Week three of Children’s Garden at Campos’ summer program with the Boys Club of New York is behind us and the garden is in full production. Five classes of boys ages 8 to 11 visit the garden each week to learn the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills that gardening can help foster. As we told you previously, we are covering a range of classes that incorporate STEM topics into basic gardening:
Week #1: Intro to Gardening, Tools, and Plant Tour/Tasting
Week #2: Soil and Worm Exploration, Composting Basics
Week #3: Plant Part Basics
Week #4: Herbs and Companion Plants (and busy bees!)
Week #5: Life of the Tomato
Week #6: Seed Starting and Direct Seeding
End of Summer Harvest Feast
Here’s a rundown of the last couple of weeks’ topics: Soil and Worm Exploration, and Plant Part Basics:
Getting the Dirt on Soil and Worms
In this lesson, the boys learned about where our fruits and vegetables grow, the soil, and its components. We discussed the importance of soil in our lives and examined closely what soil is made of, including organic and inorganic material.
The kids then learned how to perform a soil analysis and took soil samples back to the clubhouse classroom to experiment and plot the results to determine the precise characteristics of the soil in the Children’s Garden at Campos.
And they learned a bit about the anatomy of the hardworking worms that help make our soil and compost.
And now we eat! The boys tried lemon cucumber slices with dill pesto (recipe below), made from the garden’s runaway dill supply, and also made cucumber sandwiches with mint, nasturium flowers and pesto.
2 cups fresh dill
½ cup fresh parsley
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
Juice of ½ lemon
½ cup walnuts, lightly toasted
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
½ teaspoon salt
¼-½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- Place the first 9 ingredients in a food processor or blender. Pulse to rough chop. Add olive oil through chute in a slow stream until it forms a smooth paste, about 30 seconds.
- Remove contents of food processor into a medium bowl. Stir in parmesan cheese. Adjust salt, pepper and lemon to taste.
- Use on bread, cucumber slices, add to lamb or salmon burgers, stir into sauces, hummus or yogurt for a dip, serve with potatoes, egg dishes, green beans, smoked salmon, broiled fish or chicken.
Learning and Eating the Parts of a Plant
Next up, the boys put the STEM into stems and leaves and roots as they learned all the different parts of plants, their functions, and how we can eat some parts of some plants and not of others:
The boys tried to think of leaves, flowers, fruit, stems, roots and seeds they eat and got to see, touch, smell and taste examples of each:
For more about the different plant parts that we can eat, see a similar lesson in “Head Start Tots Learn About Soil, Worms, Gardening and Food at Lenox Hill House Rooftop Garden.
We also learned about the effect of the sun, carbon dioxide and water
1 large cucumber, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 avocado, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup chopped mint leaves
2 pounds red or yellow tomatoes, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
2 red or yellow bell peppers, seeded and coarsely chopped
2 jalapeños, seeded and finely chopped (optional)
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
- Put the cucumber and avocado in a blender or food processor, add the vinegar and pulse until finely chopped but not pureed. Transfer to a large bowl or pitcher.
- Add the onion, minced garlic, mint, two-thirds of the tomatoes and half the yellow peppers to the blender and puree until smooth. Add this mixture to the cucumber.
- Finely chop the remaining tomatoes and yellow bell peppers by hand and stir them into the gazpacho. Whisk in the olive oil and jalapeños and season with salt, and white pepper. Refrigerate the gazpacho until cold, at least 3 hours. Garnish with chopped cucumber and mint.
- Make ahead. The gazpacho can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.
More Photos as the Garden Grows
A lovely interlude scroll through our garden…