Children’s Vegetable Garden Program Spring 2020 Season NOW OPEN!!

Children’s Vegetable Garden Program

CVG Girl with entries resizedSpring 2020 Registration Now Open!!

 

If you did not know, we have two Children’s Vegetable Garden Program sites in San Antonio. The  CVGP at the San Antonio Botanical Garden is held on Saturday mornings and our other is held at the Historic Homestead in Phil Hardberger Park on Tuesday mornings.

Both sessions are now OPEN for registration. Check out the flyers below for more info!

Children’s Vegetable Garden at the San Antonio Botanical Gardens

Children’s Vegetable Garden at Phil Hardberger Park

Children’s Vegetable Garden Program (CVGP) Week 15, December 14, 2019

Hi Friends!

Today’s the day! It’s our last Saturday workday of the season. This season proved to be difficult with the one of the hottest and driest September’s on record, and early freeze in October. Our gardeners were hard at work in the heat and the bitter cold this season! All that work paid off, because there is tons to harvest today (AGAIN!).

The biggest chore for today is emptying out each and every bed, with the only exception being the carrots. It’s a bummer, but they didn’t mature in time.

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Some of our gardeners chose to harvest one or two just to see what they looked like. Generally you can tell when carrots are ready to be harvested by how big the top looks as it peeks above the soil – sometimes they’ll surprise you and be top heavy though, so be careful when harvesting and

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We’re dumping all the green we removed from the beds in front of the compost pile, and then topping off our beds with some fresh sifted compost. Take a look at the rich, dark brown compost pile we’ve got cooking behind the garden.

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Each and every one of these families has worked super hard all season long. Check out more pictures of our gardeners cleaning out their plots during our very last garden workday of the season!

That’s all we’ve got for this week – be sure to check back NEXT SEASON to see what’s growing in our garden!

Children’s Vegetable Garden Program (CVGP) Week 14, December 7, 2019

Hi Friends!

Once again we’ve got wonderful weather for a garden workday here in San Antonio! There aren’t a whole lot of perfect weather days to be outside in South Central Texas, but today was one of them, and for that, we’re thankful!

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The season is coming to a close (BOO!) but, much like last week, these next few weeks will give our young gardeners the opportunity to harvest the fruits of their labor! We’ve still got a lot of lettuce, kale, tomatoes and cauliflower to harvest. Let me tell you, the quality of their produce is fantastic as well. It’s literally just as good or even better than something you’d find at a farmer’s market.

This week is the first of two weeks that we’ll be preparing to put the garden to sleep for the holidays. These chores consist of cutting down all the plants that are either done for the season or won’t produce any more. The squash and cucumber are pretty much done for the season. Cauliflower can only be harvested once, and broccoli will produce offshoots from the original crown, but we won’t be around to see those – so they gotta go!!

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We do this in preparation of the month or so of colder weather that would be too rough for our plants to thrive and also to prepare the beds for next season’s group! The only veggies we’re leaving will be the carrots – this is because they are not maturing fast enough for us to harvest any good ones. They’re still pretty small, and we’d love for them to grow more before harvesting any.

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When you’re harvesting tomatoes, make sure to pull off any that are blushing – which means just barely turning red. They’ll ripen quickly on your counter and you aren’t risking missing the opportunity to eat a perfect tomato!

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Take a look at what our beds should look like at the end of today’s workday:

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That’s all we’ve got for this week – make sure to check back next week to see what’s growing in our garden!

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Children’s Vegetable Garden Program (CVGP)Week 13, November 30, 2019

Hi Friends!

We’re enjoying the cooler weather and crisp mornings at the botanical gardens this fall. Plus, the harvest this week was incredible! Our young gardeners and their families saw the literal fruits of their season long labor. Check out some pictures from our first big harvest of broccoli and lettuce:

Pretty Impressive!

This week our big chores are to harvest everything we can and remove the scarecrows (we’ll miss them!). Harvesting on time and properly is really important for plant health AND preserving the good taste of the veggies. Another good reason to harvest on time is to ensure your plant produces well – picking vegetables as soon as they are ripe helps encourage your plants to produce more.

Beans can be pretty sneaky and are known to hide under leaves, so keep an eye out for ripe green beans. These are some of my favorite veggies to grow – they taste great cooked OR freshly picked (gotta love a plant that gives you options).

Lettuce is really delicate, so make sure to snip the outer leaves or gently bunch them and snip from above – either way make sure to use scissors or shears – don’t just pull them. If you do, you risk pulling the entire plant out.

One chore were tasked with this weekend was for each family to tie up the leaves around any cauliflower crowns we saw. This is a trick used to keep the crown from yellowing in the sun. This is called cauliflower banding or blanching, and is used to keep the crown white. Simply tie up the larger leaves around the crown when it’s the size of a ping pong ball. Make sure to check on it frequently, but it should be good to harvest (with no yellowing) a few weeks after.

More harvest pictures!

That’s all we’ve got for this week – make sure to check back next week to see what’s growing in our garden!

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Children’s Vegetable Garden Program (CVGP) Week 12, November 23rd 2019

Hello all!!

A special thank you goes out to all the volunteers, parents, children and partners who went that extra mile to make last week’s Vegetable Contest, Picnic and Recognition ceremony a great success!

Congratulations! to all the youth gardeners on a very successful harvest.

Our Junior Master Gardner activity was conducted by Ms. Takisha Durst – Urban Agriculture Educator on Path to the Plate – Tomatoes”

 

Check out our chores for the day!!

  • Weed Management: We made sure that the inside and the outside of our plot is clean of any weeds.

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  • Insect Management: Remove and dispose of any insects that are damaging your plants.

 

  • Leaf Debris Management: Remove all discolored and damaged leaves from your plants as well as any plants that have stopped producing
  • Cauliflower Banding: Wrap one large rubber band around your really large cauliflower leaves. Task for two (2) people to prevent any damage. We were assigned this today, but since the cauliflower were still a bit small we are waiting until next week to do it.
  • Harvest: Harvest any/all vegetables that are ready.
  • Water: We made sure our plot is thoroughly and adequately watered before leaving today.
  • Shed Management: Clean all tools and return them to the sheds in an orderly fashion.

 

  • Fire Ant Control: Section Leaders will treat any ant issues before leaving today. Please do not leave any flags in the garden after ants have been treated.

 

Thank you and Happy Gardening!!

Children’s Vegetable Garden Program (CVGP) Week 11, November 16, 2019

Hi Friends!

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Today is my favorite day of the season…the vegetable contest! Each season our young gardeners and their families participate in the contest by harvesting their finest (and silliest!) vegetables currently growing in their plot. The gardeners then clean and arrange their picks on a tray to present to the Quality Control Team. The purpose of this team is to help make sure the submissions meet the criteria set forth in the contest rules:

Contest Rules

1. Vegetables entries must be harvested directly from the child’s garden plot.
2. Entries must be free from diseases, insects, and soil. So, harvest everything that is ready.
3. Each contestant is allowed to submit only one entry per vegetable category and one with a flower focus.
4. The maximum number of vegetable category entries per child is four.
5. Every vegetable entry must be accompanied by a completed entry form (both top and bottom).
6. Entries must have the exact number of vegetables required for each category submitted.

Check out the criteria for each vegetable category:

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 Once each family has entered their chosen vegetables, the judging begins!

After 45ish minutes of judging, the results are revealed at the potluck picnic – which was attended by all families, volunteers and garden leaders! Take a look at the food line!

Each veggie category gets a winner, and then an overall winner is announced. This young lady, a third generation gardener, won the contest overall with her broccoli!

Take a look at some of the other entries!

That’s all for this week friends – Be sure to check back next week to see what we’re up to in the garden!

Children’s Vegetable Garden Program (CVGP) Week 10, November 9, 2019

One kind word can warm three winter months.
           

-Japanese proverb

Apparently many kind words have been spoken this fall session!

Snapdragons planted at the end of each plot were ready for morning salutations:

snap dragonsSnapdragons are also called toad’s mouth, lion’s mouth and dog’s mouth.

The abundance of produce never ceases to delight and challenge even the most veteran vegetable gardeners and adventurous eaters.  Tucked under the large leaves and close to the soil the Gold Star yellow summer squash were safe from last weekend’s cold overnight temperatures:

crookneck squashSquash, corn and beans are often grown together according to a Native American planting technique known as Three Sisters

Yellow squash along with corn and beans are often prepared as classic stew called succotash.  Since the weather was warm on Saturday I was inspired to try a new dish:

grilled squashGrilled squash with capers, garlic, parsley and lemon juice……delicious hot, cold or at ambient temperature 😋

The upcoming fall vegetable contest, picnic and recognition ceremony on Saturday, November 16th had gardeners eyeing potential contest entries.  Contest vegetables are selected for uniformity:

contest cukeUnfortunately this prize specimen needed to be harvested immediately.

The contest also features a “silly vegetable” contest which encourages atypical vegetables:

cuke 2Hmmmm 🤔 a possible entry………

Young gardeners also hunted down damaging cabbage loopers on the cole crops:

looper eggsLooper eggs were nipped in the bud.  Adult cabbage loopers turn into brown moths with sucking mouths.

Controlling looper eggs amounts to squishing the eggs gently on the back of the leaves.  More squeamish gardeners gloved up prior to smashing:

bug prepEmerging larvae can also be controlled with BT sprays.

Baby lettuces were carefully weeded and if necessary reseeded:

baby lettucesBy next week these tender leaves will form a delicious composed salad…..

The salads of tomorrow are the seeds of today…………

,

Anne Marie S.