Garden Projects and Events

June 2021

5th Grade class of 2021 Tree Planting Celebration

The 5th grade class planted a Vine Maple in what will be the Gatewood Learning Garden’s official Native Plant Section! With collaboration amongst the 5th grade teachers, every 5th grader attending in-person learning was able to contribute a shovelful of soil to the tree planting.

The tree helps to symbolize new beginnings after a year of hard work and sacrifice due to the Covid-19 Outbreak and subsequent lockdown of 2020/21. The 5th graders showed great perseverance over the course of the school year and we are proud to have them leave this tree as a legacy!

To learn more about the Vine Maple (Acer Circinatum), please visit:

Vine Maple, Acer circinatum

Summer Garden & Playfield Watering Opportunities!

Please help us keep the Gatewood Garden & Playfield watered and fresh this Summer for our student’s return to learning in the Fall! We have weekly watering slots available and we NEED YOUR HELP! You can choose to water the whole week or coordinate with friends to split a week of watering!

Duties include: Watering the Learning Garden daily when it’s hot out, or every couple days in cooler weather. The tree bags around the playfield will need to be filled just once a week (hose & spigot located behind the portable near the field).

Sign-up Using the Link Below:

May 2021

More Garden space to GROW!

Thanks to two 4th grade gators who practiced collaboration and teamwork skills, the Learning Garden now has a brand new cedar raised bed for growing! This additional grow space will be used to produce fresh veggies for our Gatewood students/families in need.

The raised bed also provides classroom teachers with the opportunity to engage in growing projects with their students. With four quadrants, the raised bed is long enough for an entire classroom to stand around for planting, scientific observation, nature journaling and more!

The bed currently features 8 different types of tomatoes, 5 different types of peppers as well as pumpkin and summer squash starts.

Tomatoes: Two Sweetie Cherry Tomatoes, Chocolate Cherry Tomato, Calypso Tomato, Roma Tomato, Beefsteak Tomato, Tomatillo, Aunt Ruby’s German Green Tomato, and Delicious Tomato

Peppers: Anaheim Pepper, Banana Pepper, Giant Marconi Pepper, Tequila Sunrise Pepper, Cayenne Pepper

Squash & Pumpkins: Summer Squash, Dill’s Giant Atlantic Pumpkin, Jack Be Little Pumpkin

May 2021

New Pea Trellis in the Garden!

With the help of the students from Room 19, the Learning Garden has a new pea trellis at the center of our garden! We are looking forward to watching as the sugar snap peas and royal burgundy bush beans climb up the sides!

May 2021

Seeds Available for Students to Take Home

Due to the overwhelming enthusiasm of our students with growing vegetables for the West Seattle Food bank, students can now find vegetable seed packets in the Gatewood Little Free Library outside the learning garden! This will allow kids the opportunity to grow, harvest and eat their own vegetables with their family.

There are currently six different types of vegetable seed ranging from Red Russian Kale to Mortgage Lifter Tomatoes. If you are interested in growing a specific vegetable/herb/flower in your garden, contact Ms. Emma at I have a large variety of seeds available and *might* have just what you are looking for.

Happy Growing!

May 2021

Earth Day Shout-Out!

Thank you Gatewood Gators for helping to make our planet a happier place! Students participated in a variety of Earth Day activities from planting veggie seeds for the West Seattle Food Bank, picking up litter in our parks and beaches as well as writing to Seattle School’s Nutrition Services asking for less plastic waste.

While just about everyone earned a fun Earth Day Warrior sticker, Mayzie in Ms. Ott’s class won the Earth Day drawing! Thanks to Mayzie’s hard work (which included participating in our April 24th Garden Work Party), her class earned Earth Day themed cupcakes!

April 2021

The Garden Arbor is Installed!

Be sure to check out the new cedar arbor that marks the entrance to our Learning Garden! There area variety of colorful Clematis and Passionflower vines that will grow up the sides of the arbor. In the planter boxes you will also find Orange and Yellow Marigold, multi-color Snapdragons, Blue Lobelia, and some sunflower sprouts grown by Room 19! We hope you enjoy it!

These flower images are examples of what we will see growing alongside our Arbor!

April 2021

April 22nd is Earth Day! Challenge Yourself by Helping the Planet and Community!

Here is some information about the Gatewood Earth Day Challenge! If you need an idea of how YOU can celebrate Earth Day, consider signing up for our Gatewood Grounds Work Party on Saturday, April 24. Details and sign in link are in the post below!

April 2021

Sign Up for the first Gatewood Grounds Work Party of the Spring on April 24th!

Spring is here, flowers are in bloom and the sun is beginning to shine! What better way to celebrate Earth Day (April 22nd) and help your school community than by volunteering for the first Grounds Work Party of the Spring.

You can sign up for a morning (10 am-12 pm) or afternoon (1 pm-3 pm) slot to show those weeds who’s boss! Click or copy and paste the link below:

I hope to see you there!

March 2021

Take home a “Do-It-Yourself” Tea packet from our Little Free Library!

To go along with our March Monthly Bonus (which is all about making your very own tea), the Gatewood Little Free Library will have “Do-It-Yourself” tea packets available to brew at home! While it is a lot of fun making your own tea, we understand that not every family has the time or resources. No worries!

The tea blend featured in our Little Free Library is made up of Mint, locally harvested Nettle and Lavender. Here are some of the healing properties of these herbs:

Mint: A famous healing herb, the menthol in mint is known to be a muscle relaxant which helps reduce stress during difficult times.

Nettle: Provides a variety of nutrients like calcium and magnesium which help to boost your immunity. This herb can also help relieve nausea!

Lavender: A relaxing herb that helps encourage better sleep. Multiple clinical trials have shown that lavender decreases anxiety and perception of pain as well!

February 2021

Try Some Garden Herbs in our Little Free Library!

If you would like to explore some family cooking with dried herbs from the garden, our Gatewood Little Free Library has packets of herbs available for you to take home!

The “Pizza Spices” packet is the herb blend used in the February Monthly Bonus recipe for garlic herb flatbread. You will also find Bay Leaves, Sage and Rosemary!

Please take one package at a time so we can spread the herb love. When you finish with your herb packet, you can COMPOST the packaging! Celebrate staying green!

January 2021

Two New Planter Boxes Added to the Garden!

Two matching wooden box planters were recently installed on either end of the learning garden bench. Planted in both are fragrant and beautiful Pineapple Sage plants. As seen in the photo, Pineapple Sage has distinctive red trumpet shaped flowers that will attract butterflies and hummingbirds to our garden!

A member of the mint family, this herb is native to Guatemala and Mexico and takes its name from the sweet pineapple fragrance of its leaves. It is used extensively in Mexican traditional medicine (most famously as a treatment for anxiety). Pineapple Sage can also be used in a wide variety of culinary pursuits- from teas and jams to sweet AND savory dishes!

The next time you visit the garden, make sure to lean in and smell this beautiful herb!

December 2020

Announcing the Gatewood Little Free Library!

I am pleased to announce that Gatewood Elementary School has its very first Little Free Library! This LFL was donated by a Gatewood family after being purchased at last year’s school auction! The donor wanted to ensure that students and the local community would have greater access to books and other reading materials during these trying times! I know that this addition will not only help spread the joy of reading to our local community, it will also free up shelf space for those interested in donating their gently used books!

This library has been lovingly decorated with copper art created by last year’s 5th grade class (2019-2020) . These 5th graders spent their time during Spring quarantine making art for current and future generations of Gatewood Gators to enjoy!

A big shout out to Nik Vrsek who built the library, Magdalena Cooney who worked with the students on the art, and to Alison Kennedy who assembled all the art for the library.

Another shout out goes to Pegasus Book Exchange in West Seattle for providing a large donation of children’s books to launch our library right! Shop Pegasus Books at:

November 2020

Happy Native American Heritage Month!

In honor of Native American Heritage month, I am proud to share a video made by our very own 4th Grade Gatewood Gator, Dominick. In this video, he shares about his Indigenous Heritage as well as his favorite plant!

November 2020

A Bulb for Every Gatewood Gator!

Our handy volunteers, John & Hannah bagging bulbs for distribution!

With inspiration from the book “Miss Rumphius” by Barbara Cooney, our Gatewood Gators were tasked with thinking of a way that they could spread beauty to the world. Like the character Miss Rumphius, our students were able to use their budding green thumb to grow outdoor Narcissus (daffodil) Bulbs (K-2) and indoor Paperwhite Bulbs (3-5) to bring some beauty to their lives!

I was pleased to see the amazing video presentations of Ms. Klein’s 4th grade class where students proposed ideas on making the world more beautiful that included the creation of little free libraries, feeding the homeless, and spreading art to the community among other things. These 4th graders did a great job reminding us that despite the struggles that we face, small actions can create big impacts at the community level!

For those interested in listening to the Miss Rumphius read-aloud followed by Paper White Bulb planting instructions, you can watch below:

For those interested in learning how to record and plant Narcissus (Daffodil) Bulbs outside, you can watch the video below:

Happy gardening and thank you Gatewood Gators for working to make the community more beautiful!

October 2020

Introducing the Start to our Native Plant Section!

Our AWESOME volunteers helping lay the cardboard for sheet mulching!

I am pleased to announce that we have begun laying the groundwork for a Native Plant Section for our Garden! This is an amazing educational opportunity for our students to learn more about plants native to the Pacific Northwest region while acknowledging and honoring the fact that we are on the traditional land of the first people of Seattle, the Duwamish people.

We will be celebrating the knowledge and wisdom of the Duwamish Tribe and other local Indigenous communities by providing informational placards on how these plants were traditionally and are currently being used by the Indigenous Peoples of the region. We also hope to provide the names of these plants in the Puget Sound Salish language of Lushootseed (dxʷləšúcid), spoken by the Duwamish and other native communities throughout Southern British Columbia and Northern Washington.

During the garden volunteer work party in October, we used an agriculture technique called sheet mulching to prepare the space. This involved laying cardboard throughout the area (to kill the existing patches of grass and weeds) and then adding a top layer of mulch. This eco-friendly technique is a great way to create fertile soil for planting in an area that is otherwise difficult to grow in!

To learn more about sheet mulching and other composting tips, I recommend exploring an article published by Oregon State University. You can copy and paste the link below into your browser:

We are allowing ample opportunity for nature to do its work decomposing the cardboard and preparing the ground for planting. By the Fall of 2021 the area will be ready for our Native Plants! If you are interested in learning more about how you can get involved in this project, please send us a message!

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