Pedagogy of the Plants

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First Sun Gold Tomatoes!

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…best warm, right off the vine.

Written by Cameron Brooks

June 3, 2011 at 2:21 pm

Estival Starts

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Sunflower Start

Sprouted from fallen kernels, two young sunflowers occupy the southwest corner of the vegetable bed among okra and Thai red pepper comrades. Welcome.

Solanum Starts

The first tomatoes appear mid-June amidst hopes of an extended growing season (likely, if this winter’s as mild as last).

Written by Cameron Brooks

June 20, 2013 at 5:27 pm

5 Minute Harvest

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A five minute stroll around veggie beds at school fills a small sack with figs, okra, peppers, and tomatoes. Fruits and vegetables planted by kids just taste better.

Written by Cameron Brooks

July 29, 2012 at 6:00 pm

2012 Summer School Veggies

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After a trip down to the coast, I biked to school this evening to check out our class vegetable bed.  Titian tomatoes split from rain, and the pepperocini weigh heavy on stalks.

Written by Cameron Brooks

June 11, 2012 at 8:09 pm

Two-Wheeled Foraging

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Estival adventures came to a close last Sunday in a crescendo of violent afternoon thunderstorms.  Rinsed and shaken, the collective olfactory symphony was deafening, so I snapped on a pannier and biked to school.  As a steam ring rose around the bus loop, the quart jar filled with sweet cherry tomatoes.

In a former life, the boring, vacant duplexes at the end of Boulevard were filled with children.  Once a neighborhood Headstart center covered with hand-painted kids, it sat derelict for years while rosemary enjoyed the absence of groundskeepers.  Before contractors arrived, I dreamed of turning the building into a small neighborhood school of the arts while picking sprigs for new red potatoes. Read the rest of this entry »

Summer School Veggies

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The okra is delicious, but after three inches it becomes woody and loses that unmistakable viscosity. Take a photo walk around the bed…

Honeydew Melon, Cucumis melo

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This is the Trellis Summer.  Sun gold tomatoes at home and in our classroom bed find bambooed support culled from an invasion in the school’s wildlife habitat fit for a family of pandas. Ladders of hemp twine scale vertical bamboo cuts, which (so far) supply enough structure for the bite-sized alkaline orbs.  But it’s the honeydew I’m worried about.   More about my first go at honeydew…

Written by Cameron Brooks

June 12, 2011 at 11:24 pm

Arugula, Eruca sativa

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This year’s end of the year party was held in the art teacher’s garden.  During a tour I noticed that her arugula was flowering like mine.  She said it’s called “bolting” when greens begin forming flowerets.  After that, they produce significantly fewer leaves.  I’ll eat the flowers before seeding begins.

This afternoon, my neighbor caught me carrying a couple plants I’d sprouted from a pumpkin we carved in class last October.  The middle school math teacher-turned chef-turned college professor-turned retired gardener and world traveler, offered greens from his garden, then gave me a tour and advice for growing greens, fruit trees, tomatoes, herbs, and potatoes.

While watering the garden, a young praying mantis headed for higher ground along the edge of the raised bed against the side of the house.  A large spider took notice and peered down at a rival killer.

I turned for a moment to water the tomatoes, and when I looked back the mantis and spider were gone.

Click the link below for a vegan arugula recipe by Isa Chandra Moskowitz:

Chickpea Picatta