a treat for the few of us who happened to be in a far corner of the school's campus at this time of year. Then I decided to be nice to the rest of the campus, so the students and I did our own digging and dividing.

This week we had five sunny school days during which we concentrated on the flower garden, which is now nearly set to do its thing. Our seedlings may be small, but I have learned that soon enough we will have a burst of color. For now the flower that got the most comments by staff and students passing by as we gardened were PK's Irises.

I recently read a comment at a blog where someone said her favorite gifts were perennial flowers, for each year when it blooms it reminds them of the gift.

after this week at work, in which I told many a folk of how these irises made it into our lives, I fully agree with the blogger...

Saturday, May 16, 2009

out of the kitchen and into the...

In this, the busiest time of the year at the school, we will likely not be going into the kitchen. But there are things to look forward to... My cooking club in the summer.

The good news is we sold most of our tomato plants, and a good number of our extra pepper plants. Inside the classroom the students helped me prepare for the herb workshop I taught today. We also dealt with plants we did not grow ourselves.

The career education department is throwing their big banquet this coming Wednesday and I am always asked to provide plant life for the tables. Lately I have gotten in the habit of buying a flat of annuals. It turns into a good lesson. Many annuals are planted together these days not in 6-packs like we use. So I pull out my garden tool that looks like I am carrying around a hefty knife...

and we use the serrated edge to divide them up before we place them in pots.

The dry spell at the beginning of the week allowed us to get out and do some garden clean up of our large flower bed, and we got our potatoes planted. Enough fingerlings to do two twenty foot beds. Photos were taken, but camera is at the school. It was a good job for having team work... digging fork loosen, shovel dig, add compost, digging fork mix, hand trowel plant potato... repeat.

Sadly we had to move some plants I didn't plan on moving, so now my catnip is in a pot, some sage in the flower bed, and several bulbs transported to new homes, but when water is leaking into one's classroom... what can one do?

so yes, no kitchen time. we are busy.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

25 herbs

I am teaching a workshop this weekend on herbs. I want to...

get herbs into folks hands
share my love of cooking with herbs
encourage all that they can grow them

so, I just made a list of all the herbs I have grown over the last ten years, and 25 made the list. Not counting varieties... of say basil... lime, lemon, sweet.

Some on the list I have done little with other than enjoy their presence and share a story of why they are in the garden.

Just outside the school's greenhouse are some tall perennial herbs, one is Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa), a relative of Bee Balm. You see I am a lover of Earl Grey tea and so when I saw bergamot in Johnny's seed catalog, I thought "how cool."

Later I realized how wrong I was... the flavor in the tea comes from a tree, Bergamot (Citrus bergamia) which is a small citrus fruit. Word on the internet is that the fruit of this cross between a Seville Orange and Pear Lemon, is far from edible, but the oil from the peel is what makes the tea what it is. I love that some how someone decided to add this oil to tea.

Wild Bergamot, a native to North America, can also be used in a tea. Maybe this summer I will finally make tea from my bergamot.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Bachelor Button Caldera

some news from the home garden and how what I teach sticks with me into the weekend ...

I woke this morning and looked out the bathroom window to see if it had rained and it had, again... is that 11 straight days, but there was also a flash of violet...

a blanket of irises in bloom. these are tiny and are not even close to knee high...

This week in Geology class we were speaking about calderas (Spanish for cauldron/kettle). 8000 years ago 12 cubic miles of earth erupted out of a mountain in southern Oregon. 15 years ago I stood on the rim looking down at what 45 feet of snow a year has created in that mountain which had collapsed into its hollowed out self... Crater Lake. A national park that so wants fishing that you don't need a license and there is no limit. just no live bait, please.

So when I saw what had happened to my Bachelor Buttons as I walked back to the irises, a blog post title came into being. I can't wait for them to bloom...

Here is a photo from last year of what is about to emerge from all those buds. A division of both of these perennials may just have a future at the school.

Monday, May 4, 2009

How many days are left?

A friend, who teaches math at a local school, announces the number of days left in the school year and then speaks on how hard it is to get her students focused.

two thoughts:

  1. How will ever get the garden planted. I always have these thoughts during the spring. Now as I watch it rain for days on end and see forecasts of more? simple answer... we will get done what we get done.
  2. How proud I am of my horticulture students, who will work for me till the last day of the year.
and now tie them together...
I need to be careful this time of the year as I feel the stress of how much I would like to accomplish. I need to release that stress in other ways than getting terse with students, who are there to help.