Children’s Vegetable Garden Program (CVGP) Week 5, October 5, 2019

Hello Friends!

We’re still struggling with the heat wave over here, but we can see the end! Any day now we’ll get cooler weather – we hope! 😉 This week we’re still meeting a bit early than the usual start time to stay as cool as possible.  IMG_4696

We had a busy workday today! Today was the last day to replace many of the plants if they didn’t take or thrive – snapdragons, kale, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower – and reseed the area with yellow squash or green beans if needed.

Another thing to remember is that we need to be on the lookout for BAD BUGS. One way to keep the bugs in check is to keep your eyes open for any evidence of cucumber beetles or any caterpillar damage. This could appear as holes in the leaves of your plants. Gently lift up the leaves of your plants – do you see anything on the backside? Carefully brush off the backside of the leaves – this will help control the hatching and feeding of any caterpillars. Take a look at what that could look like:

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This may look like dirt, but it’s probably aphids. Our awesome volunteers will be treating the plants with liquid spinosad.

Today our main goal is to get our cilantro and radish seeds measured and planted properly – we are seeding twenty cilantro seeds with 10 seeds each in 2 different areas as well as direct seeding ten radish seeds.

Pro tip – Don’t forget to tag your plants first!!

Cilantro Seeds: Plant seeds a minimum of six inches away from any other plants AND
six inches away from the edge of your beds. Water the area well before planting and gently push the seed barely below the soil surface. Boom, you’re done.

 

Radish:
Plant seeds six to eight inches away from the base boards of the plot and plant ten radish seeds just below the soil surface every two or three inches apart. Make sure the area is weed free and loosened up and leveled before sowing the seeds.

That’s it! That’s all you have to do to plant seeds. Easy peasy, my friends.

Another fun thing about the CVG is that you get to harvest what you’ve grown! All your hard work pays off in the end. Check out this young gardener and his awesome cucumber. Well done.

That’s all for today friends, remember to check back next week for more pictures and planting instructions!

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Children’s Vegetable Garden Program (CVGP) Week 4, September 28th, 2019

Friendly Reminders for Children, Parents and Volunteers:

  • If it is necessary to be absent, please send a family representative to help with these plot chores; especially if your child is unable to attend on a Saturday.
  • Start collecting material for the Junior Master Gardener Scarecrow Activity (October 12th). A list of materials will be attached to “Agenda 4” email.
  • Many of the plots are starting to get weedy inside them with spurge weed as well as their walk-ways. So please stay up on weeding as well as picking up any rocks, trash and other debris. Please continue to pull out any weeds such as palm trees when you are walking here and there throughout the garden.
  • Keep bringing your coffee grounds, disposable coffee filters, tea bags, egg shells, vegetable scraps to add to the compost pile.
  • Discard any rocks from the compost pile

Continue to cultivate the soil inside your plot that has nothing planted in it to a minimum depth of 4 inches with a 3/4 tine long-handled cultivator. This process does not only loosen up the soil, but also keeps weeds down. Make sure to break up any soil clogs and that your plot upon completion is nice and leveled by using an inverted garden rake. If extra soil is needed in your plot bring some from the backside of our pile after it has been sieved.

Today’s Plantings

Snapdragons

  • Use the irrigation on/off valve as a guideline. Your snapdragon plants will be planted in the first mini-plot between the front of the plot and the on/off irrigation valve.
  • Apply one cup of organic fertilizer to this area and make sure that the area is topped off with well blended soil.
  • Do not remove the transplants from the 6-pack until they have been thoroughly soaked.
  • All 6-pack transplants (tray and all) should be carefully pre-soaked in a bucket of water just above the soil line of the plants/cell pack, until all air bubbles stop coming out from the soil line.
  • Two plants should be evenly spaced and planted on each side of the irrigation line and about 4 inches away from the top and bottom of the plot. (A total of four plants will be planted.)
  • DO NOT remove the peat pot. Firm the plants in very well, but take caution not to break the main stem or damage any leaves.
  • Proceed by slowly watering your plant in with the water can a couple of times and don’t forget your plant tag.

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‘Baby’ Beet

  • Three rows of beet seeds will be sown in mini plot #1.
  • Proceed six inches away toward the tomato cage from the last row of bean seeds planted last week.
  • This will be the first row to direct seed the first group of 15 seeds. Each seed should be planted 2-3 inches apart and about a half an inch below the soil surface.
  • The other two rows should be spaced 6 inches apart from one another and planted the same as the first row.
  • Before planting, apply one full cup of organic granulated fertilizer to this allocated planting area and scratch it in real well with the native existing soil. Make sure that the area is nice and leveled after this first step.
  • It’s best to lay out all the seeds into their pre-made planting rows for proper spacing before any seeds get covered, planted and firmed in.
  • Water the area in after they have been planted and lightly press in any seeds that might be visible after watering.
  • Don’t forget your one plant tag.

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Chinese cabbage

  • 6-packs in there holding trays should be pre-soaked before planting
  • Do not remove the peat pot.
  • Plant plants at soil level and not any deeper and water in real well.
  • None of the peat pot should be visible after planting and watering as quite a few cabbage and cauliflower where last week.
  • Don’t forget your plant tag.

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‘Toscano’ Kale

  • 6-packs in there holding trays should be pre-soaked before planting
  • Space your plants out 12 inches away from the top and bottom inside of the plot and about 18 inches from each other.
  • Do not remove the peat pot.
  • Firm the plants in very well, but take caution not to break the main stem or damage any leaves.
  • None of the peat pot should be visible after planting and watering.
  • Don’t forget to put out your plant tag.

Fertilizer

Fertilize all your new and established plants with Hasta-Gro starter mix. Instructors will mix 1 oz. of Hasta-Gro with half of the water can, about 1 gallon of water (not full water can). Do not let any of the fertilizer get on the leaves, just on the soil around the plants.
Water Management
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Children’s Vegetable Garden Program (CVGP) Week 3, September 21st, 2019

Friendly Reminders for Children, Parents and Volunteers:

  • Make sure you are receiving the agenda
  • DO NOT walk on the garden beds
  • Pick up any trash or debris in walkways
  • Keep bringing your coffee grounds, disposable coffee filters, tea bags, egg shells, vegetable scraps to add to the compost pile.
  • Discard any rocks from the compost pile

How are your plants doing this morning?

Make sure you cultivate the soil in and around your plot that has nothing planted in it to a minimum depth of 4 inches with a four tine long-handled cultivator. This process will not only loosen up the soil, but also helps with weed control, and water, nutrition and oxygen uptake by the plants.

Slowly add and thoroughly mix into your existing native plot soil some screened soil/compost from our pile in the back of the browned fenced area at the planting area located at the very front of your plot where the on/off irrigation valve.

Is your cucumber properly trained and attached to its trellis?

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Are all your squash plants up this morning? If so, are they nice and healthy looking? Is any reseeding needed?
Gently rub the backside of your broccoli plants to control the hatching and feeding of any cabbage looper caterpillars. These plants and your newly planted cabbage and broccoli plants after they are watered real well today will be treated with liquid Spinosad.

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Pinch off any leaves of your tomato plants that are touching the ground.
Spread a fresh layer of mulch around each of your tomato plants as seen in the example plot. Do not put any excess soil or mulch up on the crown of your plants. The mulch is located outside of the front entrance of the garden. This process will tremendously help out are tomato plants with this heat.
Water all your plants in real well and lightly feed them with some liquid fertilizer before leaving today.

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Today’s Plantings

‘Cosmos’ Bush Beans

  • First apply one cup of organic granulated fertilizer and mix in with a cultivator
  • Next, wet the soil
  • Then, place each seed with proper spacing.
  • Beans will be planted in three rows each 6 inches apart.
  • Each seed should be planted 2-3 inches apart and about 1/2 inch below the soil surface
  • After, seed spacing is measured and seeds are placed, lightly press in the seeds.

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‘Snow Crown’ Cauliflower

  • 6-packs in there holding trays should be pre-soaked before planting
  • Do not remove the peat pot.
  • If the plants are too top heavy, plant your plants a little bit below the soil line or as deep as the first set of leaves (Mr. Mayer will confirm).
  • Firm the plants in very well, but take caution not to break the main stem or damage any leaves as we did with last week’s broccoli plants.
  • None of the peat pot should be visible after planting and watering.
  • Don’t forget your plant tag.

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‘Cheers’ Head Cabbage

  • 6-packs in there holding trays should be pre-soaked before planting
  • Space your plants about 18 inches from each other.
  • Do not remove the peat pot.
  • If the plants are too top heavy, plant your plants a little bit below the soil line or as deep as the first set of leaves (Mr. Mayer will confirm). Firm the plants in very well, but take caution not to break the main stem or damage any leaves.
  • None of the peat pot should be visible after planting and watering.
  • Don’t forget to put out your plant tag.

Fertilizing

Starter Solution: Fertilize all your new and established plants with Hasta-Gro starter mix. Instructors will mix 1 oz. of Hasta-Gro with half of the water can, about 1 gallon of water (not full water can). Do not let any of the fertilizer get on the leaves, just on the soil around the plants.

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Children’s Vegetable Garden Program (CVGP) Week 2, September 14, 2019

“The greatest fine art of the future will be the making of a comfortable living from a small piece of land.”                

– Abraham Lincoln

The second session took off with a bang as the (now seasoned) gardeners got an early jump on the heat.  Vital to gardening success in the high temperatures was cultivating the soil in each plot to alleviate the compacted earth.  This served to loosen up the soil as well as help with weed control, water, nutrition and better oxygen uptake by the roots of the plants:

replacement tomatoesValley Cat and BHN968 tomato plants stood waiting to serve as replacements where needed.

Cucumber plantings for week two were quite delicate but careful handling and attention promoted excellent chances of success.  This tender cucumber plant had a head start in the example plot on week 1:

example cukeSweet slice cucumbers have proven themselves a gardening favorite in South Texas.

Green Magic Broccoli is always a garden star.  Young plants were positioned 18 inches apart and firmed in well:

broccoli plantingAs the fall season progresses the broccoli stems will be “dirted up” with additional soil.

Higher math was required for planting ‘Gold Star’ Yellow Summer Squash!  Gardeners carefully measured the seed spacing and used bamboo stakes to mark the placement of each seed prior to planting.  The first seed was spaced 18” from the inside middle of the plot toward the cucumber trellis. Then two seeds were designated for planting 12” apart high and low from the first seed. The fourth seed was to be planted 18” away from the first seed:

planting squashEach squash seed was gently planted just below the surface with its point facing up.  Soil was firmed on the top and seeds were lightly watered in. 

Yellow squash are a versatile mainstay of the South Texas kitchen.  This simple salad recipe is perfect as a side dish or a main course in the heat of the summer.

Elsewhere in the garden our valiant veterans of the compost pile carried on unperturbed:

compost vetereansKitchen scraps, grass clippings, dry leaves, manure and saw dust are all excellent additions to a compost pile.

The photographer found a little respite from the heat in the shade with these spectacular petunias:

petuniasBachelor buttons at the far end of the plot were still relishing the sunshine.

 

A comfortable living from a small piece of land does not come without some sweat equity……. no false advertising about the labors of gardening but they are infinitely rewarding.

Scrub under your nails,

Anne Marie S.