Abbracci Bakery Grills in the Garden

pizza1.jpgChris & Assunta Corpora owners of Abbracci Bakery and Cafe we’re kind enough to spend an afternoon in the school garden teaching us how to make quality pizza dough, pesto, sauce and grilled pizza. The students prepared tomatoes for sauce, picked lots of herbs, garlic, edible flowers and onions while the grills and prep tables were set up in the garden.


Assunta explained how to use the proper pizza equipment like the board and peel she shows here. It was interesting to hear the history and reasons behind many of the ingredients used in different styles of pizza. So now we know why we use so much basil…to cut the acid of the tomato in our sauce.


Chris tosses a pie for made with a quick acting yeast. He cooked pies on the grill for 95 students in about 12 minutes whle Assunta and I cut the pies as fast as possible. The trick is to get the grill really hot and stay right with it.


Amending the Soil (for Hardneck Garlic)


Measure distances accurately.
Calculate area of a triangle and rectangle.
Use ratios and proportions.

Day One
Garlic Students began practicing area calculations in the classroom. We started with basic rectangular shapes, using the formula A=LW, We used measurements taken of the garden beds from a previous lesson. We researched the recipe on the back of the SoPo bag, and reduced it down to 1 lb of supplement for every 160 square feet. Students made a plan to divide the area by 160 to solve for the correct amount of SoPo. Next, students practiced calculating area of a triangle using the formula A=(1/2)BH. Again, they used the ratio of 1 lb of SoPo for every 160 square feet.

Day Two
When familiar with the process of calculating area of triangles and squares, the class went out to a plot in the garden reserved for a crop of garlic. The plot was irregular in shape, yet could be visualized as a rectangle and triangle. Measurements were taken of the triangle’s base and height and of the rectangle’s width and length.

digWe noticed that the triangle’s height was the same as the rectangle’s width. Students calculated square footage, then related the area of the garden plot to the SoPo recipe, weighed the correct amount, and worked as a team to mix SoPo into the soil.

Day Three
Students planted garlic bulbs in the fertile soil. Additional Bone Meal was added to each hole before the bulb was placed in the ground and covered. Projected harvest is August of 2008.

Papyrus from the Nile delta and Paper-making

PapyrusEvery week we seem to find something new in the garden that makes a connection to history. This week we were studying the first civilizations in the world and read about one of Egypts leading exports, papyrus, which grew in the Nile delta. Egyptian rulers created a monopoly for this writing material which lasted nearly 4000 years until the invention of paper. Papyrus lost its commercial appeal soon after and the process for making this material into a parchment able to be used for writing was lost for a few thousand years until a scientist/ professor discovered the lost art of Papyrus making.

Papyrus 2Just so happens we’ve been growing the Cyprus Papyrus plant in the water garden located in the back of our greenhouse for many years, using it as an ornamental. Students brought a few of these plants into the classroom where we tried some of the old methods of working with the papyrus stalks. First we peeled off the green outer layer/ skin before cutting the inner pith into long strips.

Next students tried different strategies for preparation such as weaving, hammering and soaking or soaking hammering and weaving until they got the desired product. Since it fiber are so strong the papyrus was also used by the Egyptians for making sandals, baskets and bowls. Since our plants were much smaller than the average of 15 feet grown along the Nile, we thought our stalks were better suited for weaving small baskets or placemats.

Here the girls show an example of their own Papyrus craftsmanship.

Flickr Guest Tiviet says…..

The raw material of papyrus paper comes from the plant Cyperus papyrus. This plant was quite versatile and was not only used in the production of paper but it was also used in the manufacture of boats, rope and baskets.

The stalks of the papyrus plant are harvested. Next the green skin of the stalk is removed and the inner pith is taken out and cut into long strips. The strips are then pounded and soaked in water for 3 days until pliable. The strips are then cut to the length desired and laid horizontally on a cotton sheet overlapping about 1 millimeter. Other strips are laid vertically over the horizontal strips resulting in the criss-cross pattern in papyrus paper. Another cotton sheet is placed on top. The sheet is put in a press and squeezed together, with the cotton sheets being replaced until all the moisture is removed. Finally, all the strips are pressed together forming a single sheet of papyrus paper.

THMS Harvest Reaps Ribbons (from the Soup)

BELFAST (Oct 1): Produce from the Troy Howard Middle School Garden Project sprouted 24 blue ribbons and 36 red ones Sept 21-23 in the Exhibition Hall at the Common Ground Country Fair in Unity.

THMS students, from left, Austin Tripp, Bridgett Littlefield and Katrina Lapham check out all the ribbons from the CGCF.

Planning for school’s entries at Common Ground began in January, with youth mapping and designing the spring school gardens, taste-testing varieties and ordering or saving seeds.

Each ribbon will be turned in for seed money with the following businesses: FEDCO, Johnny’s and Pine Tree Garden.

The THMS Garden Project was recently honored as the 2007 National School Garden Program. It also has been featured on WLBZ-TV (Channel 2) and New England Cable News for its successful approach to healthy living through an experiential- and place-based learning environment where all students can thrive.