Summertime In a School Garden

 In Gardening

We’d like to introduce you to our Guest Blogger, Ian Docktor. Ian is a Garden Educator with Explore Ecology and when he’s not teaching, he likes to be outside learning more about native plants, vegetable gardening, natural history, birds, and bioacoustics.

Recipes From The Franklin Elementary School Garden

Summer has arrived, and with it comes fragrant blooms, new produce, and the dedicated work of student gardeners! As the garden teacher for Franklin Elementary School I am overjoyed seeing my student’s enthusiasm for growing food flourish. Cooking with the fruits of our labor is a great way of sharing the excitement of the garden with others. In this blog post, we’ll explore two easy recipes enjoyed this summer by students at Franklin Elementary. 

Apple Hand Pies: A Slice of Nature’s Sweetness

Let’s start by embracing the bounty of the season with a simple yet delicious recipe for individual apple hand pies.

Together, you and your children can harvest ripe apples from the garden (or the grocery store). Once you have your apples, follow this easy recipe:


  • Pie crust dough (store-bought or homemade)
  • Apples (peeled, cored, and diced),
  • Sugar
  • Cinnamon, 
  • Nutmeg, 
  • A pinch of salt
  • One egg for egg wash.

Instructions: Preheat your oven to 375°F. Roll out the pie crust and cut circles for each hand pie. In a bowl, mix the diced apples, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Place the apple mixture on half of each pie circle, then fold the other half over and crimp the edges with a fork. Brush with egg wash and bake for about 25 minutes until golden brown. Let them cool before enjoying your garden-fresh hand pies!

Echinacea Tea: A Healing Garden Brew

Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea) is a strikingly beautiful flower and powerful plant medicine that is native to North America and can easily be grown in your garden.

Here’s how to make a simple echinacea tea with honey:

  • Harvest a few echinacea flowers, ensuring you leave enough for the plant to stay healthy.
  • Carefully remove the petals and leaves from the flower and rinse.
  • Let dry until leaves and petals are nice and crunchy.
  • Pour boiling water over leaves and petals, let tea steep for about 10 minutes then strain.
  • Finally, sweeten to taste with honey and serve chilled over ice on a hot day.

Let’s cherish the garden’s bounty and embrace the magic of growing and cooking together. I hope these recipes help bring joy and nourishment to you and whoever you share them with.

Happy gardening!

Ian Docktor 

Garden Educator For Explore Ecology 

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