Children’s Vegetable Garden (CVGP) Week 15 – December 15, 2018

Hi Friends! 

Can you believe this is our last workday of the season? What an interesting season it’s been, weather-wise. First all the rain and then the unprecedented freeze?! It really gives you a new appreciation for those who work in agricultural businesses that are weather dependent – farmers, ranchers, beekeepers, nurseries, ag researchers, etc.

So today’s workday was all about harvesting and putting the beds to sleep for the winter. The inconsistent nature of the weather at the beginning of the season created a less predictable harvest for our garden – in the end, we were all able to harvest lettuce, cole crops, radishes, cilantro and carrots – some of us enjoyed cucumbers at the beginning of the season. Take a look:

After we harvested all the goodies we grew, we focused on leveling the soil in the beds, and assisting to re-mulch the walkways.

That’s a wrap on the season!

BIG THANKS to all who participated and to all the invaluable volunteers who arrived early each Saturday morning to help ensure the success of our Children’s Vegetable Garden Program!

Interested in joining us this spring? Take a second to learn about and register for the Spring Children’s Vegetable Garden –

http://www.sabot.org/education/childrens-education/childrens-vegetable-garden-program/

Children’s Vegetable Garden: Week 13, December 1, 2018

Hi Friends!

This weekend in the garden was a gorgeous one! The weather was AMAZING and felt more like spring than winter. Of course colder weather is on the way, so we all took the time to bask in the brief warmth (talk to us in summer, though, and we’ll most likely curse the heat).

The seasonal vegetable show was cancelled because of the absolutely crazy weather we’ve had this fall. First it was way too hot, then there was too much rain, followed by a freeze like we haven’t seen in 100+years…it was a tough one for Central Texas gardeners and farmers. So, in light of the cancellation, we simply tended to our surviving plants and enjoyed a small picnic and recognition ceremony.

Some of the broccoli might be ready to harvest by next weekend, and it’s entirely possibly some of the cabbage too!

One thing we were sure to do was to tie up the cabbage to prevent the head from turning yellow. First we looked for any bad bugs, and then we used rubber bands to wrap the leaves around the head so it doesn’t see the sun. Take a look:

One last chore we made sure to complete was weeding. Man, we tried to get out of weeding bc it looked like our beds were clean from weeds, but once we kneeled down to really look they were there! So keep your eyes peeled – you don’t want any weeds stealing nutrients from your beloved veggies.

Despite all this fall/winter has thrown at us, some of the plants just refuse to quit. Take a look at our carrots, lettuce and cilantro. That patch of lettuce has already been harvested twice and it’s still producing gorgeous leaves.

We also planted peas the weekend that our awesome volunteers realized that our cucumbers were toast for the season. Some of them have done pretty well, we’ll see this weekend if there are any to harvest:

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Take a look at some of the activities we enjoyed:

We ate some good food and planted some baby plants (poppies pictured!) – what more could you ask for?

That’s all for now, friends! Remember to check back next week to see the last few weeks of our garden’s harvest!

Children’s Vegetable Garden: Week 11, November 17, 2018

Hi Friends!

Well, we ended up having a SERIOUS FREEZE this past week. I don’t think anyone expected this past week’s freeze to be as bad as it was, but here we are. SO, unfortunate as it is, our plots all took a huge hit. Take a look:

All in all, we all lost our squash, beans, tomatoes, cucumbers and many if not all of the marigolds.

We ended up removing all the dead plants from our plots. We cut the tomatoes right at the soil line and to let the stem & roots dry out before we pull them. As we removed the tomato plants, many people had to clean up an even bigger mess as the post-freeze cherry tomatoes fell from the vine.

There is some good news though – many of the plants survived!

Our cold loving cole crops (cabbage, cauliflower & broccoli), carrots, radishes, cilantro and lettuce all survived the freeze. WHEW!

Many of us were even able to harvest some really pretty radishes:

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The weather was even warm enough for some of our volunteers to plant some really healthy looking spinach, which almost makes up for the losses we took. (KIDDING! … but not really)

Finally, one of my personal favorite JMG presentations, we had the pleasure of hearing from a family of young 4-H members who raise turkeys! Hearing them explain the food, water, shelter, temperature and time commitment needs that are all required in raising healthy turkeys was really interesting. PLUS THEY BROUGHT BABY TURKEYS, which is basically a slow pitch down the middle for our young gardeners.

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That’s all for this week, friends. Be sure to check back in next week to see how our post freeze garden is faring!

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Children’s Vegetable Garden Program: Week 10, November 10, 2018

Hi Friends!

This weekend was COLD COLD COLD. But our plants were still super happy! Check out our marigolds, which are always so beautiful this time of year. Although it’s really hard to do, the best thing you can do for your marigolds is to dead head them (pinch off the blooms) each week to encourage blooming and new growth all season long. I am acknowledging how hard this is for me to, but it truly makes a big difference.

This week’s agenda did not include any new planting, unless you needed to reseed any of your cilantro, carrots, leaf lettuce or radishes. Ours were looking good (although the carrots had not come up yet!):

One of the big chores we needed to do today was to check for bugs, both bad and good ones. Of course, we came up with a bunch of both!

First, take a look at our beautiful pollinator butterflies! The fall monarch migration did not disappoint this year and they were out in force at SABOT. The little green butterfly we found incognito our peas looks like a Sulpher, but also could be a Southern Dogface – I certainly can’t tell. Any ideas?

Check out some of the other bugs we found:

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We found some cucumber bugs, some grasshoppers and possibly a wooly bear caterpillar (?) – I’m not sure on the identification of that caterpillar but would welcome suggestions!! Finally, we’ve got some type of cocoon nesting in our pea leaves!
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Take a look at some other bad bugs to look out for:

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Before we left, after we made sure to check out all our cole crops for loopers, we fertilized with one cup of granulated fertilizer spread out around all 6 plants (2 cabbage, 2 broccoli and 2 cauliflower). Finally, we completed the following:

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That’s all we’ve got for now friends, and before you go, take a look at our harvest this week!! Make sure to check back in next week to see our garden’s progress!

Children’s Vegetable Garden Week 7: October 20, 2018

Hi Friends!

Last weekend at the garden was SO FUN. The weather was nice, the wind was blowing gently, and we were able to put together our scarecrows! Big Thanks to Art Vasquez for showing our gardeners how to make the scarecrows, and to Ruby Zavala for offering the art supplies for adding that extra special touch. One group even chose a Nutcracker theme for their plots – check it out!

We didn’t plant anything new last weekend, but one of the big projects we had (aside from the scarecrows) was to look for bugs..and boy did we find them. Fortunately, we found both detrimental and beneficial bugs, so it’s not all bad news. Check out some of the beneficial insect friends we found:

A honeybee, ladybug larva,  a ladybug AND an earthworm!

Now for the BAD bugs:

A tomato hornworm, an armyworm and evidence of cabbage loopers.

These guys have the capacity to totally destroy your gardens. Click on the links below to learn more about these caterpillars –

Hornworm: https://texasinsects.tamu.edu/tomato-hornworm/

Armyworm: https://cdn-ext.agnet.tamu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/armyworm-pest-hay-pasture.pdf

Cabbage Loopers: https://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/vegetable/problem-solvers/cucurbit-problem-solver/cucurbit-insects/cabbage-looper/

We did add a cup of granulated fertilizer to our cole crops – our broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage. We also made sure to inspect our plots to confirm that all our seeds are sprouting. Check out these happy plants:

The last thing I should mention is that many of our tomato plants were too big to safely tuck the branches back into their cages, so we used garden tape and tied them to the tomato cages:

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That’s all we’ve got for now, friends. Be sure to check back in next week to see all the fun we had at the garden!

Children’s Vegetable Garden Week 5: October 6, 2018

Hi Friends!

We finally got a sunny Saturday to work, and lemme tell you, we worked. Our young gardeners and volunteers were out early and stayed late to catch up with this season’s plantings. We also harvested CUCUMBERS! Super cool.

One thing that some of our plots are struggling with right now are insect pests. The rain prevented our volunteers from being able to properly treat our plants for bugs. Check it out:

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This is a picture of the cucumber plant, and it’s in pretty bad shape. I can see mealybugs for sure, and a bunch of other creepy crawlers. I’m itchy just looking at it. Thankfully one of the projects the volunteers took care of was treating all the plants for detrimental insects with liquid spinosad. THANK YOU!! Fingers crossed that they’re looking better this weekend.

As always, the first thing we do is always check our plots for weeds and look at the green and growing plants. How do they look? Are the squash sprouting? Are there any cabbage loopers on the broccoli, cabbage or cauliflower? (Some have already been spotted in the garden) Did the beans sprout?

^^Bean sprouts and baby cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli^^

Next we measured out and planted our ‘Cruiser’ Cilantro and ‘Yaya’ Carrots. During soil prep for the seeds, we added one cup of granular fertilizer to each space we planed in. Next we measured out 8″ from the center board. This is where we marked our first row. From there we measured two more rows – all 8″ apart. We first planted our cilantro seeds – each seed 2-3″ apart.

For the carrots we did the exact same thing – 8″ from the center board, all 3 rows 8″ apart, a seed planted every 2-3″. You’ll notice our carrot seeds are pelleted. This is because without it we’d definitely lose a bunch of teeny tiny carrot seeds. We’d probably end up with carrots growing all over the Botanical Garden.

Here are our fertilizing instructions for Week 5:

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That’s all we’ve got for this week. Let’s hope for good weather next Saturday!

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Children’s Vegetable Garden Week 4: September 29, 2018

Hi Friends!

 

We were barely making progress on our beds this week when the RAIN came back. Fortunately we got in about an hour and a half of solid gardening before Mother Nature gave everything a good drink.

The first thing we did was check in on our green and growing plants. As you can see above, some of our cucumbers are looking fantastic. We then weeded and lightly hand tilled our beds in preparation for the day’s plantings – ‘Green Magic’ Broccoli, ‘Snow Crown’ Cauliflower, and for those who braved the downpour, ‘Provider’ bush beans.

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When planting the cauliflower and broccoli, measuring appropriately is your best bet to make sure that you have enough room to grow your plants to their full potential. Each broccoli should be planted 24″ (2 feet) away from the already transplanted cabbage, and then another 12″ inches (1 foot) away from the sides of the raised bed.

From there we planted the cauliflower using the same measurements – 24″ away from the newly planted broccoli and 12″ away from the sides of the garden bed.

Some gardeners were able to plant the bush bean seeds, and others will do that during Week 5. Those who planted the seeds measured 6″ away from the center board of our plots (as seen below), and then each row (approx 4 rows) is measured 6″ away from the previous row. There was about 60 seeds, so each row has 15 seeds – each planted 2 to 3 inches apart.

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That’s as far as we got before the rain started…

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…so we called it a day around 10:30!

Reminder – Compost campaign: Children, and volunteers are encouraged to bring coffee grounds, disposable coffee filters, tea bags, egg shells, vegetable scraps and other appropriate compostable materials from their homes or from their local coffee shop. These materials will be added to the backside of our compost pile until further notice.

Thanks so much and remember check in next week!