Children’s Vegetable Garden Program i(CVGP) Week 2, September 15, 2018

Our garden classes were cancelled due to the fact that we have been blessed with an over abundance of RAIN!

On Saturday the ground was too wet to plant our “Ruby Crush”Tomato, Fall Marigolds, Yellow Squash and Bush Beans.

Many thanks go out to our friends of the Bexar County Master Gardeners for hosting a work party to plant the “Ruby Crush” Tomatoes so that we stay in the race to harvest before ol’ Jack Frost comes to town.

We plan to be in the Garden on Saturday, September 22. Continue reading

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Children’s Vegetable Garden Program (CVGP) Week 1, September 8th, 2018

Anyone who has time for drama is not gardening enough.

                                                                           -anonymous

Despite the rain the first session of the Fall 2018 Children’s Vegetable Garden took off without a hitch! The eagerness and enthusiasm were contagious in both the volunteers and families.  I was especially happy to return as a volunteer after spending the last few gardening seasons bringing my own garden up to snuff.

ams gardenMy cat Opie was pleased to reclaim his spot under the artichoke.

As usual the inaugural day began with a review of the agenda (and necessary modifications to accommodate the mud after the abundant rain).  The volunteers were dispatched to their sections just as the children started to pour through the gate.  Tools, fertilizer, water and plant material were all in place.

09_09_2018_pic1Tools at the ready in Section 1.

The plant material had been delivered prior to the start of the session.  David Rodriguez our County Extension Agent selected beautiful “Dwarf Cherry Suprise’ BHN968 tomato plants.  Pre-planting chores included weeding (purslane and pigweed were abundant in the paths after the rain) and fertilizing with 8 cups of Milbergers Organic Fertilizer throughout the each plot.  Soil from the hole was mixed with an additional 2 cups of fertilizer prior to planting the tomato.

BHN dwarf cherry tomato plantBefore the fall session started our dedicated work party crew had fortified the beds by dividing them into smaller plots that measure 6’10”.

After planting, the tomato was reinforced with a burm and watered in with one quarter of a gallon Hasta-Gro liquid soluble starter mix.

tomato burmSpecial attention is needed to avoid wetting the tomato leaves with fertilizer.

The second plant was a sturdy ‘Sweet Slice’ Cucumber.  Soil for this planting was mixed with one cup fertilizer.  After planting, the cucumber was also watered in with liquid fertilizer.

sweet slice with karenMaster Gardener Karen Gardner explains the finer points of directing a cucumber to the trellis.

After scrubbing up the tools and returning them to the shed the gardeners spent time chronicling the day in their journals.

journals with layla quirozJournals were generously donated by Master Gardener Layla Quiroz.

Although it was a relatively short day everyone left happy and hopeful for a new productive season in the garden.  Later in the session we have this bounty to look forward to taking home from our BHN968 tomatoes:

New-Dwarf-Cherry-Surprise-Tomato (1)Photo courtesy of AgriLife TODAY

One easy way to preserve an excess of tomatoes is to place cut halves on a cookie sheet/sprinkle them with olive oil, salt and pepper/bake them in a 200 degree oven until they look gelatinous and finally freeze them with just enough additional olive oil to cover the surface.  In this manner they can be stored for several months and are excellent on pasta or pizza.

Happy Gardening!

   Anne Marie S.

Junior Master Gardener Adult Leader Training

 

JMG-growing-logo_2
Dates: July 25-27, 2018
Location: Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service
3355 Cherry Ridge, Suite 208, San Antonio, TX 78230
Times: July 25th:12pm-5pm, July 26th: 9am-5pm, July 27th: 9am-12pm

Come join us for the 2018 Junior Master Gardener (JMG) Adult Leader Training
designed for teachers, educators, and volunteers in support of Youth Gardening.
Educators will learn about “hands-on” group and individual learning experiences
that will provide an appreciation for the environment and cultivate the minds of
children.

Participants will:

  • Learn how to establish and sustain a youth
    garden.
  • Learn how to create a JMG program.
  • Receive training in the JMG curriculum.
  • Obtain Continuing Professional Education
    Hours for the three-day training

Registration fee of $100 must be included with application and is non-refundable.
This registration fee is kept at this low price with the generous grant provided by San
Antonio Livestock Exposition

Deadline to apply is July 20th

Click here to apply!

 

 

Week 15: May 26, 2018

Hi friends!

Last week at the Children’s Vegetable Garden we started to think about the process of wrapping up the beds for the summer. (BOO!) As we all know – too well – the summer in San Antonio can be brutal for some types of plants – and humans! Our solution: put the beds to sleep for the summer. Research and common sense has shown us that our spring crop is generally done producing quality veggies by the time the serious heat rolls around, and leaving the plants longer than advised only invites bad bugs to come party. So, next week will be our last blog post for the spring garden.

Since the Week 15 agenda consisted of general maintenance in our beds, and most of the harvesting was done during Week 14, I thought this would be a perfect time for some fun  progression pictures:

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^^POTATOES^^

^^BROCCOLI^^

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^^CUCUMBER^^

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^^BUSH BEANS^^

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^^TOMATOES^^

That’s all we’ve got this week friends, be sure to check back in next week to see how our last meeting and work party went!!

Week 14: May 19, 2018

Hi Friends! Last week was our CVG Picnic and Veggie Contest, and boy do we have some fun pics to show off. We had people from all over San Antonio come to volunteer their time to help judge, help cook out and help bring dishes for us all to share potluck style.

What a great volunteer turn out we had last week. Also, I think we should note (for those of you who are new to our blog) we have volunteers come help run each garden group weekly. In addition to volunteers on Saturdays, we also have a team of volunteers who come during the week to water the beds. Together, our volunteer team is absolutely essential to the success of the beds, and the garden would flounder without them. Take a look at our volunteer garden leaders with their respective groups:

Our gardeners worked all season to harvest that perfect veggie to enter into the vegetable contest. I should note that the Bexar County Master Gardener judges had very strict guidelines regarding judging the produce:

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As you can see, this contest was serious stuff for a new gardener to try to win. 😉

Are you ready to see our contest participants?? Here we go:

 

!!What an impressive showing!!

As we all know, it’s not always about winning. The knowledge each gardener gains from this program will stay with them for a long time. Making the connection between food and it’s source is such an essential lesson for young people to learn, and add the knowledge of how to actually grow food, and you’ve got a major game changer there. So, in the spirit of knowledge, each gardener was a winner, regardless of how their veggies looked. (And I mean that in the least cheesy way possible, because everyone who participated really, honestly does come out ahead.) BUT, just in case you were wondering, here are some of the entries that went through the very rigorous judging process ;):

AND THE WINNERS…..

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What a fun day for everyone, especially for those who competed. What’s better than beautiful weather, great food, green and growing gardens, and awesome company?

That’s all we’ve got for now, friends. Only two more weeks to go before we put our gardens to bed for the summer so, make sure to check back in next week to see how our plants did in the HEAT.

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**Special thanks to the Yaeger family, Dana Drury and Lou Kellogg for taking the best pictures and allowing me to share them on this blog**

Week 13: May 18, 2018

Hi friends! Man oh man, the harvesting that was done last week was incredible! All the hard work of planting, fertilizing, pest removal and watering has paid off BIG TIME. The amount of tomatoes, potatoes and beans I saw kids harvesting was seriously impressive.

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^^LOOK AT THOSE POTATOES^^

One young gardener told me that digging for those was just like digging for treasure – and I’d definitely agree.

 

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Y’all, for real, these gardeners have done a fantastic job this season and have the harvests to prove it. The squash was really coming in last week, and some people were able to take some home! IMG_1588 6

The garden pests are always sneaking around though. It’s important to always continue to the on the look out for detrimental insects. I know my garden had a lot of harlequin bugs this past week, and even though the Children’s Vegetable Garden does a great job of hand picking and treating organically, the bad bugs always find a way to show up here and there. Take a look at the cucumber beetles photobombing my picture of a beautiful squash blossom…IMG_1574 4

We’ve touched only a bit on our Junior Master Gardener lessons here on the blog. Basically, each week we have a local expert on various topics come talk to the group or give a demonstration. Last week we had a local Purple Martin expert, Mr. John Henry, come to the garden and talk about the local Purple Martin population. This was especially cool for the kids because he lowered their houses and showed us THE BABY BIRDS THAT JUST HATCHED. They were adorable and looked like tiny bald aliens and the kids went nuts over them. It was truly very cool to see.

Overall, the progress the gardeners have made and the amount they’ve learned is honestly very impressive, and they’ve really earned all the fresh veggies they get to take home.

That’s all we’ve got for now, friends. Make sure to check back next week to see who won the veggie contests at our CVG picnic and party!

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Week 12: May 5, 2018

 

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Hey friends! We had lots of stuff going on around the garden last weekend – thankfully it was a beautiful day to be outside! We’re still growing our veggies as big and healthy as we can for our annual CVG Picnic, where we’ll hold our CVG Vegetable Contest. This year it’s May 19th – just over a week to grow still!

In the meantime, we’re doing our best to keep the pests out, and really make these last few weeks count. Hand picking pests off our plants is a pretty easy and effective way to manage their populations, but at the end of our meeting, we still applied Organic Pyrethrum to our plants just to make sure. (These guys can be super sneaky.)

All the green (or flowering) and growing plants are all still looking great! Some beds might be ready to harvest their potatoes already and the tomatoes are coming along nicely.

 

My personal favorite, though, is the progress of our cucumbers:

 

^^How great do these look?!^^

Very impressive.

We also had a few other chores around the garden to take care of – the volunteers helped harvest the ‘Bright Lights’ Swiss Chard from the research bed, and some of our young gardeners helped by watering the raspberry beds, the strawberries and the hops. Others helped by cutting vines, adding compost to established beds and cleaning out the shed.

That’s all we’ve got for now, friends. Make sure to check back next week to see how much progress our cucumbers have made!

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**Special thanks to the Murphy and Yauger families for sharing their pictures**