Charter Master Gardeners

About the program

Every program has Melanie Burgess, our very own Master Gardener, come and bring 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 her plan to teach all students 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: 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.