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Summer in the Garden Lab

Summer 2020:  This summer was the most unusual due to COVID restrictions and the closure of schools.  The life in the garden lab went on dispite all that was occuring outside of it's walls.  Even without the typical care through out the summer, the crops grew that had been planted in March. The blueberries, raspberries, sunflowers, zennias, garlic, carrots, fennel, herbs, figs, gourds, turnips, and more all grew and were harvested by the end of the summer and into the new school year. Although a bit on the wild side when our garden lab coordinator, Mrs. Cunningham and Pop returned and were allowed back in, the garden was thriving, bursting with life, and had a big bounty of crops to offer both the staff and the community at large.
Sunflower 2020  flowers   apple tree  
Summer 2019:  Our summer volunteers are busy caring for the garden, planting and harvesting.
The Fallon family created a yummy breakfast with fresh ingredients from the farmers market and the FDE garden lab:  Mushrooms, scapes, squash egg and cheese from the farmers market. 
Kale from our FDES garden.
Fallon breakfast  Fallon children  child tomato   
student raspberries  hand rasp  
So much success with the summer crops as all raised beds are producing crops for the summer families and for the new school year.  Pop is adding a new rain chain to capture water from the small roof above the door in an artistic fashion.
cucumber on arbor  Three Sisters garden  tomato trellis   
rain chain nana and pop  gourd
Summer 2018:  Rain, Rain, Go Away...come again another day!  We would have never guessed how wet the garden lab would be this summer, but this did not deter our amazing garden lab volunteers for being there to weed and to water when necessary.  The raised bed that the first graders planted with beans, chard, and nasturtiums (edible flowers) was the most successful as far as crop production.
first grade crops  
Our cabbage and kale crop was doing great until eaten by a pest, but our spirits stayed high as we replanted for a fall crop with lettuce and carrots.  One brave family braved the rainy weather to plant the crop and harvest some chard to enjoy at home.
planting and harvesting family
There were many discoveries by our volunteers to include our first apple on the espalier apple tree.  I wonder what color it will be:  red, green, or yellow.
karolina with apple  watering the garden
Thank you to all of our summer volunteers for taking care of the garden lab!  We hope you enjoyed all the treasures and adventures that the garden has to offer.
Summer 2017:   Huge harvest crops abound in the garden lab this summer with the help of our amazing and dedicated FDE family volunteers!  Our summer volunteers have reported that they have harvested sweet peas, carrots, squash, lettuce, chard, cucumbers, cilantro, basil, and other herbs.  Families are cooking their favorite dishes and trying new recipes with the harvest.  Watering and weeding becomes magical as plants grow and produce along with the countless discoveries of different insects, birds, and butterflies!
sisters in the garden with harvest   butterfly garden   
chard   student with harvest  
back trellis   K raised bed
garden selfie   harvest  lavendar  
Here is one of the dishes created:  "I made this for lunch...spontaneous recipe: sauteed polenta rounds with sauteed red chard, baby lettuces & garlic, cilantro, topped with marinara sauce and mozarella cheese."  The red chard, lettuce and cilantro all came from the garden lab!
cooking with produce
Summer 2016:  The FDE Garden Lab is having huge success this summer due to another year of dedicated FDE family volunteers who keep the garden watered and weeded each and every day.
 Summer volunteers watering   summer vol family
Baptista family in garden lab  
Reports from the volunteers have been so positive as they enjoy observing the changes and living things in the garden.  Volunteers have been able to enjoy the "garden to table" experience as they harvest, prepare, and eat a variety of crops.  One of our most popular has been the huge cabbage crop that third - fifth grade planted.  The families that have been coming for lunch this summer and FDE volunteers have enjoyed eating cabbage, beans, lettuce, chard, Russian kale, cucumbers, and tomatoes.  Yummy!
 Eating a tomato  Baptista family in the garden lab
   Many of our families are taking the fresh produce and creating traditional dishes, such as the Baptista family who used our cabbage to make Hawaiian Kalua cabbage. 
cabbage  Kalua cabbage
 Our Native garden is flourishing and the herb boxes provide a wide range of herbs, such as oregano, basil, parsley, and more to provide some flavor to the dishes being made at home.
We have an increased variety of butterflies to include our first sighting of a Monarch at the second grade butterfly garden along with a variety of birds visiting our new birdhouse.  Nature abounds our wonderful garden lab this summer! 
Summer 2015:  The FDE Garden Lab has been thriving this summer due to the amazing FDE family and staff summer volunteers.  The young FDE gardeners in the picture were extra excited to harvest the cucumbers and plan on learning how to pickle the cucumbers.  The FDE garden volunteers have been harvesting sweet peas, cucumbers, tomatoes, rosemary, lavender, figs, strawberries, mustard leaves, and collards.  There will be squash and beans ready for harvest soon.
magnolia flower   cotton   trell cypress vine collards
There has been a significant increase in the variety and types of insects to include new caterpillars on the milkweed and butterflies.
Preparation for the new project in the Garden Lab has started with the excavation for the new beds and gravel paths. 
Thank you to our FDE Summer Volunteers - the Lamb family, the Foster family, the Pake family, the Settipani family, the Allder family, and the Cox family.  Our garden lab is weeded, watered, and harvested daily due to these wonderful families!  Thank you to Mark Pankau from Guilford Elementary School for helping excavate the new area for the new raised bed and native plant garden.
Excavation Mark and MKC Mark Pankau from Guilford Elementary School saved the day by helping Mrs. Cunningham excavate for the new native plant garden, pathways, and the area for the new raised bed.