Children’s Vegetable Garden Program (CVGP) Week 2, February 29, 2020

Hi Friends!

Today was the first day of Spring planting at the Children’s Vegetable Garden. We really lucked out with the gorgeous weather!

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We began the season by planting a few crops that can withstand any cold snaps we might have in March:

Planting measurements for the potatoes:

  1. Measure 8 inches in from the edge of your plot
  2. Mark out two 18 inch long trenches
  3. Measure to make sure they’re a foot apart
  4. Dig each trench 4 inches deep

We dusted our potato rows with horticultural dust, which you can see in the pictures. This helps prevent fungus in in the seed potatoes we use. After we place the potatoes in, we mound up the dirt over them, which helps us to dig them up later!

Take a look at what we planted:

After we finished planting the potatoes, we planted our cabbage and broccoli. First thing is to make sure to soak the broccoli transplants in a bucket of water, just up to the lip of their root ball, and until all the air bubbles come out.

Next, we plant! We took both our broccoli and cabbage transplants and put them in the soil just a little deeper than the soil line of their containers. Take a look at our young gardeners planting!

These are what our first planting session finished products look like!

We made sure to hand water the new transplants in very well, and watered in some liquid fertilizer (Hasta-Gro) to end our first day!

Make sure to check back next week to see whats growing!

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Children’s Vegetable Garden Program (CVGP) Week 1, February 22, 2020

Hi Friends!

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Welcome back y’all! This Saturday was the first weekend we had the new families out in the garden. Today’s agenda was super simple: a quick participant orientation, make sure things are clean and level, and fertilize in preparation for next week – which will be first big garden workday! I can’t wait to meet all the new families and see all the magic happen over the growing season. This season we’ll be growing:

  • Irish Potatoes
  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Tomatoes
  • Petunias
  • Squash
  • Cucumbers
  • Jalapeno
  • Sweet Basil
  • Bush Beans

Take a look at some of last’s Spring’s plants and harvest!

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I just want to recognize the long history of success this youth garden can boast. The Children’s Vegetable Garden Program has flourished as one of the oldest ongoing vegetable teaching garden programs in the nation with over 10,600 participants to date.  IMG_9245Y’all. Seriously. Over 10K individuals have gone through this program. That’s impressive. How lucky are we to have this here in San Antonio?! Plus, every child receives their Junior Master Gardener (JMG) certificate at the end of the season, which is VERY COOL.

This success comes from committed partnerships of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, their Bexar County Master Gardener Extension Volunteers, the San Antonio Botanical Garden, the San Antonio Botanical Society, numerous volunteer groups and Green Industry sponsors.

 

That’s all for this week! 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 15, December 14, 2019

Hi Friends!

Today’s the day! It’s our last Saturday workday of the season. This season proved to be difficult with the one of the hottest and driest September’s on record, and early freeze in October. Our gardeners were hard at work in the heat and the bitter cold this season! All that work paid off, because there is tons to harvest today (AGAIN!).

The biggest chore for today is emptying out each and every bed, with the only exception being the carrots. It’s a bummer, but they didn’t mature in time.

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Some of our gardeners chose to harvest one or two just to see what they looked like. Generally you can tell when carrots are ready to be harvested by how big the top looks as it peeks above the soil – sometimes they’ll surprise you and be top heavy though, so be careful when harvesting and

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We’re dumping all the green we removed from the beds in front of the compost pile, and then topping off our beds with some fresh sifted compost. Take a look at the rich, dark brown compost pile we’ve got cooking behind the garden.

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Each and every one of these families has worked super hard all season long. Check out more pictures of our gardeners cleaning out their plots during our very last garden workday of the season!

That’s all we’ve got for this week – be sure to check back NEXT SEASON to see what’s growing in our garden!

Children’s Vegetable Garden Program (CVGP) Week 14, December 7, 2019

Hi Friends!

Once again we’ve got wonderful weather for a garden workday here in San Antonio! There aren’t a whole lot of perfect weather days to be outside in South Central Texas, but today was one of them, and for that, we’re thankful!

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The season is coming to a close (BOO!) but, much like last week, these next few weeks will give our young gardeners the opportunity to harvest the fruits of their labor! We’ve still got a lot of lettuce, kale, tomatoes and cauliflower to harvest. Let me tell you, the quality of their produce is fantastic as well. It’s literally just as good or even better than something you’d find at a farmer’s market.

This week is the first of two weeks that we’ll be preparing to put the garden to sleep for the holidays. These chores consist of cutting down all the plants that are either done for the season or won’t produce any more. The squash and cucumber are pretty much done for the season. Cauliflower can only be harvested once, and broccoli will produce offshoots from the original crown, but we won’t be around to see those – so they gotta go!!

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We do this in preparation of the month or so of colder weather that would be too rough for our plants to thrive and also to prepare the beds for next season’s group! The only veggies we’re leaving will be the carrots – this is because they are not maturing fast enough for us to harvest any good ones. They’re still pretty small, and we’d love for them to grow more before harvesting any.

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When you’re harvesting tomatoes, make sure to pull off any that are blushing – which means just barely turning red. They’ll ripen quickly on your counter and you aren’t risking missing the opportunity to eat a perfect tomato!

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Take a look at what our beds should look like at the end of today’s workday:

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That’s all we’ve got for this week – make 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 13, November 30, 2019

Hi Friends!

We’re enjoying the cooler weather and crisp mornings at the botanical gardens this fall. Plus, the harvest this week was incredible! Our young gardeners and their families saw the literal fruits of their season long labor. Check out some pictures from our first big harvest of broccoli and lettuce:

Pretty Impressive!

This week our big chores are to harvest everything we can and remove the scarecrows (we’ll miss them!). Harvesting on time and properly is really important for plant health AND preserving the good taste of the veggies. Another good reason to harvest on time is to ensure your plant produces well – picking vegetables as soon as they are ripe helps encourage your plants to produce more.

Beans can be pretty sneaky and are known to hide under leaves, so keep an eye out for ripe green beans. These are some of my favorite veggies to grow – they taste great cooked OR freshly picked (gotta love a plant that gives you options).

Lettuce is really delicate, so make sure to snip the outer leaves or gently bunch them and snip from above – either way make sure to use scissors or shears – don’t just pull them. If you do, you risk pulling the entire plant out.

One chore were tasked with this weekend was for each family to tie up the leaves around any cauliflower crowns we saw. This is a trick used to keep the crown from yellowing in the sun. This is called cauliflower banding or blanching, and is used to keep the crown white. Simply tie up the larger leaves around the crown when it’s the size of a ping pong ball. Make sure to check on it frequently, but it should be good to harvest (with no yellowing) a few weeks after.

More harvest pictures!

That’s all we’ve got for this week – make sure to check back next week to see what’s growing in our garden!

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Week 16: December 2, 2017

Hello Gardeners!

Today was the last day of the Children’s vegetable fall garden. We hope you all learned something and enjoyed yourselves!

We put the garden “to sleep” today. We harvested what we could, and pulled everything else out for the compost pile. The beds were raked and smoothed over.

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Raking and evening up the beds

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Broccoli ready for harvest

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Cabbage ready for harvesting

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Squash, tomatoes, cauliflower all harvested

Our tomato plants were still producing, so many folks were able to harvest quite a few tomatoes. Its been quite a season!

Please remember to sign up for the Spring session, and to tell your friends!

Can’t wait to see everyone in the spring!

Week 12: November 4, 2017

Only one week to go until the big vegetable contest! Honestly, I have nothing new to add this week, so I’ll be brief.

Things to remember:

  1. Bring compost
  2. Smush bad bugs
  3. Remove sad looking leaves
  4. Liquid feed celery and cabbage
  5. Harvest leafy greens correctly (wrap in moist paper towel and store in small coolers until you get home)

Read over your email from this week for the veggie competition guidelines and rules. This is a big day for the garden, and we need your help to make it run smoothly! I will be out of the country for the next two weekends, so smile for whoever is taking photos for me 🙂 I am so disappointed I’m missing the competition, y’all are going to love it!

I want to mention that MANY plots weren’t reserved this session. If you love this and believe it has value for your children, please tell your friends and family. Below are two Master Gardeners who are having to do a ton of work themselves, and maintain TWELVE beds so they weren’t empty. We have two sessions a year, and love to have all beds reserved!

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Thanks guys!

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Wow!

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Those cole crops look incredible!

Until next week!

-Kelly

Week 11: October 28, 2017

Hello everyone! Just a reminder, November 11th will be our fall vegetable show, picnic, and recognition ceremony.

Please make sure the plot and walkways are weeded and full of trash. The compost pile needs your compost every week! We removed all brown, yellow, or damaged leaves. Remember to stay on top of bug smushing- the traps and liquid insecticide aren’t enough! Marigold flowers were removed, and what remained was given liquid feed. Don’t forget to gently push the bean plants away from shadowing the radishes. A few cabbage leaves may have to be removed so as not to impede the growth of the radishes. Cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and celery were drenched with Javelin Bt at the recommended dilution rate, mixed with two drops of M-Pede Insecticidal soap per one gallon of water. Celery and cauliflower were given liquid feed.

MANY plants were harvested today. The JMG activity was given by Anna Rascoe and was about the significance and usages of marigolds. Here come the photos:

 

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Lettuce harvesting

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Harvest

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Harvest

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JMG activity

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JMG marigold activity

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All that lettuce!

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Marigold bounty

Until next week!

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