Give it Up for Calendula!

7.26.13-RosaParks-YMCA_IMG_1714Summer in San Francisco is different from almost everywhere else. Cool and foggy, highs in the 60s, and patches of sun in-and-out of the day. A great air-conditioned City to balance the scorching heat of the north, south and east bay. Sometimes we don’t even know how lucky we are! And, when you’re out of school in the summer, everything is cool and fun. Take Friday, July 26th for instance. Another day to have fun in the garden with the YMCA Buchanan kids.
7.26.13-RosaParks-YMCA_IMG_1717Today after reading the garden rule, the youth learned about recycling with the green, blue and black bins. Then they went on a scavenger hunt throughout the schoolyard finding trash and paper products to recycle. No matter how many times you recycle, you can always learn more about what can really go in the bins. Great to start at a young age!

The second activity of the day was gleaning Calendula flowers from a bed to prep for new growth. Everyone got to pick three flower each. Calendula (pot Marigold) species have been used traditionally as culinary and medicinal herbs. The petals are edible and can be used fresh in salads or dried and used to color cheese or as a replacement for saffron. A yellow dye can be extracted from the flowers. Calendula are considered by many gardening experts as among the easiest and most versatile flowers to grow in a garden, especially since they tolerate most soils. In temperate climates, seeds are sown in spring for blooms that last throughout the summer and well into the fall.

For their reward and with time to spare, the youth got to find and eat one ripe strawberry a piece, a class ending tradition while supplies last!