planted garden

Author: Toni Dauwalter

I hope everyone is enjoying the summer!  If there is one positive to come from the summer of 2020, I would have to say that besides the extra time with the kids (most things cancelled) my garden is looking the best it ever has!  And I have been harvesting lots of yummy, fresh veggies for my family.  I would love to hear what you have been growing in your school and home gardens as well.  Please share in the ‘Leave a Reply’ section at the bottom!  We would LOVE to hear from you.

Here is a picture of my garden:

Beginning…

Middle…

Now…

Those pictures emphasize how it is truly AMAZING how those tiny seeds grow into such an abundant garden to my family!  

Our vision at MAITC is ‘Agriculture is valued by ALL’.  I believe that an easy intro into the world of agriculture is through the backyard or schoolyard GARDEN.  In the garden kids can use their innate curiosity to learn about the process of growing their own food, pollination, germination, dirt, insects, photosynthesis, seeds, and SO much more!  There is SO much to learn in the garden, but it can also be TASTY!  That is the focus of this week’s blog post.  Harvesting and eating.  During this current pandemic, food security and health are at the forefront of many people’s minds.  Growing food in your backyard that can increase your nutrition right now is more relevant than it ever has been.  And most people do not realize how easy and tasty it can be!  I hope that we can share this message with our children so they can get excited to continue growing food throughout their life!

Here are a few of my favorite things we have already made from food harvested from our garden this summer:  

Here is a video of me picking the veggies: 

You can still plant things NOW: 

Kale Chips 

These are EASY, super yummy, and VERY nutritious.  Just take your kale leaves, massage olive oil onto each one (my kids love doing this step).  Lay them on a cookie sheet in a single layer.  Sprinkle with seasoning of your choice (we love salt & pepper OR nutritional yeast).  Bake in the oven at 350 for 10-15 minutes or until they get crispy.  Watch them closely at the end – they can go from being crispy to burnt fast!

Check out this video of my kids eating them! 

Roasted Beets

Also, SUPER easy and packed with nutrients!  Wash beets, peel and cut into slices.  Toss in olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Lay in single layer on cookie sheet and roast in the oven at 425 for 25-35 minutes – watching them at the end to see when they get crispy, but not burnt.  YUM!  Serve with any meal…but, don’t put them on the table until you are ready to eat – my daughter has been known to come and eat them all before the rest of us have a chance!

Sun Pickles

This recipe is handed down from my family and is a great way to make pickles without having to heat up the kitchen and get out the canner.  I LOVE these super dilly pickles and they save in the fridge FOREVER (we have eaten them at Christmas before and they are still as good as the beginning).

Pick cucumbers at a good size for quartering.  Wash and rinse.  Bring the brine – ½ cup canning salt, 2 cups vinegar and 6 cups water- to a boil and let cool.  Find a gallon size jar.  Lay 2 grape leaves (I find wild grape leaves in my yard…look around, you should be able to find some), 2 garlic cloves and a dill head in the the bottom of the jar.  Then quarter the cucumbers and fill the jar half-way.  Then put the same grape leaves, dill & garlic layer, repeat with cucumbers and the grape leaves, dill and garlic on the top.  Pour cooled brine over the pickles.  Put plastic wrap on the jar and put a rubber band around.  Leave jar in the sun for 3 days.  Move jar to the refrigerator and ENJOY!

I also want to share a fun loan-able lesson kit that your Regional Specialists have to share with teachers.  It uses cooking vegetables to teach math and science concepts.  The lesson plan can be found on the Matrix and is called Foodmaster: Vegetables.  The loan-able kits can have everything you need for the lesson.  Reach out to a Regional Specialist closest to you if you would like to reserve it for the 2020-2021 school year.  

Please reach out to me if you need more resources for starting a schoolyard garden.  If you couldn’t tell from above – gardening is a hobby and passion of mine!  I’d love to share my passion and excitement with you!

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