Judo Students Learn About Gardening and Nutrition

Garden Educator, Jacqui Roytman and Judo Coach, Parnel Legros are teaming up to provide nutritional lessons to judokas (judo students) and their families. 

Every Tuesday from 4 pm to 5 pm, Roytman joins the Starrett Judo Club online to provide an in-depth view of planting and growing food in order to support healthy lifestyles.

In Roytman’s first class with the judokas, she focused on teaching the students how to preserve fresh fruits and vegetables. She highlighted the benefits of fermented foods, to improve digestive health; probiotic bacteria are loaded with enzymes that help the intestines. It also can boost the immune system because fermented food is high in vitamin C, iron, and zinc.

Roytman provided the class with a materials list for pickling cucumbers:

  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Measuring spoons knife
  • Cutting board
  • 2 cucumbers (small cucumbers that have edible skin)
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/3 cup Apple Cider Vinegar or regular vinegar (except balsamic)
  • 2-3 tablespoons of honey
  • 1 teaspoon of Celtic Salt or kosher – Fine ground
  • Red pepper flakes or any spice you like (optional)
  • Spoon for mixing
  • Bowl
  • Jar or container with a lid
  • Preparation: Wash your hands and wash the produce

Mix all of the ingredients together and seal the cut cucumbers into a jar so that it can marinate in your refrigerator.

For the second half the lesson, Roytman explained the water cycle and how a seed grows.

The cycle of water—also known as the Hydrologic cycle—showcases the movement of water from below and above the earth. Roytman taught the class five key vocabulary words to help better comprehend the material: condensation, precipitation, infiltration, runoff, and evapotranspiration.

Plants need light and water to grow and germinate. Seeds come in different shapes and sizes, but they all have one thing in common—roots.  Students created a “Seed Viewer,” so they can document and observe its daily growth progress.

“We are planting bean seeds in clear plastic cups to allow the youngsters to watch seeds sprout and introduce them to the life cycle of plants,” Roytman said. 

While this may sound complicated, the materials for this project are simple to find. You simply need: clear plastic cups (can be washed and reused), construction paper, paper towels, dried beans, and water.

“Cut a piece of construction paper into a rectangular strip to fit inside the plastic cup, and then place a piece of construction paper inside a plastic cup so that it is in line with the side of the cup,” Roytman said.

The next steps involved crumbling a few pieces of paper towels into balls before placing them inside the cup until it is full. Once all of this has been prepared, the students are then asked to pick a few beans (about 3 to 4) and deposit them into the cup between the side of the container and the construction paper liner.

Over the course of the next few weeks the judokas are tasked with caring for the seed and ensuring that the paper towels are always saturated so that they can watch the seed grow.

“First you will notice the seed coat expanding (wrinkling) as the seed absorbs water and then the root will start to grow in 2 to 3 days. Water as necessary to keep the paper towel and seeds continually moist (please note, the viewers will not grow well outside because they will dry out too quickly). Seed germination can be impacted if the temperatures are too cold (if you are comfortable, most likely your seeds will be too),” Roytman said.

Finally, roots will emerge followed by a stem and leaves over the coming weeks. 

“You can continue to grow your plant as long as you want for observation, however, generally seeds that have been sprouted this way do not transplant well out into the garden and they will not be able to go grow to maturity in the cup,” Roytman said.

Screenshots by Pamela Stern