I’ve decided to follow one section a week so that everyone has a chance to get featured. If you don’t see yourself yet, don’t worry, you will 🙂
This week we had several plantings to catch up on due to last week’s cancellation. Just a few reminders for everyone:
-Please be on time. Y’all should be here at 8 am sharp! We have lots to do over the next few weeks, and we want to beat the heat!
-There are two excused absences per gardening session. If your child is unable to attend, please make sure that there is a family member who can attend to help, so as not to overburden your section (or email us for help!)
-Don’t forget to drink water! It also helps for your child to keep a garden journal. As Adam Savage from MythBusters says, “The difference between messing around and science is writing it down!”
-Remember to bring in kitchen scraps for the compost pile. This really helps the kids take ownership of the gardens. A five gallon bucket on the back patio does just fine.
Let’s jump into the planting and maintenance!
First up, Ms. Mary, our section lead, held a team meeting where she demonstrated the use of her homemade ant killer and discussed the days plans.
Everyone made sure to scratch and level his or her plots.
We checked on our Tycoon tomatoes next. The storm last week took a few of them out. Those were marked ahead of time so the kids knew which ones needed replacing. Here’s an example of one sick tomato!
New tomatoes were planted where needed, but we didn’t worry about pre-soaking the hole as much since we got so much rain last week. We planted our second tomato plants, the “Dwarf Cherry Surprise” BHN 968. The planting was done the exact same as last week, both with fertilizer and planting depth.We made sure no roots were exposed,
and that the tomato was standing straight up in the cage. If roots were exposed, we added some compost to cover them. As always, we mulched the berm around the tomato to keep water and nutrients in. Any leaves touching the soil were removed.
Our next planting was the “Sweet Slice” Burpless cucumber (these names kill me!). These plants are very fragile and must be handled with care. The trellises were already set up for us. We applied one cup of Ladybug fertilizer to the front and middle part of the trellis. The plant was planted about 2 inches away from the middle of the trellis. You’ll notice cucumber plants have a certain way they seem to want to lean, so we made sure that was leaning towards the trellis when planted. The cucumber was planted even with the soil line and firmed in. We set a support stake in diagonally, to train the plant towards the trellis. Be careful to do this a few inches in front of the plant so as not to disturb the roots.
The plant was gently watered in, and labelled with a tag.
Our last planting of the day was marigolds. A&M AgriLife Extension tells us that marigold roots release a substance that is toxic to nematodes, who can quickly ruin a fall planting. All the marigold plants were pre-watered. They were to be planted just a little below the soil line and firmed in very well.
Each plot planted four marigolds. They were planted in the peat pots they came in, and we were careful not to disturb the roots. All marigolds were gently watered in.
Every plant was given Hasta-Gro liquid soluble starter mix, just like in week 1. The recipe is 2 oz of Hasta-Gro per gallon of water, with each plot receiving one quarter gallon of water/fertilizer mix. Take care not to get any fertilizer on the leaves as it can burn them!
Although it is mentioned in the agenda, I wanted to say it again here. We use a lot of fertilizer! The organic LadyBug fertilizer is natural and granulated, and thus has a low nutritional content. We have to apply lots of it because it takes about three weeks to break down and become available to the plants. We supplement with the liquid Hasta-Gro once a week for about 3 weeks because it is immediately available to the plants.
The kids also learned how to maintain and turn on the irrigation system. Their fancy tool for unclogging? A paper clip. Isn’t it nice when a gardening problem has a simple answer?
Have you heard of the Junior Master Gardener program? It’s another set of programs offered by A&M Extension. If your children’s school doesn’t have a garden, we have plenty of resources to help you start one! Find me on Saturday’s and we can talk about it, or email our youth gardens coordinator Ruby Zavala, Ruby.Zavala@ag.tamu.edu. Don’t worry if you don’t know what you’re doing, don’t know how to talk to the administrators about it, and aren’t sure where the money will come from. We can help with all of that! You’re going to see what a difference this program makes in your child’s life, why not change a whole school?
Until next week,