Monday, 18 June 2018

Orchard Garden CFE Day 6

Day 6 of our CFE at the Orchard Garden was filled with hands-on gardening work and learning experiences! Our day began with pruning tomato plants to accelerate the growth and ripening of the fruit. With the guidance and help of Emily, we learned about the reason(s) for pruning tomato plants and determined which clusters of leaves to remove. The process of pruning ensures that energy needed for the growth of a tomato plant is directed towards producing, as well as speeding up the ripening of the fruit--diverting energy away from creating more leaves.
Orchard Garden CFE teacher candidates hard at work!
Emily guiding us through the process of pruning tomato plants ~
After pruning the tomato plants, we proceeded to staking the tomato plants with bamboo poles. The staking of a tomato plant provides stability and support for the stem, as the plant continues to grow. We were told that the expected height of these tomato plants will be approximately 7 feet! 
Bamboo poles prior to being sawed
Nick hand sawing each bamboo pole 
Prior to the process of staking the tomato plants, each bamboo pole was measured and sawed in half, relative to the estimated height of the tomato plants. From beginning to end, we worked as a team to maintain the growth and health of the tomato plants. For example, while some individuals helped with sawing the bamboo poles, others gathered the ones already sawed and began staking the tomato plants. As each tomato plant was staked, fertile soil was collected and distributed around each plant, providing support and nutrients needed to boost their health and growth. It was both a fun and fulfilling experience, as we took on roles to ensure a smooth and productive task of tending the tomato plants!
The end product!
Our afternoon consisted of making bucket chairs and pieces of rope! The beginnings of bucket chairs involved a group of students who realized the many uses a bucket can serve--from holding items to being [repurposed into] a portable "chair." Pictured below is a bucket chair previously made by student(s). What makes it particularly special are leaves from (herb) plants were placed on peel and stick vinyl, traced and then cut out, resulting in decorations for the bucket chair.

Upon familiarization and being informed of the making of a bucket chair, we were given the opportunity to decorate and repurpose buckets into bucket chairs. As seen below, each of our designs was unlike the others, representing both individuality and creativity in connection to our surrounding environment. Overall, this activity was both enjoyable and relaxing, as we utilized materials--both natural and manmade, to bring a new vision to this object. This would be an engaging activity for students to participate in, because not only does it foster creativity, it also encourages recognizing materials that can be made anew.
Chantelle using a plantain leaf to produce a decoration for her bucket chair ~
Pictured above are some of the bucket chairs the teacher candidates designed and created!
Strands of rope made from dried daylily leaves 
Following the making of our bucket chairs, Susan led us through a mini workshop on how to make rope from a variety of materials--such as, dried daylily leaves, cloth, grass, and plastic bags! To kickstart this activity, we discussed the many uses of rope, including the purposes it serves.
Susan demonstrating how dried daylily leaves are used to make rope
We learned when making rope from dried daylily leaves, the leaves are to be first immersed in a tub of water for 5 to 10 minutes. After 5 to 10 minutes of being in water, they can be twisted and tightly coiled, made into a strand of rope. Our experience of rope-making together sparked conversation regarding ways it can be connected to the curriculum. For one, it can be linked to the sciences as the formation of a strand of rope resembles the DNA structure. Other ways it could be connected to the curriculum--particularly in the area of science, is identifying the specific properties of materials and realizing different purposes they can serve. With both activities, one could integrate it into mini unit/lesson on reduce, reuse, recycle, in that students can be challenged to reflect upon pieces of material they no longer have use for, but can be created into something functional! Through today's hands-on experiences, valuable and innovative knowledge was gained, promoting further interest in garden-based and outdoor education. I look forward to the new learnings that will emerge from the many activities and events we have this week!

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