The Orca culture of giving (food)

We love our relationship w/ The Rainier Valley Foodbank. We gathered much rainbow chard today- bags and bags. Kids harvesting and donating food is what this program is really about- giving a darn about the world.

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Yes, they were excited! Since our chard is set to flower, it was a good chance to discuss plant life cycles and the fact that when edible plants go to flower or seed- it is time to harvest before they expire.

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It was hard work harvesting in the sun, so we got to snacking some kale flowers. We continued our discussion of what it means when plants flower.

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There might have been a nap time on a bed of mint we harvested also…

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Orca & The Beanstalks

Eventually you run out of garden space and the only place to go is up! We built a bean pole teepee for pole beans as a collaborative project. Those huge stalks of bamboo really came in handy.

Don't try this at home kids

Don’t try this at home kids

We also built smaller versions for bush beans.

Bean tower pride

Bean tower pride

Beans are natural climbers and giving them the support they need as they grow will ensure that your home stays musical from all the beans you eat.

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The green goodness of The Orca Plant Sale!

Oh wow

Oh wow

The greenhouse is looking crazy green- a lot of work goes into caring for thousands of tomatoes & their friends. This includes waking up on weekends in a terror wondering about the state of Cherokee Purples, Martino’s Romas, Abe Lincoln’s, Sweeties, and other assorted tomato friends. But! It’s worth it. Think of how many hundreds of gardens will be filled with these plants and that is a legacy that students should be proud of.

The one, the only...

The one, the only…

This plant sale is a social enterprise that funds the PTA so that they can hire a garden teacher. Garden teacher Anthony Warner has been here 7 years and is still humbled and honored to do the do w/ these amazing kids. If you wanna volunteer & help out- please let us know! Email apwarner@seattleschools.org

seed> plant> 4" pot> gallon pot

seed> plant> 4″ pot> gallon pot

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Plant buddies & Companion planting

Miss B gets in on the action!

Miss B gets in on the action!

We got to planting flowers that attract beneficial insects for the garden. Sometimes plant starts can be devoured by those pesky aphids and other bad guys. So we plant these flowers around and invite the good guys to munch away.

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Marigolds attract ladybugs, hornflies, and other pest predators. Plant them by your young plants and they will protect.

Friends to the end: marigolds & broccolis

Friends to the end: marigolds & broccolis

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Aphid comic book strips

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The biggest garden pests got the comic book treatment here as we looked at aphids through a magnifying glass then crafted our own stories around their evil ways.

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Students were learning about how when plants start to seed and flower, that that is primarily when the aphids come in to feast. The plants are weak and the aphids know it- so it is important to remove those plants & the aphids to avoid total garden annihilation. They are incredibly creepy to look at under a magnifying glass, so it set the tone to draw stories about them and how we deal with these crafty bugs.

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Salmon obstacle course!

Weave through the stream!

Weave through the stream!

On this gorgeous day we had students run though a salmon obstacle course that we created w/ some of P.E.’s materials. Students got the chance to be our soon to be released Orca salmon who face some serious hardships out there in the natural world- bears, eagles, Orcas, and PEOPLE!

Watch out for predators!

Watch out for predators!

This activity really gets students engaged & active and helps hit the message home about the life cycle of salmon. Students w/ scarves were bears & eagles, and students with foam poles were fishermen/women. They had to weave through the cones as if they were logs and other obstacles in streams. If they fell down or knocked a cone over- they were sent to the BBQ bench to await grilling (just kidding- they had to wait a rotation).

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Makah Ozette Potatoes

Makah Ozette fingerlings

Makah Ozette fingerlings

We got a great donation of these Makah Ozette potatoes from Slow Food Seattle. These fingerling potatoes have a fascinating history- they were brought to Cape Alava in NE Washington State by Spanish settlers in 1791. The Makah native peoples used them for 200 years until they were “re-discovered” in the 1980’s. Read more about the history here.

A field of future gourmet french fries.

A field of future gourmet french fries.

3rd grade has been studying native plants this year and this gave us a chance to explore how foods travel and what defines a native food. How food has traveled around the world and where it came from originally always blows the kids minds. Potatoes come from Peru if you were wondering!

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