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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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!


Thanks guys!




Those cole crops look incredible!

Until next week!



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:



Lettuce harvesting






JMG activity


JMG marigold activity


All that lettuce!


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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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


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?


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!



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!


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.


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


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.


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


Pollinators are everywhere!

Remember that cucumber beetles can be found on green beans, yellow squash, and of course cucumbers ๐Ÿ™‚ 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!


Harvest artfully arranged.ย 

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!


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!


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.


Things are coming up well!


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!


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.


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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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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Hold on tight!

This week was our first JMGย 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 ๐Ÿ™‚


Working on scarecrows


Drawing a scary cyclops eye. How creative!

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His face cracks me up!

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What a cool handmade face!



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!


Week 6- September 23, 2017

This morning we started with some garden chores. The plots should be level, as this will help with watering. In between the cucumber trellis and tomato cage the compost should have been dug in at least 4 inches deep. It seems not all plots did this last week. Please remember to read the agenda before coming! We know it is a lot of little things, but it virtually guarantees your gardening success!


Today I followed section 1 around. Here they are at their morning meeting:

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As always, we checked on all of our previous plantings. Tomatoes were tucked into cages, and brown or yellow leaves were removed. We evenly fertilized the outer lip of the tomato plant with either one cup of Lady Bug granulated fertilizer, or five small bottles of Milogranite organic fertilizer.

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Nice straight row of cucumbers. Notice how some are bigger than others. Why might this be?


Tomato fertilizer

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Checking up on tomatoes

We checked the cucumber very closely, especially ALL the flowers. Any intruding cucumber beetles were crushed. All plants will need to be checked for bugs every week now. We noticed that in some plots, some of the seeds didn’t come up. This could have been because the plots weren’t leveled first, or seeds weren’t put in deeply enough, and water washed them away.

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Checking cabbage for bugs

The marigolds were hand watered very well. The backside of the leaves of cauliflower, broccoli, and kale were gently rubbed to remove any cabbage loopers. Here’s an example of what one looks like:

Cabbage looper (not from our gardens)

After being watered at the end of the day, these plants were drenched with Javelin Bt, a biological insecticide, at a ratio of one teaspoon to one gallon of water. 2 drops of Ivory soap is added for preventative control of the looper caterpillars. This organic pesticide is expensive, so use it carefully.

All bush bean seeds should be sprouting, if not we planted more seeds. Previously added compost is dug at least 4 inches into the soil. Remember to drop the seed sideways, and not up and down. If re-planting, make sure seeds aren’t exposed after watering.


Bush beans


Cucumber on the trellis and squash seeds planted in a “X” fashion

The yellow squash seeds should also be up by now. If not, these were re-seeded as well.

We only had two plantings today. All transplants were thoroughly watered before planting.

We planted two “Tango” celery transplants. They were planted in the middle area between the outer edge of the cucumber trellis and the outer lip of the tomato cage. The plants were placed 12 inches away from the top and bottom of the inside part of the plot, 18 inches from each other. The peat pot stays on, and the plant is firmed in. None of the roots or peat pot should be visible after planting.

Extensive measuring was done first before we could plant the carrots.


Figuring out where carrots go

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First we made sure the area where the carrots were to be planted was free of any large debris that might hinder their growth. Seedlings are delicate! 8 inches from the planted celery transplants, towards the cucumber trellis is where the first row of carrots was to be planted. The other three rows were spaced 6 inches apart. Each row had 20 seeds spaces about 2 inches apart. The best way to plan the rows was to place a yardstick down, make sure it was straight, and then sort of saw it back in forth in the ground to create a small depression where the seeds could be placed. The seeds were barely covered and tamped in with excess soil and watered.

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Carrots being watered in

Lastly we ran the irrigation system for 12-15 minutes. Celery, bean, yellow squash, and marigolds were fertilized with a full gallon Hasta-gro. We used one gallon of water and 2 oz of Hasta-Gro. Remember not to get any fertilizer on the leaves!

Next week we will make scarecrows for each bed! Please remember to see the agenda for any materials. Note that everyone gets to sleep in now! Please be here by 9 am ๐Ÿ™‚

Until then,