What’s Happening on the Farm?

It’s been a busy winter getting the farm ready for El Niño and spring planting. Here are just a few highlights:

The middle school students have been learning about water conservation and
have been working hard to help on projects to capture and hold the precious
rainwater we receive this year.

In January, we hosted a very successful Rain Barrel Distribution, in partnership
with Tree People and Rainbarrels International. We sold over 100 rain barrels
and applied the proceeds towards purchasing 10 barrels for the school as well as
rain gutters for the chicken shed and tool shed.
Another great way to catch rainwater is with rain gardens – we built one next to
the chicken coop to hold on to the rain barrel overflow. It’s planted with California
native shrubs and trees which will thrive in our Mediterranean climate.
The monarch sanctuary received some much needed love from Liz and Alexia
from Monarch Madness who spent many hours clearing Bermuda grass, planting
native milkweed and installing drip irrigation. We’re already spotting dozens of
We are thrilled to have received the generous donation of a Sun Hive, which is
one of the few designs that allows for truly biodynamic beekeeping. It will be the
first one in Southern California and promises to serve as a unique attraction to
our campus (for bees and humans!). The students are creating a “lasagna
garden” in the apple tree ring in preparation for planting a new bee garden to be
planted with native bee-attracting plants.
We built a permanent berry trellis at the far end of the row beds – they seem to
be thriving in this semi-shady location. We hope to be harvesting blackberries
and boysenberries next spring!
We are slowly converting the hillside between the fairy ring and the lower row
beds into a permaculture food forest. Thanks to a grant from Jane Goodall’s
Roots & Shoots, we have begun work by digging a series of berms and swales
designed to capture rainwater. The berms will be planted with a variety of native
and non-native perennial trees and shrubs. The children are excited to be a part
of the project and are looking forward to watch our forest evolve.
New trees in the orchard include a persimmon (planted by 3rd grade for Tu
B’Shvat), a peach, and a nectarine. All of our trees have been lovingly cared for
by the 5th & 6th grades. Blossoms are in abundance!