Wednesday, October 27, 2010

New Gardens at DC Public Schools!

This year, through a partnership with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation and Safeway, City Blossoms has been building school gardens all over the city! Recently we built a circular veggie garden at Tyler Elementary in Capitol Hill; and last weekend we built the Golden Ratio garden at Anne Beers Elementary School. Both builds were a huge success thanks to teachers, parents, neighbors, and of course KIDS who worked so hard to paint, dig, haul compost, and plant their gardens on beautiful Saturdays. Just in case you want to be part of this planting party, we have two more builds coming up!
Saturday, October 30 at Shaed Elementary School (301 Douglas Street NE) from 10-2
Saturday, November 6 at King Elementary School (3200 6th st SE) from 10-1

It really feels amazing to change a blank space into fantastic green spaces where kids and grown-ups can share experiences, learn about growing food and play with friends and neighbors - all in one Saturday morning! If you are interested in joining us please email Lola B at

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Gross and Cool - Soldier Flies

Yesterday we were walking around Marion Street Intergenerational Garden, checking on plants and compost, and I was quite revolted to see about 400 of these things furiously crawling up the insides of our compost cans. Luckily, Zachary from Clagett Farm was on hand to drop some knowledge on me - these are soldier fly larvae! And believe it or not, they are not as bad as they look. According to some research, soldier flies are big helpers in the compost bin, and they can withstand the heat a bit better than earthworms (who we still want to hang around). This site I found, Black Soldier Fly Blog, is dedicated to promoting soldier fly composting. As a part-time entomology buff, I was happy to get to know these hard working little buggers and I hope they will continue being our neighbors at Marion Street.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Basil Bonanza

The Biggest Basil Potluck Ever! Come and pick some basil and prep a delicious dish for neighbors and friends of Marion Street Garden. Pick the basil Monday, August 23 4-7pm or Wednesday, August 25 4-6:30 and then eat with everyone from 6:30 to 8:30 on August 25th. We are looking forward to lots of new recipes using basil in ways never imagined, as well as a really good pesto or two. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Lola at

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

More reflections on gardening with children by Kevin and David

This summer our SYEP interns have gotten a LOT of practice working with young children and learning how best to communicate information about gardening and community to young minds. The lesson this week involved the interns reading stories to small groups of children and then checking for comprehension by having the children draw pictures of their understanding of the book. Here are some more reflections from our beginning teachers - enjoy!

Kevin Smith -
Today I realized that it is extremely hard to get the kids' full attention. This time around it was very difficult to explain my lesson because the kids' minds were everywhere. They were watching other kids play and were just looking around everywhere. What was also different about this time was the kids' understanding of the book I read. The kids were aware of the fruits in the book and were able to tell the difference between them.

David Holmes - It wasn't similar to last week - it was kind of better. The kids paid attention more, and I think every week that gets better. They draw very well and paid closer attention to what they were drawing this time. I think I made the story/learning activity a better and more fun experience for them by using their language/ way of talking about the things that they like.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Reflections by David, Hazle and Kevin

Today our SYEP interns read a bunch of books to the Harvard Street Pre-K Incentive Program kids in the garden. Soon we will be introducing large garden libraries at all of our Early Childhood locations that introduce themes like farm-to-table, insects, math in the garden, recipes, and bringing in beauty with flowers. Some of the books David, Hazle and Kevin read today were the "Plants Parts Series" by Vijaya Bodach:
Roots, Leaves, and Flowers.

Below they have written responses to their experiences working one-on-one with the kids and figuring out how best to tell a story.

Kevin Smith -
Today was a learning experience for me. The children were very respectful and were willing to listen to me read. I enjoyed gaining a new connection with the children. The most difficult part of the lesson was having to explain myself more than one time. For the children to understand, I had to break down my words in children's terms. Overall my experience was great because I became closer with the kids by understanding them more.

Hazle Crawford -
What could I do better? Ask more questions to the kdis.
What did I like? I liked the fact that the kids were fantastic and enthusiastic with smelling and drawing plants.
What was successful? Everything was successful as a group we did excellent and accomplished our jobs.
What was difficult? The difficult part was at the end when a little boy was acting shy.
But overall I would give today's class a "B+".

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Teas-ing your Tastebuds

Today's New York Times has an article on making your own tea using herbs and wild plants from your garden, front porch, back yard, wherever you find them. After reading this article I thought, why not just stop by a City Blossoms garden for some of these ingredients? Some of the tasty tea herbs we grow (on purpose) are:
Pineapple Mint
Chocolate Mint
Lemon Verbena
Lemon Balm
And more! Just ask! Besides that, we can help you identify some of the wild "weeds" in this article, such as burdock, plantain, dandelion, and mullein. One of our best locations to see all of these growing vigorously is Marion Street Intergenerational Garden. Monday and Wednesday nights we are there 4-7; come stop by to volunteer, ask questions, hang out or pick some herbs!
Also check out herbal tea advice from You Grow Girl

Macaroni Caprese!

We like to shake things up a little bit here at City Blossoms. Well, actually, we just like to figure out weird ways to get kids to eat all of the tasty delicious food in the garden without freaking out and staying in their picky-appetite shells. So instead of a traditional Insalata Caprese today, we decided to go for something a little more familiar, and made sort of a Macaroni Caprese. We used whole wheat macaroni (semi familiar) and added the traditional caprese ingredients: tomato (familiar), basil (umm sorta familiar...), and fresh mozzarella (what the heck?!). Tossed with some olive oil, salt and pepper, this is an easy and cool pasta salad to prep on a day when even our eyelids are sweating. And judging from these pics, it's pretty tasty, too!