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Phoenix Garden

Phoenix School Learning Garden is focused on teaching students agricultural practices with hands-on experiences. Through this blog we hope to educate others and also learn from community members through discussions.

Food Fridays

Have you ever wonder what we do with the produce that we received from our Phoenix garden? The produce we get from the garden goes to the school kitchen for our school lunches and breakfast. Also, some of the food that we grow goes to the local farmer’s market to be sold. Another thing we do with the produce is we take it and on Fridays of each week we have a food Friday! On these days we take the produce and make things like, coconut curry squash, pico de gallo, and pesto.When we make these things in class it teaches the students how to prepare the vegetables and how to cook to make a pretty good meal.

These food Fridays have been a really good tool when teaching this AG. Science class. Because teaching ag. Science it is a good tool when it comes to showing the students how to take the food from the garden and put it to the plate. Our teacher, Lindley Ballen said that when you show the students how to grow and harvest the food it really showcases the growing food part of Ag. Science.

 

Every since we started food Fridays. I Have enjoyed the lesson plans that our teacher has prepared for us. The recipes that we have prepared in class I have taken and prepared these for my family for dinners and also lunches.  I thought that some of the recipes that we have tried in class have been nasty in my opinion. But that does not mean that other people think that it is nasty. Also when we teach the students how to prepare the produce it is giving them a virtual resource at their fingertips.

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Basil is a great ingredient to add in your daily diet, it’s a great source of vitamins A,C,D,B6, and B12, basil is also high in calcium, iron, and magnesium. Basil can act as an anti-inflammatory,as well as fights against cancer. There are 87,800 basil restaurants in America as well as many Thai restaurants which are well known for there health foods.

Last Friday we made spaghetti squash salad which contained basil, and you can make almost anything healthy with adding basil, it’s one of the most healthiest foods in world and can be a wonderful thing to feed your young children to make them grow healthy and healthy.

 

Pico de Gallo- JH

On one food Friday we made Pico de gallo out of plants from the garden. We rinsed the tomatoes from the garden and the class cut them up. I helped cut onions and jalapenos that were also from the garden. We also put salt, lemon, and lime juice in it. One container of the salsa had cilantro and jalapenos and one did not. I thought it was really cool that we grew all these things ourselves and they came from the garden and we all got to enjoy something made from our own garden.

The class tasted both of them and we even got to take some home for our families to taste. My favorite one was the spicy one with the jalapenos and cilantro. I thought it would be as good as store bought salsa. But because we grew it ourselves and made it, I liked it a lot better because you got to add how much of what you wanted from everything.

 

SUNFLOWERS

My personal favorite flower and one of my favorite parts of the garden this summer. There are about 70 different species of sunflowers and the domesticated sunflowers, H. annuus is the most familiar species. Sunflowers are a very tall, annual or perennial plant that can grow up to 120 inches or more. Perennial sunflower species are not as popular due to their tendency to spread very rapidly. During growth, sunflowers tilt during the day to face the sun but then stop once they begin blooming! This tracing of the sun by sunflower heads is called heliotropism but then once they are mature tend to face east. Sunflowers can also be used for their seeds, which can be eaten or harvested to plant more flowers.

At the Phoenix School, we grew sunflowers both in the greenhouse and outside within the beds. Watching them get super tall over the course of the summer was very exciting and showing up in the mornings to work to a new bloom was always so neat!

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MORNING GLORY

Although some people may consider morning glory to be an appealing flower, this summer it was our worst enemy. Every morning when we saw more and more white flowers popping up throughout the garden we knew that we were going to have a problem. They spread very rapidly and have the ability to quickly take over whole areas of a garden. If morning glory can be controlled, it would be a very appealing flower to have growing among decor.

When we first began the PVC Pipe Project, the triangle beds in the garden were free of weeds and had just been tilled. Though it didn’t take very long after the squash, corn and beans started growing for morning glory to work its way into the equation. Every day we were pulling up the morning glory weeds from throughout the beds. Looking back on it, we probably could have just kept them among the other plants but we were very persistent in trying to get the MG out of our garden.

For future reference, MG can be killed by thick mulches or weed barriers to help smother the seedlings in the spring so that they won’t come back in the summer. By not allowing the vines to flower and go to seed, it can prevent some of the sprouts the following spring. Broadleaf herbicides have some effect, but must be sprayed early then the plants are young. Controlling MG can take several seasons and commitment, so be sure to consider this when adding it to your own garden!

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MICROGREENS

Also known as “vegetable confetti” microgreens are germinated seeds that are eaten root, seed and shoot. They are becoming extremely popular among fine restaurants and specialty grocery stores, often used to add color and texture to dishes. Microgreens include a variety of edible immature greens and can be harvested less than a month after they germinate.

Salad greens, leafy veggies and some edible flowers can be grown as microgreens! Beginners tend to start with broccoli, chia or sunflower seeds because they are the easiest to grow and can be kept in a single container. One problem that we faced while attempting to grow microgreens was that they were getting too wet and rotting. Causing a lot of the garden to stink when we placed them outside and attracting flies. We dumped out quite a few containers of microgreens over the summer but at the end finally managed to successfully grow a few full containers of arugula microgreens!

I would recommend microgreens to urban gardeners who have minimal space for growing because they can grow in such close proximity to one another, require a shallow container, and love sunlight. They are a very cute and aesthetically pleasing plant but also have many beneficial nutrients packed in!

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SAGE

Common sage is a low shrub with soft-green leaves and a fragrant smell. It is yet another member of the mint family and a Mediterranean herb that grows well with Rosemary and Basil. Depending on the zone, it can grow as both an annual or perennial. It does not easily tolerate summer heat and humidity thus making it an annual in Roseburg.

The bush at the Phoenix School looked like it had been neglected for some time. We pruned the bush and were able to cut out all of the old growth to allow the new growth to bloom! Sage is a very appealing herb to both gardeners and culinary enthusiasts and most definitely caught my eye in the garden. It has a velvety feel to the leaves and very delicate blooms. While cooks can surely appreciate the distinct taste and scent of sage. Sage is often considered to be one of the essential herbs within the Culinary community and appears in many European cuisines, especially Italian. Sage can be used as an essential oil and some research suggests that sage has positive effects on human brain function.

Sage is also used in the custom of Native Americans and other indigenous cultures called smudging. Smudging is believed to create a cleansing smoke bath that is used to purify the body, energy, aura, and space that it is happening in. My aunt and uncle had their house smudged before they moved in and this was something that I had never heard of but was truly fascinated by!

We dried and sold sage at the Farmer’s Market as well. People bought it for cooking purposes but I personally enjoy sage when it is fresh! If you are going to have an herb garden, sage is one of the top 5 herbs in my opinion that should be found in the garden!

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ROSEMARY

Rosemary is yet another herb that I came in unfamiliar with, but I now have a great appreciation for its many uses. It is another member of the mint family, it has a woody stem with very fragrant, needle-like leaves with white, pink, purple or blue flowers. Rosemary is native to the Mediterranean region and got its name from the Latin for “dew” (ros) and “sea” (marinus). Rosemary flowers in the spring and summer in temperate climates but where it is constantly warm, the flowers can be seen year round.

Rosemary can be used for decor, pest control, culinary and aromatherapy uses. It is a drought-tolerant plant that is commonly used in landscaping, it can grow to be quite large and can be used for topiary! But it doesn’t always have to grow so large, rosemary does well in pots also. Rosemary is a common flavoring used in foods like stuffing, chicken or turkey and can be used dried or fresh. It always makes me think of Thanksgiving!


We dried and bunched lots of Rosemary over the summer and took it to the Umpqua Farmers Market. I think that it would be more popular in the winter time because that is when people cook lamb, pork, chicken, and turkey the most. Rosemary is a very easy herb to grow and a must have for chefs and avid home cooks!  

 

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LEMON BALM

When you first walk into the Phoenix School garden, there are a few huge bushes to the right that for the longest time we thought was just mint. After minimal research, we concluded that these bushes were actually Lemon Balm, which is also in the mint family! They are native to south-central Europe, the Mediterranean, Iran, Central Asia, and have naturalized in the Americas. During the summer the plant grows small white flowers that are full of nectar. These white flowers are very effective for attracting bees which can be extremely beneficial to a garden.

Lemon balm can be used as an herb in teas, flavorings, and aromatherapy. This was another herb that we were able to cut up, bunch and dry and take to the farmers market. It’s not quite as popular as some of the other herbs that we grew but I came to find that it is very popular in traditional medicine and has an important spot in history!

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