It's Radish Time! - by Barbara Percival
After a dismal spring, we've finally reached our most favorite time of the year - the beginning of the spring harvest. This week, for the first time in a long while, we were able to harvest from the garden all the produce we needed. Several Third Grade classes enjoyed harvesting for a menu of arugula-pumpkin seed pesto and a big salad with lemon-herb dressing.
But the most fun was the radish harvest with the first graders - a tradition at Watkins that older students often remember fondly. These are the radishes that the students "planted" a month ago. (Because of the lousy weather, they made seed tapes instead of putting the seeds in the ground.) The radishes are ready right on schedule, even though as late as last week we were worried that they would be small. But they were huge and gorgeous. We usually plant Easter Egg radishes, which come in beautiful varieties of pink, red, purple and white (like Easter Eggs!) and are very mild. The chatter during the harvest was fun to hear - "Ooh, I got a purple one!" or "Look at how big mine is!" The children marveled at how the large radish plants grew from the "teeny tiny" seeds.
After an exciting harvest, the students trooped up to the FoodLab, radish proudly in hand, and settled down to make observational drawings of their plants. In short order they created amazing drawings capturing the detail and color of their radish.
We saved the best until last, of course. After making a list of "healthy snacks" that they could enjoy instead of cookies and chips, the children made their own snack - a whole radish, including stems and leaves, a piece of whole wheat bread, some good butter, and a bit of salt. Using the stems and leaves as a handle, the children dipped their radishes into the salt, took a bite, then took a bite of the bread and butter. They quickly learned that the (mild) bite of the radish could be counterbalanced by a quick bite of bread and butter. Their only regret was that there were no seconds!
- Written by Barbara Percival