Week 4: March 10, 2018


Hi friends! This past Saturday we really got a taste of what’s to come – our young gardeners and volunteers were sweating in the 93 degree heat. Fortunately it was only for a day, but it’s definitely foreshadowing what’s to come. YeeHaw!

The first thing we do each week is check on our plots and existing plants – how do they look? Is our plot level with no craters? If any plants need to be replaced or soil added to our plot, we do this before starting on our agenda items. One thing we did this week was to add a hill of nutrient rich compost in between our rows of existing potatoes. This chore is super easy and quick to complete. Take a look:

CVG Blog Post #4 - potato pic after compost

Potatoes with compost mound

^^Look at all that new growth!!^^

Are there holes in our cabbages or broccoli leaves? If so, it might be the infamous cabbage looper.  Cabbage loopers appear initially as tiny white eggs, and then emerge as little green caterpillars. They may look adorable, but don’t buy it. Squish or otherwise dispose of these. We took some time at the end of our garden routine to apply Javelin/Bt Worm killer to any plants that had holes.


Week 4: This week we planted our tomato plants. Our awesome volunteer leaders first demonstrated the planting process for their respective sections. Section 8 is the lucky group to be highlighted here this week.

They sure had fun checking in on their existing plants and getting their tomatoes into the ground.

Each section has a mixture of varieties of tomato this season – Tycoon, Ruby Crush, and BHN 968 (aka Dwarf Cherry Surprise).

Our gardeners began by applying one cup of Medina organic granulated fertilizer to the spot they would be planting in. After digging a hole slightly wider than the container of the tomato plants, the kids dusted half a cup of rock phosphate over the tomato hole. The next step is ensuring that their planting’s root system is even with the soil grade, or even slightly higher. Make a berm around the plant that’s as wide as the plant leaves (or “as wide as the plant’s arms stick out” as I like to say). This berm will keep the water from running off.

Pro Tip – if the roots or root ball is visible after watering, it’s important to add more soil around the base of the plant.

Next, we put our heavy duty tomato cages in place. We like to use very large cages because in past years, our tomatoes have grown to be 5′ or even taller. It’s important to provide sufficient support to prevent the branches from breaking under the weight of the tomatoes. Finally, we put our covers over the tomato cages. We use an N-sulate cover to protect the baby plants from cold or wind. The cover can be clipped on with binder clips, and it must reach the ground.

Of course, don’t forget to fertilize the newly transplanted plants and all the “Green and Growing” plants with liquid fertilizer. We use Hasta-Gro starter mix each week.

Check out the step-by-step slideshow of some of our gardeners from Section 8 planting their tomatoes.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

That’s all for this week, friends. Check back in next week for updates from our workday this Saturday!

**Special thanks to Dana Drury for sharing some of her awesome pictures each week!**


The Children’s Vegetable Garden after planting the tomatoes.




Children’s Vegetable Garden Week 3, March 3 (with a quick recap of weeks 1 and 2)


CVG blog picHi friends! Spring has arrived in San Antonio, and we’ve already begun planting in the Children’s Vegetable Garden. Our little gardeners were pretty excited to see sprouts peeking through the soil already! We’re a bit behind on updating the blog, so let’s run through a quick recap of weeks one & two before catching up to week three…

Week 1 (February 17): This was our first week together for the Spring season (yay!), and after a long winter (well, maybe not that long), we were all ready to get some plants in the ground. After going over a few garden related agenda items, the children got down to business. Before we planted, we lightly scratched fertilizer into the areas we’d be working in. To do this we lightly scratched granular fertilizer (we used Medina Growing Green Organic Fertilizer) to the soil with a hand cultivator. Next, we planted 1 row of 6 white Kennebec’ Irish potato pieces, 1 row of 6 red Pontiac’ Irish potato pieces and 2 Green Magic’ Broccoli transplants.

Potato planting: Dig two trenches – one trench for red and one for white potatoes. Make the trenches 18 to 24 inches apart, and 4 inches deep. After dusting the trench with half a cup of soft rock phosphate, plant each potato seed piece evenly spaced 6 inches apart. Fill in the trench, gently level the soil out, and water lightly.

Broccoli planting: Pre-soak the broccoli transplants in a bucket of water, filled  up to the lip of their rootball, until all the air bubbles come out. Plant these guys a little below the soil line, or as deep as the first set of leaves. Did your starts come in a peat pot? If so, none of the peat pot should be visible after planting and watering.

Blog 5


IMG-0253Week 2: We started our workday by checking in on the progress of our plants from last week. After making sure our broccoli wasn’t leaning or our tubers weren’t showing, we started our agenda for this week by scratching fertilizer into the parts of our plots that we would be working in today. Next, we planted 2 ‘Cheers’ Head cabbage transplants and 2 ‘Snow Crown’ cauliflower transplants.

Like broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower are cole crops. Now, you might think that’s a typo and should say “COLD” crops, but nope, that’s not the case. The family these plants belong to is actually called cole crops.

Cabbage planting: It’s important to think about spacing with all plants – but cabbage will definitely spread out as it grows – so make sure to leave 18 inches between each plant.

Cauliflower planting: Like the broccoli from last week, presoak the cauliflower transplants in water until all the air bubbles come out.

blog 7Pro Tip:  At the end of each meeting we take some time and fertilize. We use Hasta-Gro , an organic fertilizer. Mix 1 oz. of Hasta-Gro with half of the water can, about 1 gallon of water . Each plot only needed a quarter bucket of mixed liquid fertilizer for their cabbage, cauliflower and last week’s broccoli. We made sure NOT to let any of the fertilizer get on the leaves, just on the soil around the plants. (If the fertilizer gets on the leaves, simply wash it off with water.)

The instructors then applied Spinosad, an organic pesticide, to the leaves of all the green, leafy plants. We diluted it at 2 oz. per 1 gallon of water and applied about 1 quart to all the veggies in each bed.


Finally! We’re up to speed!

Week 3: We started this week by checking in on the progress of the our plants from last week. The gardeners were pretty excited to see green from their potatoes peeking out of the soil! Just two weeks after planting:


blog 6

Impressive, amiright??

Interested in some behind the scenes/insider information on how we keep our garden so successful? (lowers voice) *We separate the garden into sections, and assign “Section Leaders” to help guide each group of gardeners through the agenda each week.* This tactic makes it possible to ensure every section has suitable direction and supervision. We’ll highlight a section each week here. This week we’ll start with (drumroll)…Section 9!


^^ Section 9 ^^

Like always we began by scratching granular fertilizer into the area of the beds that we would be working in today. This week we planted ‘Yerba Buena’ spearmint. The children’s garden actually already has a gorgeous raised bed of this tasty herb – take a look:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Spearmint planting: The gardeners in Section 9 had a great time learning about how to properly plant spearmint from their section leaders. Make sure to dig a hole big enough for the transplant, and then firm the plant into the soil gently. Finally, water it a couple of times with a watering can. Pretty simple instructions for an awesome herb, I’d say! Check out Section 9 learning and planting their Yerba Buena spearmint:

That’s all for now, friends! Don’t forget to fertilize!

Make sure to tune in next week to stay updated with our Children’s Vegetable Garden, and get helpful tips for planting your own successful backyard garden.

2018 spring session for the Children’s Vegetable Garden Program is NOW OPEN FOR REGISTRATION!!

Children’s Vegetable Garden Program

About the Program:

CVG Girl with entries resizedThe Garden is proud to present one of the nation’s oldest youth gardening programs. Children ages 8-13 get their hands-on horticulture with the help of our partner organizations, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and Bexar County Master Gardeners.

The Children’s Vegetable Garden Program at the San Antonio Botanical Garden is an opportunity for children to grow their own vegetables and ornamental plants with the help of instructors from the Texas A&M AgriLIFE Extension Service and Bexar County Master Gardeners, as well as other volunteer organizations. Each child is allotted a 3.5’x28’ garden plot. Children will have fun growing different types of seeds, vegetables, and ornamental annual flowers. Children can also earn their Junior Master Gardener certification by participating in fun, hands-on activities each week after they have tended their garden. In order to gain the most from the learning experience and to help ensure successful growing, participants are required to attend all sessions (two absences are allowed). Families are welcome to share the gardening experience with their child. A parent or guardian must stay with their child.

Fee: Thanks to a generous donation from our friends at Milberger’s Landscaping and Nursery, the Spring Vegetable Garden Program will be $40 per child or $60 for two children to share a plot (non-refundable). Ages 8-13.

Donations welcome.

Questions? Please contact Timothy Roan at 210-536-1412 or troan@sabot.org


Child   must   be   able   to   attend   the   Children’s   Vegetable   Garden   Program   every
Saturday, February 17th through June 2nd from 8 a.m. till 12 p.m. (only two absences will be allowed).

Will child:  (1) be on time every Saturday by 8 a.m. (unless told otherwise); (2) do their daily
chores; (3) attend the daily presentation; and (4) participate in the daily Junior Master Gardener (JMG) activity?

Will child: be able to attend the first four-weeks of planting (very important)?

Will a parent/guardian be in attendance with their child, each and every Saturday?

Will child and family be able to attend the Saturday, May 19th Vegetable Show, Picnic and
Recognition Ceremony which ends around 1 pm?

Will child and family participate on cleanup day Saturday, June 2nd  for their plot and the garden?


The Spring 2018 Children’s Vegetable Garden Program

Saturday mornings, February 17 through June 2nd from 8:00 am – 12:00 pm

Click here to register

Week 16: December 2, 2017

Hello Gardeners!

Today was the last day of the Children’s vegetable fall garden. We hope you all learned something and enjoyed yourselves!

We put the garden “to sleep” today. We harvested what we could, and pulled everything else out for the compost pile. The beds were raked and smoothed over.

to bed.jpg

Raking and evening up the beds


Broccoli ready for harvest


Cabbage ready for harvesting


Squash, tomatoes, cauliflower all harvested

Our tomato plants were still producing, so many folks were able to harvest quite a few tomatoes. Its been quite a season!

Please remember to sign up for the Spring session, and to tell your friends!

Can’t wait to see everyone in the spring!

Week 13: November 11th, 2017

Hello Everyone! This past Saturday was our Picnic and Vegetable Contest Day! We had so many great entries and a wonderful lunch together. Everyone harvested their crops according to the instructions and entered their best pick.

There were so many different veggies to choose from!


Even if some of our harvest had Tomato Horn Worms, at least it made for a good picture!!


Thank you to Nora, for making some beautiful leis for our kiddos. This is such a great idea to display the Marigolds!!


A big thank you and congratulations to all of our volunteers, graduates and participants!




And a BIG Congratulations to Abigail Cosby for winning Grand Champion with her Cheers Head Cabbage!!


Just a few more weeks to go in the Fall Session 2017. Be sure to keep an eye out for registration for the Spring Session 2018! Happy Gardening 🙂

NEW!!! The Bexar County Youth Gardens Program Blog is now the Children’s Vegetable Garden Program Blog!!

Thank you all for subscribing to our blog. We are updating the name to reflect more closely which youth gardens program from Bexar County is being highlighted on this blog. Hopefully this change will clarify a few things. And no worries, you are still subscribed and will continue to receive all the awesome updates from the Children’s Vegetable Garden Program at the San Antonio Botanical Gardens 🙂


Thank you!!!

Week 12: November 4, 2017

Only one week to go until the big vegetable contest! Honestly, I have nothing new to add this week, so I’ll be brief.

Things to remember:

  1. Bring compost
  2. Smush bad bugs
  3. Remove sad looking leaves
  4. Liquid feed celery and cabbage
  5. Harvest leafy greens correctly (wrap in moist paper towel and store in small coolers until you get home)

Read over your email from this week for the veggie competition guidelines and rules. This is a big day for the garden, and we need your help to make it run smoothly! I will be out of the country for the next two weekends, so smile for whoever is taking photos for me 🙂 I am so disappointed I’m missing the competition, y’all are going to love it!

I want to mention that MANY plots weren’t reserved this session. If you love this and believe it has value for your children, please tell your friends and family. Below are two Master Gardeners who are having to do a ton of work themselves, and maintain TWELVE beds so they weren’t empty. We have two sessions a year, and love to have all beds reserved!


Thanks guys!




Those cole crops look incredible!

Until next week!