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Seed to Harvest Garden Updates


The 2017 Garden Season is About to Begin!

posted Apr 8, 2017, 1:46 PM by Kristina Fernandes

Classroom Planting Sessions start Monday, April 10.  We are very excited for the garden season to start!  It has been a long winter and we are ready to get outside and get dirty.

The Seed to Harvest plan for this year is below (click to enlarge):


This year, we will continue the grade level planting that we began last year.  This year the plants and lessons assigned to each grade are:

GradePlant TypeGarden ConceptSecondary Garden ConceptNutrition ConceptCore Concepts
KindergartenFlowersParts of a seed and how they growPlant PartsEating a RainbowGarden Words, Addition
FirstCabage FamilyWhat plants need to growPlant parts that we eatEat Your GreensGarden Words
SecondCarrot FamilySoil (Types of soil, what plants need)Root StudyHealthier Food ChallengeMeasurement, Addition
ThirdMarrow FamilyCompostingGarden MappingGarden Food CriticsVolume
FourthPotato FamilyPlant FamiliesPhotosynthesisFoods used in Cultural CelebrationsVolume
ACCESSHerbsInsects: Cycles and garden bugs (Friend or Foe?)Plant HistoryHealthier Food ChallengeGarden Words
ASAPPea and Bean Family

There are many ways for parent and student volunteers to get involved in the garden this year.  Check out the volunteer opportunities page for a listing of where you can help.

The STH Living Lab is open for business!

posted Sep 18, 2015, 3:11 PM by Kristina Fernandes   [ updated Sep 18, 2015, 3:15 PM ]

In November 2014, the Natick Education Foundation awarded the Ben-Hem Seed to Harvest committee with a $4,000 grant to build a living lab in one of our school's courtyards.  The greenhouse and elevated raised beds were ordered right away and arrived at the start of spring 2015.  The raised beds were in place before the end of the school year thanks to the help of parents and students.  Although the manufacturer claimed it could be put together in two days, the greenhouse wound up taking a lot longer to assemble.  But with the hard work and persistence of our parent volunteers, the roof was raised and the structure was in place before the 2015-2016 school year began.

From the beginning, the intent of the Living Lab was to create an outdoor space that could be used by teachers to hold classes, do experiments, and get messy.  This week, we began getting students in the space to do just that.  The Seed to Harvest committee is sponsoring several fall classes and activities for Ben-Hem classrooms.  On Friday, September 18, 2015, we had four different classrooms in the Living Lab learning about carrots, worms and lettuce.  In the next week we will have 15 more classes out there participating in outdoor activities focused on healthy eating, gardening, science and fun.

If you would like to get involved in any of these activities, please contact seedtoharvest@benhempto.org.

The Grand Opening of the STH Living Lab will be October 6, 2015 at the first PTO meeting of the year starting at 7:00 pm.  Parents, teachers and administrators are invited to experience the space firsthand, grab a refreshment and mingle with others in our community.

 

 

 



2015 Summer Activities Schedule

posted Jun 25, 2015, 3:46 PM by Kristina Fernandes   [ updated Jun 25, 2015, 4:06 PM ]

All Seed to Harvest Summer Activities are FREE and open to Ben-Hem families and their friends.  Please sign-up if you plan on attending.  This is not a firm commitment that you will attend, but it helps us plan for supplies, and you get email reminders as the date of the event approaches.

Not sure?  Check out pictures from the 2014 Summer Activities line-up to see what you are missing.

 Wed., July 1 @ 1:00 PMBubble Fun & Sidewalk Art
Come make giant bubbles, snake bubbles, and more!

 Tue., July 7 @ 4:30 PMRainbows in the Garden
Sponsored by Gardengate Academy in Natick. Come enjoy the garden and make a rainbow craft.

 Wed., July 29 @ 9:30 AMStories & Fun with Ms. Craig and Friends
Bring a blanket to sit on and come listen to a few summertime stories and afterward enjoy fun craft activities.

 Thu., August 13 @ 4:30 PMBike Wash
Bring your bike to ride around the school and wash it, and yourself, in our drive-thru sprinklers.

 Thu., August 20 @ 7:00 PMMovie in the Garden
Bring a blanket and enjoy a movie outside in the garden. Snacks to be provided. Movie to be announced as we get closer to the date.

 Wed., August 26 @ 4:30 PMGarden Paintings
Sponsored by Palettes in Natick. Come paint a picture of our garden in full bloom. Canvases, paint and brushes will be provided. Be sure to wear something you don't mind getting dirty.


Announcing Seed to Harvest Grant Wins!

posted Feb 18, 2015, 7:29 PM by Kristina Fernandes

While the planting season is over, the Seed to Harvest Committee is still hard at work preparing for next year.  One of our first priorities was to apply for several garden grants to help support garden improvements for the 2015-2016.  We are thrilled to announce that we have been awarded $6,000 in grant funds!

Whole Kids Foundation - School Garden Grant
Seed to Harvest was approved for a $2,000 grant!!
Thank you to Rebecca Hall for submitting
Funds will go toward general garden expenses

Natick Education Foundation (NEF) Grant
Ben-Hem was approved for a $4,000 grant!!
Funds will go toward putting a greenhouse and “Living Lab” educational garden in the big courtyard.

2013-2014 Season Wrap-Up

posted Feb 18, 2015, 7:22 PM by Kristina Fernandes

After a great year, the Seed to Harvest program wrapped up the season with some exciting fall activities.

Class Scarecrows
This fall, all classes at Ben-Hem were given the opportunity to make scarecrows to watch over the fall plantings in the Seed to Harvest garden.  Six classes stepped forward and created these colorful and creative garden helpers.

Potato Harvesting
Last year, students planted red and gold potatoes in cages in the back of the Seed to Harvest garden.  It was fun to watch them grow over the summer.  In September, several classes had the opportunity to harvest and count the potato yield.  They found 53 of them ranging in size from as small as a pea, to the size of a fist.  We also had the chance to talk a bit about how potatoes grow.

Fall Harvest Donation
Thanks to the help of our students, we were able to plant a fall crop and donate a box full of veggies to the Natick Service Council. The veggies were harvested by Ms. Letovsky's 2nd grade class and included celery, Swiss chard, Brussels sprouts, kale and herbs. The NSC was very excited to receive fresh produce and offered it at the next day's Food Pantry.

  
  

Announcing STH Summer Activities!

posted Jun 7, 2014, 6:06 PM by Kristina Fernandes   [ updated Aug 12, 2014, 7:17 PM ]

Seed to Harvest Summer Activities

The garden will be in full bloom this summer! Come enjoy the color, smells and tastes of our school garden by participating in one or more of these fun activities. All activities are free. No registration is needed (except for Rubber Duck Parade). More information and times will be available on seedtoharvest.benhempto.org soon.

July 1 @ 4:30p: Bubble Fun & Sidewalk Art

Come make giant bubbles, snake bubbles, and more!

July 7 @ 4:30p: Rubber Duck Parade
Decorate or dress-up your Rubber Duck before-hand and come show it off in our Rubber Duck Parade around the garden.  We will also have tracks set up so that kids can race ducks against each other.

Go to www.SignUpGenius.com/go/10C0D4EA5A729A7FB6-sthsummer to register.  We will deliver a Rubber Duck to you at least one week prior to the event.

July 30 @ 4:30p: Story Hour with Mrs. Wraight
Bring a blanket to sit on and come enjoy a few of Mrs. Wraight’s favorite summertime stories.

August 7 @ 4:30p: Bike Wash

Bring your bike to ride around the school and wash it, and yourself, in our sprinklers.

August 14 @ 7:00p: Movie in the Garden (Rescheduled from 8/13 to 8/14 due to weather)
Dr. Seuss' "The Lorax"

August 19 @ 4:30p: Garden Pictures
Come draw or paint pictures of our garden in full bloom.

If you will be participating and would like to help with any of these activities, please email seedtoharvest@benhempto.org.

It's Time to Plant!

posted May 7, 2014, 8:12 PM by Kristina Fernandes   [ updated May 7, 2014, 8:12 PM ]

The Seed to Harvest Garden has been full of activity.  Last month 15 classes planted seedlings, 15 classes participated in garden crafts to add color and fun to our school garden, and 10 classes adopted a garden bed.  It's really great to see so much participation!

May will be all about planting in the garden.  There are also a number of garden improvement projects that require hardworking volunteers.  We need to dig holes for colorful tire seats and wood stump benches.  We also need to complete the edging and clean-up between the beds to make them easier to maintain in the summer.  There is plenty to do, so if you are interested in getting involved, join us on Tuesday, May 6 at the PTO Meeting (7:00p) or email us at seedtoharvest@benhempto.org.

Adopt the Garden for a Week!

The Seed to Harvest Garden will be in full bloom this summer and we need your help to keep it running.  Volunteers are asked to sign up for garden maintenance in 1 week intervals to help with weeding, dead-heading flowers and harvesting ripened vegetables.  To sign-up, go to:

adoptthegarden.benhempto.org

Spring is here! Time to get the garden ready.

posted Mar 25, 2014, 3:15 PM by Kristina Fernandes

Spring is finally here!  There are already some bulbs sprouting in the Seed to Harvest garden.  It is still too early to start planting seeds outside, but it is the perfect time to get it ready.  On Friday, April 4 from 12:30 - 3:30, parents and students (after school) are invited to help in our initial garden clean-up effort.  There are leaves to rake, garbage to pick up, plants from last year to pull out, and soil to turn over.

In addition to the preparation of the actual garden, we also need to ensure that we have all of the supplies needed to make Seed to Harvest successful this year.  We will begin this effort by holding a Garden Drive from now until Sunday, April 20.  A Sign-up Genius page has been created with a list of all of the items needed.  You don't need to sign-up to bring an item, just follow the drop-off instructions below:

Garden Drive Sign-Up
  • Seeds can be sent into school with your student or placed in the PTO mailbox in front of the school.
  • Rinsed drink containers and decorations for pavers can be dropped-off in the garden behind the school (a bin will be left by the garden shed).
  • Please do not send coffee grinds or egg shells into school with your student.  Please drop-off in the garden behind the school (a bin will be left by the garden shed).
  • Please email seedtoharvest@benhempto.org to coordinate drop-off or pick-up of Landscaping Materials, Lumber, Soil or Plants.


Seed to Harvest Garden Update (September 24, 2013)

posted Oct 15, 2013, 7:47 PM by Kristina Fernandes   [ updated Oct 16, 2013, 5:35 AM by Ben Hem ]

We had a busy week in the Ben-Hem garden. On Wednesday, September 18, the Seed to Harvest (STH) team met with “15 Gardeners”, a knowledgeable and enthusiastic gardening group from Natick, who toured the garden and offered suggestions regarding the selection and care of plants in our perennial garden. They donated allium (big, cool looking round purple flowers) and crocus bulbs for students to plant this fall and enjoy as they bloom next spring.

Ben-Hem Night at Bill’s Pizzeria
We harvested over seven pounds of garden produce and herbs and shuttled it to Bill’s Pizzeria in Natick, where Ben-Hem families enjoyed pizza, salad, and socializing with other families that evening. We thank Bill’s for their hospitality and generous donation of $250.00 to the PTO. The crew at Bill’s is gearing up for the Bill’s 5K on Sunday, October 27, 2013 at 9:00 am in Newton. Register online at: http://bills5k.com/roadraces.html They would like to set a record for registered runners this year – so let’s have a good showing from the Ben-Hem community. Dress up in a Halloween costume and enjoy free pizza at Bill’s in Newton after the race.

Check out these Carrots

Ben-Hem second graders enjoyed one of the last days of summer in the garden. They harvested carrots, peppers, long and wiggly asparagus beans, and tomatoes, and observed butterflies and insects in their habitats. They took home what they picked along with samples of parsley, basil, and lavender from our herb garden. Students marveled at the tall sunflowers and corn plants and checked out the zinnias, marigolds, and kale and brussel sprout plants. Some extracted and collected seeds from dead marigold heads to plant next spring. Another group planted lettuce, Farmer’s Market Blend mesclun, and arugula to harvest this fall and include in the second grade class’s Thanksgiving donation to the Natick Food Pantry. How cool is that? We talked about frost and the effect on plants and asked the students to guess when the first hard frost will hit this fall.

A New Look

Six colorful panels painted by Ben-Hem parent and artist Kate Clancy were installed Friday evening. Take a stroll along the service road in back of the school to see them. Many thanks to Kate, our corporate sponsor Folan Contracting for the materials, and the volunteers who helped with the digging and installation.


Volunteers and Supplies Needed
The Seed to Harvest team welcomes your ideas for garden related activities and will schedule a meeting for those interested in learning about volunteer opportunities. We are presently seeking volunteers for the following activities. Green thumbs are not a prerequisite!

Composting: We are recruiting a parent(s) to work with cafeteria personnel and teachers on composting with the third and fourth grade students during their lunch periods.

Thanksgiving Food Panty Donation: Second grade parents to help nurture, harvest, and deliver garden produce to the Natick Food Pantry in November.

Weed Control: While we won’t turn away any help with weeding, we are especially looking for someone with a weed wacker who could trim back the weeds along the garden beds after school or during the weekend.

Farmer's Market: Parent volunteer(s) to work with students on a mini Farmer's market at Ben-Hem. We don't anticipate a large volume of produce, but third or fourth graders may be interested in participating (harvesting produce, weighing and/or packaging and conducting sale transactions).

Donations: We are accepting donations of tulip, daffodil and allium bulbs to plant this fall. We can also use large garden tools --- shovels, a pitch fork, rakes, and sturdy broom or hockey sticks to stir compost.

Seed to Harvest Garden Update (September 18, 2013)

posted Oct 15, 2013, 7:45 PM by Kristina Fernandes   [ updated Oct 16, 2013, 5:39 AM by Ben Hem ]

If you haven’t visited the Ben-Hem garden this school year – why wait any longer? This year we have a more diverse crop that includes sunflowers taller than even Ben-Hem parents! Check out the parsley, basil, thyme, rosemary and lavender in the herb garden; the peppers, asparagus beans, corn, kale, brussel sprouts and variety of tomatoes.

The garden space will soon have a new look – with colorful panels painted by Kate Clancy that will be installed this month. Many thanks to the parent volunteers who helped with the digging and installation.

Program organizers – Kathy Cappellano, Maureen McMahon, and Kate Clancy welcome your ideas for garden related activities. They are busy planning activities to involve Ben-Hem students and are presently seeking volunteers for the following:

Composting:  We are recruiting a parent(s) to work with cafeteria personnel and teachers to select and assign third and fourth grade students as compost team members during their lunch periods.

Thanksgiving Food Panty Donation: Second grade parents to help plant, nurture, harvest and deliver garden produce to the Natick Food Pantry in November.

Farmer's Market: Parent volunteer(s) to work with students on a mini Farmer's market at Ben-Hem. We don't anticipate a large volume of produce, but third or fourth graders may be interested in participating (harvesting produce, weighing and/or packaging and conducting sale transactions).

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