Growing Minds Day by Day: Week of September 7

This week’s theme is cucumbers. Our “Growing Minds Day by Day” educational resource lists are designed for families and educators to use during the COVID-19 quarantine and beyond. 

Growing Minds Day by Day

Week of September 7, 2020 – Cucumbers

It’s September, and cucumbers are the Growing Minds Get Local @ School product of the month! Cucumbers are members of the cucurbit plant family, along with their cousins summer squash, pumpkins, and melons. They’re warm season veggies that are planted in our mountain region in the late spring after the danger of frost has passed. After being pollinated be bees or other insects, their small yellow flowers grow into prickly green cucumbers. These vining plants can produce an abundance of fruit from mid summer through early fall. Use the resources and recipes below to learn more about cucumbers. 

Books for Monday, 9/7

Cucumber Soup

Our first featured story this week is Cucumber Soup by Vickie Leigh Krudwig. Ten ants find that a cucumber has fallen and blocked the entrance to their home. The ants are strong, but the cucumber is too heavy for them to move alone. Find out what other garden critters come to the rescue! Do you see any of these insects in your garden? Don’t forget to try the recipe (see below)! Watch a read aloud by Growing Minds program coordinator Debbi Timson. This book is recommended for preschool through second grade, and is featured in these K-2 Growing Minds lesson plans: Cucumber Stacks and Insect Exploration. Note: this book is out of print, but is available to check out from our farm to school lending library. 

Up, Down, and Around

Our next recommendation is Up, Down, and Around by Katherine Ayers. This rhyming story is perfect for introducing young children to fruits and vegetables that grow up (like corn and peppers), down (like potatoes and carrots), and around (like cucumber and pumpkin vines). Watch a read aloud by the author on YouTube. The book is geared toward children ages 2-5. 

Find more books

Visit the Growing Minds’ farm to school literature database to discover more of our favorite children’s books about farms. Type “diversity” into the search bar to find books that feature characters from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups. 

Recipe for Tuesday, 9/8: Cucumber Soup

Cucumber Soup

Serves 3-4; recipe from Cucumber Soup by Vickie Leigh Krudwig


  • 1 medium local cucumber
  • 8 oz. nonfat plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. dill, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic salt
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp. ground black pepper


  1. Wash and peel the cucumber. Cut it in half, reserving one half. Chop the other half of the cucumber into small cubes.
  2. Whisk yogurt and milk together in a bowl.
  3. Add in the dill, garlic salt, lemon juice, and pepper. Add the small cucumber pieces to the mixture.
  4. Refrigerate the cucumber soup for 1 to 2 hours before serving.
  5. Cut the remaining half of the cucumber into slices to eat with your soup.


Educational Resources for Wednesday, 9/9

Cucumber Resources: 

  • Cucumber September resource round-up: recipes, books, This Week in the Garden handouts, and more.
  • Taste and Tales (preschool): Children learn about vegetables and fruits through children’s literature and taste tests.
  • Cucumber Stacks (preschool): Children learn how to make their own snack and through a hands on cooking experience gain motivation to try a new vegetable. Children learn about kitchen utensils and how to use them to make a specific recipe.
  • Cucumber Stacks (K-2): A no heat recipe that features local cucumbers.
  • Cucumber Exploration (K-2): Introduce students to cucumbers, how they grow, and what they taste like.
  • In a Pickle (3-5): Students conduct an experiment to determine what fraction of vinegar is needed to safely preserve pickles. Students will use math skills to determine volumes needed based on a ratio.
  • Tips for Cooking with Kids: Cooking allows children to build physical, cognitive, social-emotional, and language skills. With a little preparation, inviting children to help out in the kitchen can be a fun and rewarding experience for the whole family. 
  • Kids Cooking Bingo: Use our bingo card below to keep track of and celebrate your kid’s cooking-related activities and accomplishments.  

Activities for Thursday, 9/10: DIY Refrigerator Pickles

This week, learn how to preserve your own fruits and veggies by making a batch of easy refrigerator pickles with your children. Kids can… rinse, trim, and slice the cucumbers, measure the brine ingredients, and help put the vegetables into jars or containers. 

Easy Refrigerator Pickles

Prep time: 20 minutes

Ready to eat in: 2 days


  • 1 1/3 cups white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 6 cups cucumbers, peeled and sliced
  • 2 cups onion, sliced


  1. Stir sugar, salt, and vinegar together in a container with a lid until the sugar is mostly dissolved.
  2. Place cucumbers and onions in the vinegar solution, stir to combine.
  3. Cover container and refrigerate for at least 2 days, stirring occasionally.
  4. Share and enjoy!


Freaky Friday, 9/11: Meet Your Farmer Videos: Ivy Creek Family Farm

Have you and your family missed out on farm visits this summer? Our Growing Minds team is excited to introduce our new web series, Meet Your Farmer. The videos let kids get to know a local farmer and go on a virtual tour of the farm. Our first installment features a tour of Ivy Creek Family Farm led by junior farmer Leah Littman, plus an interview with her mom, Anna. Leah will teach you when a tomato’s ready to pick and show you what goats like to eat, while her mom talks about why she became a farmer and what she enjoys about farming.  

You can also go behind the scenes to hear from our Growing Minds team about the video series and other resources for parents and educators on Growing Local. ASAP’s Growing Local podcast airs every Monday morning on WNCW radio. Tune in live or listen at, SoundCloud, or iTunes. ⁣

That’s it for this week. Check back next week for new resources. Click here to access Day by Day resources from past weeks. If you didn’t find what you’re looking for here, please visit our Lesson Plans page.

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