Week 10- October 21, 2017

Hello Gardeners!

Mark November 11th on your calendars for our fall vegetable show! We’ll need lots of help, so your section leaders will be giving you more information for this.

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Sunrise

Everyone arrived early this morning because it was the grand opening of the Botanical Garden’s new expansion! We went through our plots and removed any yellow/brown or damaged leaved. It is supposed to rain tomorrow, so we aren’t treating for bugs. Make sure you’re checking VERY THOROUGHLY! It doesn’t take long for one or two bugs to turn into a swarm! Spent blooms from marigold plants were removed, and liquid feed was added. We made sure the bean plants aren’t shadowing the radishes. Check out the example plot and see how the red part of the radish root and plant was lightly and gently dirtied up last week. Your section leaders will show you how to do this! Some radishes may need to be removed due to overcrowding. Make sure and eat the greens on a salad tonight.3.jpg2.jpg1.jpg

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Nicely blooming squash

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Tomatoes in different stages

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Bug trap to catch bugs on the cucumber plant. It’s working!

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Green beans are blooming. Aren’t they beautiful?

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Lettuce grows so fast!

Celery and cauliflower plants were given liquid feed today. Some cucumbers, squash, lettuce, tomatoes, kale, and thinned radishes may be ready for harvest. Ask your section leader! The best way to keep leafy greens good is to wrap them in a moist paper towel and store them in a small cooler until you get home.

Today’s JMG activity was taught by beekeeper Jim Bills. The kids loved it!

Note that for the next two sessions the start time will be at 8 am due to parking concerns with the new expansion. See you next week!

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Bees!

Note that for the next two sessions the start time will be at 8 am due to parking concerns with the new expansion. See you next week!

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A visit from a pollinator

Week 9- October 14, 2017

Hello Gardeners!

We have now moved to the maintenance part of the growing season. We have Master Gardeners from all over the state coming this next week, so everyone worked very hard to make sure the gardens were looking their best.

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Notice some have smaller plants than others. These are probably re-plants

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Isn’t this pleasing to look at? See how nice the mulched walk ways look as well! Way to go guys!

We plucked all the weeds, and removed large debris and trash. All brown and yellow leaves were removed from plants, and insects (leaf-footed stink bugs, caterpillars, and cucumber beetles) were destroyed.

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Look out for the green lacewing too! They are a good bug and eat aphids.

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Pollinators are everywhere!

Remember that cucumber beetles can be found on green beans, yellow squash, and of course cucumbers 🙂 Bugs hide under the leaves of the cole crops, so make sure you’re checking them very well. Marigolds and cucumbers were harvested. Did you know you can eat marigolds? The flower is delicious on salads!

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Harvest artfully arranged. 

We made sure that everyone had tied up their green beans. Some kids were able to harvest kale this morning as well. Some cabbage leaves may need to be removed so as not to overshadow the tiny radishes. A few plots had to re-seed lettuce in the empty spaces. Lettuce can be tricky to plant because the seeds are so small. There are lots of YouTube videos about lettuce planting so check some out! All the plants were thoroughly watered, not forgetting the marigolds of course, who aren’t reached by the irrigation systems. Don’t forget irrigation lines must be checked every week for clogs with our super special unclogging tool- the paper clip!

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Those cole crops look amazing! The gardens really speak for themselves, don’t they?

This weeks JMG activity in the Sunday House was from the Learn,Grow, Eat & GO! curriculum. This curriculum is based on research and evidence done by Texas A&M and is available to all schools. We often teach lessons from it here at the gardens. The program itself takes kids all the way from learning how plants grow, to planting an actual garden at their schools, and then harvesting it and tasting stuff right in the classroom and learning what good food our body needs! If you’re interested in this program for your school, contact me or Ruby (our youth gardens coordinator) at ruby.zavala@ag.tamu.edu

The activity we did today was called “Garden Skillet Sizzle” and the kids learned how to properly clean and prepare squash, bell peppers, tomatoes, and zucchini into a delicious snack.

It might be cool to have a conversation with your kids who maybe doubted how this gardening thing would all work out. Are they feeling differently now that they can see their hard work paying off? In our instant gratification society, the garden can be a friend that takes a while to get close to our hearts.

I am out of town the next five weeks, so please welcome my friends who are taking photos for me! They are various section leaders and parents. Your help is SO appreciated friends!

-Kelly

Week 8- October 7, 2017

Hello gardeners!

This was a morning of plant checking and chores. A friendly reminder- please bring in compostable materials! This makes such a huge difference in the quality of our vegetable growth.

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Things are coming up well!

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Cucumbers are so photogenic. Here’s one with the flower still holding on.

The kids began the day with checking everything for bugs. Now that things are really blooming the bugs will be coming! Some gardeners saw leaf-footed bugs on their tomatoes. These were squashed. Also beware of cucumber beetles and aphids. Here’s a great AgriLife resource on controlling insects in the vegetable garden. Sometimes just squishing them is the best way!

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Bug check

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Hello bugs?

We also checked the plots for any weeds, and removed them. Be sure to check the walkways for weeds too! You have to be careful though, because baby carrots look like weeds!

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Out pesky weeds!

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Miss Sandra kills aphids

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Everyone hard at work

Our green beans needed to be tied up. We put a stake at each of the four corners and looped twine around them to keep them in line.

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Bean roping

Our JMG activity this week was taught by Grace Emery. It was about herbs and removing seeds from dried herbs. Everyone loved it!

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Grace Emery teaching

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Seed picking

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Collecting seeds for their chart

At the end of the day Spinosad was applied to the cucumbers, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, celery, beans, and squash. The plants were doubly drenched because it appears cucumber beetles have been eating the leaves on the bean and squash plants too! Remember that any tomato leaves that are brown or touching the soil should be removed. All plants were thoroughly watered. The kids continue to be amazed by how much cucumbers can grow in a week! If you’re wondering whether to harvest one or not, be sure to ask your section leader.

-Kelly

Week 7: September 30, 2017

 

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Looking good!

This week we are profiling Ms. Layla’s section. As always, we examined all plants and checked them for pests. Any pests were crushed. We don’t want them damaging anyone else’s plants! Tomatoes, cucumbers, and cole crops are prone to pests. We rubbed the backside of the leaves to kill any baby cabbage loopers. After everything was watered in, we went back and drenched Spinosad (2 oz to one gallon of water, along with 2 drops liquid Ivory soap) on the following plants: cucumbers, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, celery, and squash.

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Section meeting with Ms. Layla

We made sure the areas where lettuce and radish were to be planted were free from large debris, to enable the seedlings to come up. Four rows of “All Star” gourmet lettuce will be planted 8 in from celery towards the tomato plant. The other three rows should be spaced 6 inches apart. We used the yard stick to saw back and forth again to create small trenches for the seeds, an inch wide and an inch deep. Each row should have two pinch fulls of seeds slowly and gently spread out. There are lots of great YouTube videos on how to plant lettuce, check some out! The seeds were covered VERY lightly with finely screened compost. We don’t want big clumps of anything, remember? The seeds were gently tamped and watered in.

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Demo

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Planning

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More planning and measuring

Next we planted “Sora” radishes. One row of seeds was sown between the middle of the last row of beans and the cabbage plants. A 2-3 inch wide band that was 1/4 inch deep was dug. Each seed should be 1 inch apart. The seeds were lightly covered, tamped, and watered in.

Lastly, we fertilized celery, beans, yellow squash, and marigolds (after the irrigation watered them) with a full gallon of Hasta-Gro. The recipe was two oz Hasta-Gro to one gallon water.

Many people were able to harvest cucumbers this week. They grow SO FAST! Check out how the cucumbers attach themselves to the trellis to support the weight of the fruit. Cool, right?

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Harvest

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Whoa!

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Hold on tight!

This week was our first JMG activity. We made scarecrows! This was my first time doing this activity, so thank you to the parents who had done it before and helped me 🙂

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Working on scarecrows

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Drawing a scary cyclops eye. How creative!

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Teamwork

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His face cracks me up!

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What a cool handmade face!

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Cowgirls

This was such a fun day! I hope everyone enjoyed it. I’ve had a few parents tell me they aren’t getting the agendas. I’ll be posting them here when they are emailed out, so check the tab at the top of the page that says “agendas”. Also, you can email Denise (dsperez@ag.tamu.edu) to be added to the list. We are having an issue where parents take turns bringing the kids, but don’t both get the agenda! Let’s make sure everyone gets one so things run smoothly. See y’all soon!

-Kelly