Charter Master Gardeners

About the program

Every program has Melanie Burgess, our very own Master Gardener, bringing students (by grade level) into the garden near their program to teach them the Junior Master Gardner curriculum. Melanie has been working with our CRHS students, supporting the lab work for the Horticulture course for the last several years and in the process has expanded the garden there. She is passionate about teaching all students and adults how to grow their own food and understand how to support a sustainable local ecosystem.


The Junior Master Gardener program is an international youth gardening program of the university cooperative Extension network. JMG engages children in novel, “hands-on” group and individual learning experiences that provide a love of gardening, develop an appreciation for the environment and cultivate the mind. JMG also inspires youths to be of service to others through service learning and leadership development projects, and rewards them with certifications and recognition.”



Newsletter: 12/13/19

From our Master Gardener, Melanie Burgess

NA All Grades:  It's all about choices on our Nature Academy garden day.  Students had choices on what they wanted to do in the garden.  So, some of the students decided to work on removing the papyrus from the pond.  Some students chose to plant some radishes, garlic, and onions in two beds while other students planted crocus under the whiteboard.  A few students are working on a "rainbow" bed where they plan to plant all of the colors of the rainbow.  We found a gopher has been able to dig under one of our beds and it ate all of our peas and broccoli.  We quickly ate what peas had grown on the vines.  We then decided that we would start using more of our above ground planting barrels to grow our food as our gopher wire under our beds is starting to decompose.  Some students opted to work on removing the blackberry brambles.  We uncovered our lemon tree that needed a little pruning, so we pruned it.  We also had a group of students who worked on cleaning up our greenhouse and they organized all of our supplies and took out the trash.  We also picked up a lot of sticks and debris left from the past week's storms.  It was a very productive day and the garden is looking great because of it all!

Thursday, December 12th

FC 5th:  We fed our worms with the classroom compost and recycled paper.  Then we winterized the worm bin by adding a tarp and stone to the top of the bin.  We then had a lengthy discussion about what foods are fruits and what foods are vegetables.  We discussed that science states that fruit is anything developing from a flower that produces seeds.  The farmer states that fruit is anything that is grown as a perennial and vegetables are grown as annuals.  Our social customs state that the distinction between fruits and vegetables depends on when they are eaten although these customs are changing.  And in 1893, our Supreme Court made a decision that tomatoes were vegetables so that tomato farmers would be taxed at a lower rate than the luxury fruit that was taxed at a higher rate.  We then had a fruit taste test where we evaluated 5 different fruits based on taste, color, texture, and smell.  Watermelon won the overall best-liked fruit.  

CRMS All:  We had our first "All" student day in the garden this week and it was filled with nothing but choices!  Students cleaned up the strawberry barrel by removing dead or dying leaves.  They also removed all of the stolons (or runners) from the mother strawberry plants and planted them in empty spots in the barrel.  We also winterized the worm bin by feeding them the classroom food waste and recycled paper.  Then they covered them with a tarp and stone to keep them safe, warm, and dry this winter. Some students planted Radishes and a variety of flower bulbs.  Another student added mulch to all of the trees.  We also picked up all ofthe trash and winter storm debris in and around the outside of the garden.  Lastly, students de-stemmed the dried basil and divided it all into bags to share with all of the students.  

CRHS:   We learned all about moss in this class.  We discussed moss habitats, growth patterns, uses, the 4 ways of moss reproduction, cultivation, the environmental impacts of moss, and the conservation of moss.  We learned that there are 15,000-20,000 species of moss and how they are the 2nd largest plant group, flowering plants being the 1st.  We also learned that mosses collectively provide more carbon offset than all of the trees in the world.  We then made moss terrariums using recycled glass bottles.  We used legally collected native soils, mosses, and plants to build our terrariums. We also added a little bit of activated carbon to the soil and used a few non-native plants that do well in terrariums.  After building these terrariums we close them up and will never open them again.  The plants, soil, and water that we add make their own ecosystem inside the glass jars.   Some of our returning students still have their past years terrariums at home, still growing! Check out the photos!  They turned out beautiful!


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Native soils, mosses, and plants Terrariums Gofer Attack!

We used legally collected native soils, mosses, and plants to build our terrariums. We also added a little bit of activated carbon to the soil and used a few non-native plants that do well in terrariums.  After building these terrariums we close them up and will never open them again.  The plants, soil, and water that we add make their own ecosystem inside the glass jars.   Some of our returning students still have their past years terrariums at home, still growing! Check out the photos!  They turned out beautiful!




Newsletter: 11/18/19

From our Master Gardener, Melanie Burgess

QHIA 6th: We discussed insects again!  This time it was all about complete and incomplete metamorphosis.  Students learned about the life cycles of ladybugs, aphids, cicadas, honeybees, monarch butterflies, crickets and praying mantis. We discussed how black bean aphids were attracted to fava beans and that was how we were going to attract ladybugs into our garden.  We will see the entire life cycle of ladybugs throughout the school year by sacrificing the favas to the aphids.  Students then planted fava beans and harvested mint to make mint tea.  Students also watered plants and removed some of the weedy vetch plants in the garden beds.  

QH K/1: We discussed what garlic was and explored a garlic clove. We identified all of the garlic clove parts, the shell, roots, and plant shoot.  We talked about how to plant garlic, how long it takes to grow, and in what direction and how deep to plant garlic.  We used our fingers to measure the garlic and figure out how deep to plant them.  We discussed the same with fava beans and planted both in beds.  We took turns watering and drinking mint tea.  Then we ended the day playing a few rounds of "Hide the Dinosaur".


FC (K/1/2):  We discussed where our calendula went to in our garden which led us into a discussion about gophers.  We decided to plant some gopher resistant daffodil and iris bulbs.  We watered the bulbs and also the compost pile.  We then sat and discovered what was inside the mushroom the students found during Tuesday's class.  We discovered hundreds of worms and mites and some other insects. We discussed what the insects might be doing in the mushroom and determined they were eating it.  We ended the class with a few fun rounds of "Hide the Dinosaur & Pig".

CRMS 6th:  We discussed insects again!  This time it was all about complete and incomplete metamorphosis.  Students learned about the life cycles of ladybugs, aphids, cicadas, honeybees, monarch butterflies, crickets and praying mantis. We discussed how black bean aphids were attracted to fava beans and that was how we were going to attract ladybugs into our garden. We will see the entire life cycle of ladybugs throughout the school year by sacrificing the favas to the aphids. We planted a second bed of favas last month in a different location so we can organically treat these favas for harvesting. Students planted fava beans and covered the bed with straw mulch. Students then harvested mint to make mint tea.  We ended the class by checking on and feeding the worms newspaper and kitchen scraps.  

CRHS:   We started a pot of steamed rice together.  Then we harvested kale, celery, carrots, and chives to wash and chop.  We also diced a few garlic cloves from last summer's harvest.  While students chopped vegetables we discussed favas beans. How fava cultivation dates back to prehistoric times and how they are nitrogen-fixing and work symbiotically with rhizobium bacteria.  We discussed how favas are an indeterminate plant that can be harvested 2-3 times. We also discussed sowing methods, growing habits, water requirements, and harvesting/storing/use suggestions. We decided to grow two beds of favas.  One to sacrifice to the aphids for the ladybugs and one to treat organically and harvest.  One student continued to use seasonings and cooked our harvest for an end-of-the-class meal.  The rest of us finished weeding the fava bed, we planted fava seeds, and we covered the bed with a thick layer of straw mulch. We ended the class eating our stir fry and rice while students wrote in their garden journals.

Next Week...
Tuesday, November 19th
QHIA 7th at 10:00 am
QH 2nd/3rd at 12:30 am

Thursday, November 21st
FC 3rd at 10 am
CRMS 7th at 11 am
CRHS at 12:40 pm

Coast Redwood High School students harvesting celery, chives and carrots


Coast Redwood Middle School students moving soil and planting fava beans with their CRHS mentors







Newsletter: 11/01/19

From our Master Gardener Melanie Burgess


QHIA 8th:  We discussed what the ABP's (Annuals, Biennials, Perennials) were.  We talked about which plants we have in the gardens and which ABP they were.  We then discussed annual Flowers that act like perennials like Poppies and Nasturtiums.  We then discussed how these seeds are disbursed by the plant and how we should sow them in the soil.  Students then planted poppy and nasturtium seeds throughout the garden. We also harvested mint and made mint tea.


QH 4/5:  We discussed what makes a fruit a fruit and a vegetable, a vegetable. In botanical terms, a fruit is the reproductive part of the plant that develops a flower and produces seed.  A true vegetable is a food that comes from any part of the plant other than the flower. We discussed why tomatoes were changes to a vegetable because of tax rates in 1893.  We also talked about social customs that changed some fruits to vegetables depending on what time of day the food was usually consumed.  We planted broccoli transplants which students decided was a fruit and a vegetable because we eat the flower and the stems.   We finished the class by drinking the rest of the mint tea and playing a few rounds of "Hide the Dino"


FC (All):  We had a Halloween day full of fun and games.  Our high school mentors brought rocks to paint as ghosts, pumpkins, candy corn and skulls for the students.  


CRMS 6th:  We learned all about vermicomposting, environmental impacts of composting, and life cycle of redworms.  I brought back the CRMS worm bin and we explored the bin to find red worms, cocoons, and FBI's (Fungi, Bacteria, and Invertebrates).  We learned how to easily shred paper by hand and added the paper and some food scraps to the worm bin.  I will be purchasing a composting bin for classroom food waste.


CRHS:  Students checked on our carrot and kale beds. Students then weeded and cleaned up another bed in preparation to plant garlic next week. Students watered everything. We ended the class by making popcorn and students wrote in there journals.










Newsletter: 10/18/19
From our Master Gardener Melanie Burgess

QHIA 6th:  We discussed how to attract beneficial insects into the garden to control some pests. We then planted several herbs in the cement block circle including lemongrass, lemon thyme, chives, and oregano.  We found a purple carrot and harvested a watermelon and we ate them.  Some students also added soil to a bed and planted some more purple carrots.   Students watered all of the plants.


Fall Creek K/1st/2nd Grade:  We discussed planting calendula in the garden, what calendula needs and where we should plant them.  Our high school mentors worked with the students in small groups helping them find the perfect calendula spot in the play yard.  Students planted the calendula, added some good soil around the plant and applied straw mulch around the plant to protect and keep it moist. Then students watered their calendula plants.  We finished up the class playing a few rounds of "Hide the Pig".  


CRMS 7th:  Students added soil to a bed that fell during a storm last year, this was a big job well done!  We discussed bringing in beneficial perennial plants and herbs into the garden.  Students planted bachelor buttons, pineapple sage, rosemary, and stevia.  Students applied straw mulch around plants and watered all of the garden plants.  


CRHS: We started the day making avocado fries with garlic and herbs from the garden.  While the avocado fries were cooking in the toaster oven students planted beneficial flowers, lobelia, yarrow, bachelor buttons, stevia, lemongrass and purple peas in the kale bed they planted two weeks ago.  Students watered their new plantings deeply.   Students flower pressed borage and nasturtiums then ended the day writing in their journals.  



  


Newsletter 10/4/2019
From our Master Gardener Melanie Burgess

QHIA 8th:    Students helped move in straw bale seating for the garden, cleared two beds of weeds and added new soil. They then planted celery, mustard greens and carrots. We discussed what students wanted to do for their class project, a bird bath.  We discussed bringing in some new clothes for the scarecrow too. Students finished up the day doing a little weeding and watering all beds.


QH 4th & 5th:   We discussed how peas and carrots grow and we planted a few more peas at the trellises and carrots in one of the beds.  We added clarifier to the small beneficial pond to clear the water.  We weeded a little while students misted each other as it was a hot day.  Students then finished the day with a few fun rounds of "Hide the Dinosaur".  


Fall Creek 4th Grade:  Students learned about and tasted the herbs other students have planted in the previous weeks... lemon balm, tarragon, mint, oregano, etc. Students planted fennel in a new plant pot.  They also made a new "plant spot" in the ground and planted Yarrow.  High school mentors checked the compost bin and they added some straw and watered in thoroughly.  We played a few rounds of "Hide the Dinosaur".


CRMS 6th:  We learned about sweet peas and echinacea and planted them in the garden in new plant pots.  High school mentors added drip to the new plant pots.  Students pruned strawberries and the mint while others watered all of the plants.   


CRHS: Students learned about and planted an Andean Aster and an Echinacea.  We discussed Michaelmas Daisies and how they are one of the last foods of the season for beneficials and why that is so important in an organic garden.  They cleaned out one large bed of weeds, added compost, and new soil, and then planted celery, peas, kale, beets, chard, mustard greens, and scallions.  Students watered their new plantings deeply. They pressed Michaelmas Daisies in their flower presses and made popcorn in the Whirley Pop.  Students ended the day writing in their journals.  



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