Children’s Vegetable Garden Program (CVGP) Week 9, November 2, 2019

You have to get up and plant the seed and see if it grows, but you can’t just wait around, you have to water it and take care of it.
           

-Bootsy Collins

Therein lies the rub. The vigilant scarecrows took care of the chore of waiting around.  But tending seedlings and young plants struggling in the erratic fall weather is challenging work for even the most determined young gardener:

determinedScarecrows are a fixture in the Texas fall garden.  Our Master Gardener friends in Cherokee county even hold an annual Scarecrow Trail every October.

The emerging carrots were gingerly weeded to avoid pulling up the tiny roots:

carrot seedlings
Did you know the carrot tops are edible as well?  A favorite way to eat them is emulsified with olive oil, salt and a small amount of cheese to make a delicious pesto.

Larger leaves of Chinese cabbage were harvested from the outsides of the plants for a trip to the soup pot.  These spectacular cold-loving plants are a boon to any kitchen garden.  Tiny cilantro planted in week five was just poking up in the foreground:

Chinese cabbageVarieties of Chinese cabbage include Brisk Green, Jade Pagoda, Michihili and Monument. More information on cultivating these cole crops can be found on the Texas Agrilife website.  

Although the temperatures were cooler, the cold dry air really dried out the plots.  Thorough watering remained a priority:

water valveThe science of irrigation is so important to successful agriculture it ranks an entire school at Texas A&M !

Under the big tent the JMG class was briefed on the benefits of vermicomposting:

vermicompostingWorm composting is an excellent method to turn a languishing compost pile into rich dark humus, improving the soil structure and assisting in root growth which prevents erosion.

What other beneficial bugs have you seen in your compost pile at home?

 

Enjoy the creature comforts,

Anne Marie S.

Children’s Vegetable Garden Program (CVGP) Week 8, October 26, 2019

Hi Friends!

It’s the spookiest time of year in the Children’s Vegetable Garden! Today was a beautiful (and CHILLY day) in the garden. One of the most popular JMG presentations was scheduled for today – keeping honeybees with James Bills! Take a look at some pictures from the presentation:

Our garden is looking amazing – these young gardeners have done an excellent job in seeding, transplanting, feeding and generally nurturing their plots. Take a look at our families in action…

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We’ve got a lot of very important tasks for our young gardeners to take care of today:

  • Snapdragons: Hand water and fertilize all four of the plants with one cup of granular fertilizer.

  • Broccoli/Kale/Cabbage/Cauliflower: Fertilize each of these plants with one cup of granular fertilizer. Pour the fertilizer in a circle around the stem. Pay attention where the outermost leaves of each plant are in relation to the stem – pour the fertilizer directly under the outermost leaves, without actually getting fertilizer on the leaves. We do this so that we are feeding the spot where the roots are growing, not feeding the roots at the stem. CHECK FOR BAD BUGS – caterpillars etc. Remove them with the help and direction of your garden leaders. Take a look: Screen Shot 2018-12-11 at 10.52.11 AM
  • Beans: Snip/pinch off discolored leaves, it’s time to tie up the beans like a little garden corral. Hand water your beans and be careful not to knock over any of your beans stems!!
  • Beets: Hand water your beets, be very careful not to knock over any sprouts. This is the last week to reseed any beets!
  • Chinese Cabbage: One thing we need to make sure is to not let these plants get overgrown! Each week we need to cut the bottom leaves off. Hand water this area as well, and smash any flea beetles you see – check one out below:Screen Shot 2019-11-17 at 5.11.02 PM
  • Cilantro: This is the last week to reseed!
  • Tomatoes: Fertilize each tomato plant with one cup of granular fertilizer – pour in a circle around plant out to where the leaves of the plant extend. Tie down any limbs with fruit – they’ll get heavy and can possibly break the limb.
  • Cucumber: Check your plants for fruit that is ready for harvest. Check out this goofball cucumber this week:IMG_8640 2
  • Radish: This is the last week to reseed – also check to make sure there is no root coming out of the soil. If so, please gently cover it up.
  • Yellow Squash: Pinch/snip off any brown or dead leaves. Also harvest any fruit ready for harvest. Hand water this area. Here is one growing fast! IMG_8634
  • Carrots: This is the last week to reseed!

We also took some time to have the kids release ladybugs in the plots. Gardeners love ladybugs, and not just because they’re adorable. It’s because ladybugs eat aphids!

That’s all for this week y’all. Be sure to check back next week to see what’s growing in our garden!

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Children’s Vegetable Garden Program (CVGP) Week 7, October 19th, 2019

 

Agenda 7: Gardening Session #7

This is perfect weather to grow vegetables this week with some well needed rain!

Do you know all the life cycles of a Lady Bug?  Do you see different life stages on your cucumber plants?  Why are they helpful in the garden?  Each section will have two bags of Lady Bugs to release throughout their plots?  Simply open the bag and gently shake a few out here and there.  DO NOT shake any on your broccoli, Chinese cabbage, kale, cauliflower or cabbage plants.

ladybug-4206954_960_720

  • Your plot and walkways should be 100% weed free (especially spurge) before you leaving this morning. This includes removing weeds from underneath your plants, irrigation lines and the plots corners.  Some plots still have too many weeds visible?  Make sure you are pulling weeds and not your vegetable seedlings that have germinated.

Euphorbia maculata,	Prostrate Spurge

Applying a thin layer of mulch on your plots walkways will help reduce weed pressure.

  • Remove all bamboo stakes from your plots that are not needed.
  • Keep bringing material for our compost pile. Please make sure that the material that is brought this morning is covered.   Mary will assign someone close to the end of the day to address this need.
  • Most of all your seeds should be up by this morning? We will wait till next week to spot sow any vegetables that have not come up including cilantro, beets, lettuce, carrots and radishes.  This will be the last week to do so.

 

  • Broccoli/Kale/Head cabbage/Cauliflower: Check plants for caterpillars and properly relocate them with the help of your garden mentors. Remove any leaves from the bottom part of the plant that look yellow or brown.  Hand water this area real good. Plants will be treated at the end of today’s session with liquid Bt at the correct dilution rates per gallon of water.
  • Beans: Hand water this area real good, but take caution not to knock your plants over. Some plants look burnt?
  • Beets: Hand water this area real good, but take caution not to knock your plants over.
  • Chinese cabbage: Check plants for caterpillars and properly relocate them with the help of your garden mentors. Remove any leaves from the bottom part of the plant that look yellow or brown.  DO NOT let these plants get overgrown.  Harvest/cut some of the bottom leaves to use in soups or a salad.   Hand water this area real good. Hand water this area real good. Plants will be treated at the end of today’s session with liquid Bt at the correct dilution rates per gallon of water.
  • Tomato plants: Gently tuck your plants to the inside of your cages; otherwise tie the branches to the cages with strips of plastic shopping bags. Gently remove any yellow leaves off your plants and any leaves touching the soil.  Hand water this area real good.
  • Cucumber: Some plants look burnt? Any cucumbers to harvest today?  Gently remove any yellow/brown leaves off your plants and any leaves touching the soil or blocking your radish plants.
  • Yellow squash: Hand water this area real good. Without damaging your plants, harvest all sizes of squash this morning as not to let them get overgrown by next week.
  • Carrots: Mini-Plot #2 and Lettuce: Mini-Plot #3

How does the area look?

  • Make sure that your irrigation lines in your plot are 100% unclogged. Correctly water your plot real well before leaving today.
  • Treat all ants before leaving today and DO NOT leave any flags throughout the garden.

 

  • Please do not return any dirty tools to the Tool Shed. It’s everyone’s responsibility to keep that area clean!

 

 

Children’s Vegetable Garden Program (CVGP) Week 6, October 12th, 2019

 

Agenda 6: Gardening Session #6

A special thanks goes out to our dedicated watering team in keeping our garden growing

and alive throughout the season from one Saturday to the next.  I hope everyone can agree on this as we all can see how beautiful everything looks this morning.

header-vegetable-garden

  • Your plot and walkways should be 100% free of weeds before leaving today. No spurge or any other weeds….
  • Remove all bamboo stakes from your plots that are not needed.
  • Keep bringing material for the compost pile. Discard any rocks or coarse material into the adjacent grassy area when screening the compost/soil too.
  • Have all your seeds germinated to date? If they haven’t, it’s because they were probably planted too deep.
  • Snapdragons: Cut all your plants back by about 20% if this was not done last week.  Make sure that all the plants are firmed in real well. Hand water this area real good. Fertilize around the four plants with one cup of organic granulated fertilizer.
  • Broccoli: Check plants for caterpillars and properly relocate them with the help of your Garden Mentors. Remove any leaves from the bottom part of the plant that look yellow or brown.  Fertilize around both plants with one cup of organic granulated fertilizer.  Do not get any fertilizer on the plants leaves or close to their crowns. Hand water this area real good.
  • Beans: Properly reseed any plants that have not emerged. Hand water this area real good, but take caution not to knock your plants over.
  • Beets: Some plots have many of their beets up already. If you do not see visible leaves up, then you probably planted them too deep.  Properly reseed any plants that have not emerged (plant them barely below the soil surface). Hand water this area real good, but take caution not to knock your plants over.
  • Chinese cabbage: Check plants for caterpillars and properly relocate them with the help of your Garden Mentors. Remove any leaves from the bottom part of the plant that look yellow or brown.  Start harvesting/cutting some of the bottom leaves to use in soups or a salad. Hand water this area real good.
  • Tomato plants: Gently tuck your plants to the inside of your cages; otherwise tie the branches to the cages with strips of plastic shopping bags. Fertilize the outer ring of your tomato cages as you did last week with one full cup of organic fertilizer per plant.  Keep a watchful eye for any bad insects on your plants. Gently remove any yellow leaves off your plants and any leaves touching the soil.  Hand water this area real good.
  • Cucumber: Any to harvest today? Gently remove any yellow leaves off your plants and any leaves touching the soil.
  • Yellow squash: After weeding this planted zone, fertilize around your four plants with one cup of organic fertilizer. Hand water this area real good.

Carrots

Three rows of carrot seeds will be sown in mini plot #2.

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.

Water the area in real, real good.

Proceed six inches away toward the tomato cage.

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 barely 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.

It’s best to lay out all the seeds before planting.

Gently push each seed barely below the soil.

Don’t forget your one plant tag.

Lettuce

Three rows of lettuce seeds will be sown in mini plot #3.

Before planting, apply one full cup of organic granulated fertilizer to this allocated planting area and scratch it in real well with the existing native soil.  Make sure that the area is nice and leveled after this first step.

Water the area in real, real good.

Proceed six inches away toward the tomato cage.

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 at the soil surface.  The other two rows should be spaced 6 inches apart from one another and planted the same as the first row.

It’s best to lay out all the seeds before planting.

Gently push each seed in to have contact with the soil.

Don’t forget your one plant tag.

  • Make sure that your irrigation lines in your plot are 100% unclogged and that your plot is watered real well and correctly before leaving today.
  • All plants that are growing in your plots should have a light application of liquid Spinosad applied to them at the correct dilution rate after they have been fertilized and watered in real well.
  • Treat all ants before leaving today and DO NOT leave any flags throughout the garden

 

  • Please do not return any dirty tools to the Tool Shed. It’s everyone’s responsibility to keep that area clean!