Lakeview Elementary School’s organic garden has seen tremendous growth since the start of 2016. In addition to new fencing, harvesting Napa cabbage and learning to save pumpkin seeds in the kindergarten area, the garden has expanded to the other side of the school (Valley View Street) with five new raised beds. Home Depot in Brea has generously offered 50 percent off supplies for the raised beds. The beds were painted by Lakeview parent volunteers and children from all grade levels.
In the Preppy K and kindergarten classrooms, students were able to observe monarch larvae (caterpillars) on milkweed in the garden, as well as some in captivity that transformed from caterpillar to chrysalis to adult butterfly. The classes released them as soon as they could fly.
The school was also lucky enough to obtain $4,000 worth of donated vermicompost. With the help of a few Lakeview dads, El Dorado High School volunteers, yoga instructors and community members, over 1,000 pounds of the rich organic compost was transported to the garden.
Once compost was added to the raised beds, Lakeview’s childcare staff and children volunteered to take care of the gardens. There are plans to plant popcorn corn, beans and pumpkins in the coming months.
Childcare staff and children have also started two worm compost bins in their classrooms. They made worm bedding out of recycled shredded paper and cardboard, and have been feeding the worms pumpkins, banana peels, apple cores, and other vegetable and fruit scraps. The worms will process the paper and organic waste into fresh compost for the plants.
There is even more to look forward to this year! PTA parents Sharon Harris and Vivian Chern applied for a few grants, and were awarded a total of $10,000 from Lowes and the Orange County Education Foundation to spend on edible organic gardening-related projects! There will be an organic garden assembly on Monday, Jan. 25, that will introduce many of these gardening topics.