Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Radish & Basil

Just want to show off our radish that have been growing in a wooden window box - they look SO great!  Also, the basil is growing really well in the greenhouse.  This week we will learn how to properly pull off leaves from the bottom of the basil plant so the energy will go to the rest of the plant and the top leaves will grow and the plant will get taller. Perhaps PESTO will be on the kitchen lab menu for next week!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Growing Green

Although life in the greenhouse is quiet during spring break, everything is growing so well - ready to surprise everyone when they all return to school after the break!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Spring Break Transplanting Elves

We are super glad that we had helping elves come in over the spring break to help with all our little seedlings.  The timing was just right for EVERYTHING to be moved into larger homes.  Note to self for next time: time seeds more appropriately!  Fortunately, a few students were willing to come to school for a few hours one day over spring break and help mix up soil with mushroom manure and fill pots, and pots, and pots for transplanting bascially everything in the greenhouse. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Everything Is Growing Well!

As we head into our two-week spring break, everything is taking off and growing amazingly.  The class is doing a great job in the greenhouse of watering everything and cleaning up the outside area.  As you can see from the photo, greenery is happening all along the bench!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


We need soil.  We need it now as everything needs to now be transplanted. Note to self: remember to space out seeding times next year! 
We currently do not have a composting system for our kitchen labs so we will start one - after spring break that is.  Each day we will collect composting waste from the kitchen labs and add it to the compost bin outside. We have decided to put our waste on newspaper, roll it up, add it to our class bin, then at the end of the day a student will take it out to the compost bin.  Our rules for composting are: fruits (but not oranges), vegetables (but not potatoes), crushed egg shells, paper towel, newspaper - layer with grass clippings, dried leaves and soil.  Not for composting: meat, fish, dairy, grease, chemicals, pet waste. 
As we learn more about composting I am potentially about to make more work for myself...wouldn't it be great to have a potatoe bin! Or use grease (suet) and seeds to make a bird feeder?
We got our compost bin from the City of Surrey.  If you are a resident, provide a Surrey address, the cost is $25.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


This week we had a box of frozen cranberries to work with.  Does anyone really know what to do with cranberries?  Ocean Spray does.  On their website they have a wonderful selection of recipes for all occassions.  We adjusted some of their recipes and made Citrus Harvest Muffins, Cranberry Pineapple Cilantro Salsa, and Roasted Cranberry Quesadillas (again making our own tortillas).  If we had a juicer in the classroom I'm sure we would have made our own juice too! And, just think if we had a food dehydrator...things to add to our wish list.
BC is currently the largest producer of cranberries in Canada with approximately 80 growers. We learned about how cranberries harvested, their health benefits, and where they are grown - which is basically in our backyard.  

Friday, March 4, 2011

Fresh Salsa and Homemade Tortilla Chips

We had a shipment of cherry tomatoes this week so we made fresh salsa.  This will be great to make again when we can use all ingredients from our greenhouse project!  We also made our own tortilla chips - a nice alternative to store-bought chips. One group ran out of their chips and finished their salsa with spoons! No waste in this class!

Fresh Tomato Salsa
250ml fresh tomatoes, finely diced
125ml red onion, finely diced
125ml red pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno chilli pepper, finely diced
Juice of one lime
75ml chopped cilantro (coriander)
Salt and pepper to tast
Method: Start with Chopping up tomatoes.  Prepare the chillies.  Be very careful while handling these hot peppers.  Wash your hands after handling chillies.  Combine all of the ingredients in a medium sized bowl.  Adjust taste by adding salt/lime.

Flour Tortillas           
250ml all purpose flour    
2.5ml salt       
25ml shortening      
70ml water         
Method: Combine flour and salt in mixing bowl. Work shortening into flour mixture with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse oatmeal. Make a well in center of flour mixture and add water; stir until combined. If mixture is still dry, add 15ml more water and mix. Knead for 3 minutes on floured counter and then divide dough into 4 balls. Roll out each ball on a floured counter until it is thin. Place rolled dough on cookie sheet and sprinkle with salt. Bake tortillas at 375F for 15 minutes, or until crisp. Cut into wedges when cooled.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Day 7: We've Got Sprouts!

Yup! Group 2 got their chance in the greenhouse today and they were greeted by last week's efforts now sprouting!  Today the students got their intro to getting their hands dirty and planted some more veggies, herbs, and edible flowers.  Also, as we ran out of time last week, they made labels for all the trays we have in the greenhouse and wrote the plant, type, and date it was sowed. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Day 1 In The Greenhouse

Our first day in the greenhouse - finally!  Our class is split into two groups - one goes to the Library to do research on their project while the other group works in the greenhouse.  The group that went to the Library first got to choose from a large list of topics ranging from 'good bugs vs bad bugs', 'rainwater vs tapwater' and 'worm composting' to growing specific vegetables and herbs.  Not only will students learn research skills (and lots about their chosen topic), but also computer skills (Word, Powerpoint).  We love teaching Life Skills!
The other group that went to the greenhouse were asked to start planting the seeds that take the longest to grow. (Umm, and we added 'Cimmaron' Lettuce which apparently grows quickly).  Students made rulers out of popcicle sticks to use for measuring depth to sow and space seeds.  They got their hands dirty because they first had to add some peat to the soil we purchased.  Extra seeds were saved, min-ziplocked, and labelled. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Getting Started

Two teachers with a keen interest in growing their own food and educating students about 'eating local' have joined together to work with a Foods 9/10 class to grow food from seed to plant and incorporate the produce in recipes students will make in the kitchen.  Ms. A. MacKenzie is a Home Economics teacher and Ms. V. Gruden is a Teacher Librarian.
We decided to use a local seed company West Coast Seeds, located in Delta, B.C. The man at the counter was very helpful and gave us a lot of information. We have ordered a class set of their catalogue so students can use it for reference.  It was decided to purchase 3 categories of seeds: vegetable, herb, and edible flower.  Since this is our first time with such a project, assignments have been created for students to complete and present to the class so everyone can learn about every aspect of greenhouses.
The list is long, but here is everything we will be growing in our greenhouse: 

  • Onions - Scallions (Kincho)
  • Radish - Rudi
  • Spinach - Bloomsdale Savoy
  • Beans - Tricolor Bean Blend; Pole Beans (Georgia)
  • Peppers - Patio Red (Sweet); Chilli (Hot)
  • Beets - Merlin; Touchstone Gold
  • Carrots - Rainbow Blen; Purple Haze
  • Lettuce - Tom Thumb (Butterhead); Cimmaron
  • Cilantro
  • Basil
  • Dill
  • Parsley - Italian Large Leaf
  • Greek Oregano
  • Summer Savory
  • Lavender - Dwarf Munstead
Edible Flowers:
  • Viola - Johnny Jump Up
  • Calendula - Indian Prince; Pacific Beauty Mix
  • Nasturtium - Salad Blend
  • Strawberry - Sweet Fresca