Spring in the garden

Lots of happy students learning and working together in our Outdoor Classroom!


An early start at the VHE Outdoor Classroom!

From Parent and Garden Committee Member, Chris Frakes:

Here are the milk jug greenhouses Ms. Ostertag’s class planted last week. (Note the penguin duct tape to go along with the snow…) We’re doing a comparison project where the student pairs will start the same type of seed indoors sometime in the next couple of weeks and we’ll see which plants are hardier when it is finally time to transplant into our garden box at the end of May. We’ve got 2 types of heirloom tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, beets, and red and orange bell peppers started in our greenhouses.

An early start at the VHE Outdoor Classroom!

Getting Ready for Terrace Town

Terrace Town takes place Friday, February 28th and Saturday, February 29th downtown at Monona Terrace.  Come see the work of our creative third graders and check out the cities they’ve built — all from recycled materials and living plants!

You'll never guess where these plants are growing!

Look what’s growing on inside our children’s classroom!


That's right!  Right beneath a grow light hung beneath a white board!

A great place to hang a grow light! Who would’ve thought? Garden Parent Volunteer, Kurt Runzheimer, that’s who!

Our third graders waiting for their live "roofs" to grow for there Terrace Town buildings.

Our third graders waiting for live “roofs” to grow for their Terrace Town buildings.


In our students’ own words : mini-greenhouses from milk jugs

On Thursday, the 4th and 5th graders from Ms. Gunderson’s class and their 1st grade buddies in Ms. Butler’s class got together for some winter gardening! They gathered lots of gallon milk jugs, a few other supplies, and some helpful parent volunteers to do winter sowing (check out the link to find out what that is). Watch this space for progress reports as the weather gets warmer! Exclamation points, capitalization, and smiley faces are all from the students.


I like that I made my greenhouse. I cut open the jug and put in dirt and seeds. It felt good and I had fun working with my buddy. – Isaac

I like best about our greenhouse is that both of us did all of it. First we cut it and my buddy pretended the milk jug was a mouth. I was putting the dirt into it. I had a lot of fun with my buddy and I can’t wait to do it again. – unsigned


I liked that it was easy and an awesome gardening tool. It’s really nice to be able to garden in winter. I felt really good. And excited that we were going to have food and flowers soon. – Grace

My buddy was very happy and encouraged me to help. Me and my buddy planted pumpkins. – Cady

I loved working with our buddies. They were fun and funny to work with. I liked the concept of the greenhouses and I thought that maybe we could eat our vegetables in the summer. I liked it. – Emilia

What did I like about my greenhouse? Well it was GREAT. It was a milk carton like everyone’s and it was sugar snap peas. I think my buddy and I will have the most beautiful garden. -Eden

What I liked best about my greenhouse was putting tomato seeds in it. And putting a lot of dirt in it. What we did was put a lot of dirt in the milk jug, and we put seeds in it. I felt really good because I was working with my partner. It was fun because we did everything together. And we both played with a lot of dirt. – Kia

The thing I liked most was planting the seeds. I felt bored because I don’t like gardening. – Aidan

I love that they are homemade. I felt very artsy. – Ingrid

I like my greenhouse because it has dirt. It was fun to make with my buddy. – unsigned

I liked the greenhouses because we got to plant sunflowers! We cut the carton so there was a mouth. Then we put in dirt and then we planted sunflowers. It was really fun. My buddy was very fun to play with because she was very kind and silly. – Emma

What I liked best about the greenhouse was the pea pods that me and my buddy put on it. I also liked getting my hands dirty. – Elliot

I liked how we used the milk cartons for the green house, and it was also really fun to get help from them. But the best part is that it was fun playing with the dirt and getting MESSY. – Christina


I like my greenhouse because it is growing pumpkins. We filled it with dirt and it felt gooey and smushy. I like working with my buddies because they are always cheerful. – Maddie

I love GARDENING! 🙂  Me and my buddy planted sunflowers, and we drew plants on the side of the greenhouse. – Molly

What was best about our greenhouse was the soil. I felt awesome. The dirt was the best. I love dirt. It was fun working with my buddy because she’s nice and sweet. – Amaya

It was fun working with my mom and buddy. It was way more fun than I thought it would be. – Steve


Winter 2010 048As the temperature dips below -15F, we have to ask ourselves how the perennials, buried there so deeply underground, will manage to spring to life in just a few short months. How do they do that? Is it possible the snow will melt, the grass will green, and we’ll find swallowtail butterflies dipping and dodging in the breeze?

Yes, garden friends. We will.

In the meantime, check out this eye candy from the GROW Coalition and get on your planning hat. Spring is just around the corner.

OK, just around the frozen corner.

How to have a great summer evening

The herb spiral peeking out from the side of the summer squash and pumpkin patch.

The herb spiral peeking out from the side of the summer squash and pumpkin patch.

First, come to the garden and meet up with friends.

Hanging out with sunflowers and the Little Free Library.

Hanging out with sunflowers and the Little Free Library.

Next, check out everything. Vegetables, flowers, weeds, bugs, books. Notice the interesting ways vegetables flower, make seeds, and grow into food.

Room 126's raised bed has been growing like crazy.

Room 126’s raised bed has been growing like crazy.

Rain garden plants taller than an incoming 4th grader.

Rain garden plants taller than an incoming 4th grader.

Then, see how tall you are.

There was a lot of watering action.

There was a lot of watering action.

Watering gets everyone moving. Somehow I didn’t get a picture of the 12-year-old former VHE gardener who took charge of the hose with happy and wet results.

The evening's bounty.

The evening’s bounty.

If you find some food ready to eat, pick it and share a sample.

You can try out being extra tall in the garden.

You can try out being extra tall in the garden.

Water some more, stand on some sturdy stuff, and admire the colors. How many shades of green are there?

Beauty shot of a baby pepper.

Beauty shot of a baby pepper.