The Kids are in the Garden! Seed, Grow and Learn in the Edible Garden

Kids from 2-4 years old in the Rodef Shalom Preschool have planted seeds and are tending to them under the grow light until they are ready to be planted outdoors in the Edible Garden.

kids looking at seedlings growing in grow light

Seedlings growing under the grow light at Rodef Shalom Preschool

 

According to the teachers at Rodef Shalom Preschool,

When a child is involved in a gardening activity such as planting seeds, there are many concepts to explore, discover, and learn. The children explore math skills. They are exposed to literacy through stories about gardening. They learn social skills by working with other children and learning to care for and nurture a living thing. Through gardening, plants grow and children grow too.

Planting the seeds for the Edible Garden

Step 1: plant the seeds

Watering seeds in The Rodef Shalom Preschool

Step 2: water the seeds


Seedlings planted by kids in Rodef Shalom Preschool

Step 3: tend to seedlings under the grow light

 

Lettuce growing in Rodef Shalom Preschool

Time to make salad!

 

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Container Gardening Ideas – Try a Self Watering Container!

If your garden plan includes growing fruits and vegetables in containers, try a self-watering container. The Edible Garden at Rodef Shalom is using self-watering containers to take the guesswork out of watering and allow us to water the garden less frequently. On Sunday May 1st, Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade students of the Jacob Religious School planted frost tolerant seeds in the first 2 of our 16 EarthBoxes.  


kids gardening in EarthBox self watering container

2nd Grade students assemble the EarthBox self-watering container

Self-watering containers can be purchased from a number of places or you can make your own.

Jacob Religious School Students planting in self watering container

Add soil, dolomite and fertilizer to the EarthBox

 

Kids put cover on self watering planter

A cover is used to stop weeds and protect from rain and drought

The cover is one of the secrets of the EarthBox gardening success!   After the cover is on, holes are cut and seeds or seedlings are planted.  It is too early to plant most of our fruits and veggies so we planted frost resistant seeds; peas, carrots and radishes.  One week later……..

Peas and radish sprouts planted by the children

Peas and radish planted one week ago

There are many important advantages to using a self-watering container:

  1. a reservoir of water is held in the bottom of the container so you will water less often
  2. the reservoir of water allows the plants to soak up water through the roots as needed 
  3. the plants benefit from deep watering without washing away the expensive fertilizer
  4. the prevention root rot
  5. the yield in your garden is increased

According to the EarthBox website,

Our maintenance-free, award-winning, high-tech growing system controls soil conditions, eliminates guesswork and more than doubles the yield of a conventional garden…with less fertilizer, less water and virtually no effort!

Want to learn more about growing fresh food in containers?

  • Come to one or all of the Free Vegetable Garden Workshops in Pittsburgh at Rodef Shalom Congregation! Click here for dates and times.
  • Josho.com has instructions to build your own self watering container.
  • These books have helpful step-by-step instructions for container gardening:

Amazon Book link to Garden AnywhereAmazon Book link to Incredible Vegetables

Celebrating Earth Day – Go Green with Recycled Newspaper Seedling Pots, CSA and More

It may be too early to plant vegetables and fruits outside, but it’s the perfect time to plant seedlings indoors.  A few weeks ago, children at Rodef Shalom Congregation started tomatoes, carrots, chives, lima beans, parsley, squash, peas, snapdragons and pansies from seeds for The Edible Garden.

The Rodef Shalom Preschool kids planted their seeds in biodegradable seedling trays. 

Rodef Shalom Preschool Seedlings

The older kids in the Rodef Shalom Religious School made seedling pots out of recycled newspaper then planted their seeds. 

Edible Garden Seedlings in Recycled Paper Pots

Making recycled newspaper pots is fun, easy and a perfect Earth Day project for the entire family!  Use only black & white newspaper because the ink is soy-based and not toxic for growing edibles.

Check out this how-to video for Newspaper Seedling Pot Instructions.

Becoming earth friendly can be a family affair!  Do you need a little kid-friendly and eco-friendly inspiration?  Here are some wonderful ideas:

Before you put household items in the recycle bin, take a look at these ideas to reuse these items in your garden.

Here’s an idea to save for later when your garden is grown – recycle your edible plants and make a beautiful Edible Bouquet.  This idea, and others ways to recycle your edible plants, are highlighted on the blog:  Eat Drink Better.

Edible Bouquet

Courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens

One last idea – Participate in Community Supported Agriculture at Rodef Shalom!

Shop for local, organic food delivered directly to Rodef Shalom Congregation from Isadore Foods. Order vegetables, fruits, free-range chicken and eggs, meats, and dairy products from family-owned farms in Pennsylvania and Ohio. Weekly and bi-weekly subscriptions, as well as a la carte items, are available. Pick up your order on Thursdays at Rodef Shalom from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m. Orders are packed in easy-to-carry bags. Click here to learn more about Community Supported Agriculture. 

Go towww.isadorefoods.com 

Become a new customer by clicking “join” and filling out the registration form.

Add items you want to buy to the online shopping cart.

For 10% off your first order, use code “postcard.”

Check out by choosing the Rodef Shalom pickup location and entering your payment information.

After you place your order, you will receive a confirmation email with your delivery date, time, and location.

Questions? Call (412) 400-4721.  

 

How are you celebrating Earth Day? Please share your ideas!


Composting with Kids

 

kids composting

Help your kids develop their green thumb by teaching them to compost.  Composting is a fun family project that’s easy to do and great for the environment. Teach your tykes how simple it is to recycle waste and turn it into nutritious soil for your yard or plants. The micro-organisms that make the compost, need an even mixture of “greens” and “browns”. They also need water and air for a perfect compost formula. Here’s the compost recipe:

One part “brown” (dead dried plants – they provide the carbon): dried leaves, pine needles, straw, hay, wood shavings or chips.

One part “green” (fresh living plants – they provide the nitrogen): grass clippings, vegetable and fruit leftovers, plants, coffee grounds.

Place layers of brown, green, brown, green, brown into the composting bin, being sure to add water after every layer – make sure that the compost is always moist so the microorganisms can do their job. Stir every 3-4 weeks and voila… nutritious, rich soil!

A couple of composting no-no’s: NO meats, dairy, oil, fats, diseased plants or pet droppings!

Compost Stew

A great book to read is, “Compost Stew” written by Mary McKenna Siddals and illustrated by Ashley Wolff  “Apple cores, bananas bruised, coffee grounds with filters used.  Just add to the pot, and let it all rot into compost stew!”

Repost via our friends –eco ike: March 2011.

Follow eco ike on facebooktwitter!

Vermicomposting for Kids at Rodef Shalom Preschool

Rodef Shalom Preschool Worm Composting Workshop

The students, parents and teachers at Rodef Shalom Preschool gathered around Ms. Nancy from the Pennsylvania Resources Council to learn about composting with worms.

What goes in a worm composting bin?

 

We all learned what goes in a worm bin and what doesn’t.  No citrus please!

 

Tearing newspaper for the worm composting bin

 

Time to make our own worm bin for the preschool!  First tear newspaper into strips and put them in the bin.  Then wet the paper until it is moist but not too wet. Hide food for the worms at the bottom of the bin under the paper.  How about a banana peel?  Ok, now let’s add the worms!

Kids looking at worms

 

The worms, “red wigglers”, are not native to Pittsburgh so please don’t release them into our environment.  Of course we had to test the wiggle power of the worms!

Kids holding worms

 

 

Come visit the Rodef Shalom Preschool and check out the worms!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Container Gardening Ideas for Fresh Food

Edible Container Garden

How can you grow fresh food and beautiful gardens in small spaces?

Let’s say that you love to garden and the thought of growing your own food appeals to you. Perhaps you also think that you don’t have enough space or that you physically can no longer get down and dig in the dirt, well there is a solution, how about a container garden?

HGTV Container Garden

Growing plants, both edible and otherwise, as well as fruits and nuts is possible for most individuals. All it takes is a few containers and some ingenuity. Planting containers can occupy small balconies, even smaller ones can rest comfortably on windowsills. Container gardens enable those restricted by space, physical disabilities, and location to be be successful in creating their own gardens.

With a container garden, you can offer your plants optimal soil conditions as well as move the containers according to their sunlight needs. It is also a great way for kids to get involved in the education of growing their own food as well as a way to encourage responsibly.

Container Gardening with Kids

Vegetable Garden on a Deck

Are you interested in starting a container garden? Keep an eye on the Rodef Shalom Congregation website for a two workshops: “Vegetable Gardening 101” and “Growing Vegetables in Containers”.

Until then, here are a few resources to get you started:

Happy gardening !!!!

What Everybody Ought to Know About The Edible Garden at Rodef Shalom Blog

Introducing the one, the only, the blog you have been waiting for…..

Welcome to the Rodef Shalom Edible Garden Blog!!!!

What, you say you haven’t heard of us and you have no idea what an Edible Garden is, are you kidding? I thought for sure everyone knew, alright here it is from the beginning.

A very civic minded member of Rodef Shalom Congregation applied for, and Rodef Shalom Congregation was awarded, a grant from the Union of Reform Judaism to create and build an edible garden. The garden will be planted in containers on the property of Rodef Shalom Synagogue in Shadyside. Plantings will include edible plants, fruits and nuts.

The garden’s goal is to provide a Jewish educational program for preschool children, religious school children and interested congregants as part of a Life Long Learning Program. Additionally, it will aim to highlight the Jewish value of healthy and sustainable food choices and to strengthen the traditional Jewish connection between food and social responsibility.

The containers have been purchased, the plants selected, we await the official arrival of spring so that we can get planting!! Check back with us often, we will provide updates regarding planting dates and pictures! Better yet, subscribe to the blog and receive new posts in your email.

Comments are welcome, remember we are a family blog, the only dirt we want here is well, the real stuff !!