Children’s Vegetable Garden Program (CVGP) Week 5, March 30, 2019

April is the cruelest month, breeding lilacs out of the dead land, mixing memory and desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain.                                                                                                                          

T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land

Well!  We haven’t quite made it to April but I thoroughly understand the sentiment….. Typically in South Texas April is a ‘safe’ month for gardening but I withheld bean planting in my own garden due to predicted temperatures for the coming week (less than 50 degrees overnight).  My empty bean trellis was lonely but expectantly awaiting the arrival of Chinese Long Bean seeds:

bean trellis The beauty of the inverted trellis is that the beans grow on the outside……causing less damage to the plant structure.  Garlic chives are awaiting an omlette in the foreground. 

The Children’s Vegetable Garden participants pressed on with planting ‘Provider’ bush beans.  These sturdy plants do not require a trellis but occasionally are corralled with bamboo stakes and twine to contain their abundant growth.

In spite of the melancholy weather the stupendous Grant’s Garnet poppies noted in the last blog entry were bursting into bloom in the experimental beds.

poppies week 5More information on these spectacular poppies is available in the January Scion Grant’s Garnet .

Further South in the children’s garden volunteers planted an empty bed with “Whopper” Begonias:

whopper begoniasThe Collins English dictionary defines ‘Whopper’ as anything extraordinarily large.  The stunning heads on these Superstar plants will certainly live up to their name Whopper Begonias

Back down to earth with vegetables……….. Green Magic broccoli planted in week 3 was prepared for a drenching with Spinosad.  The ‘HM8849’ and ‘Ruby Crush’ tomatoes were also treated to a gentle dose.

green magic broccoli Broccoli (crowns  and stems) are delicious when roasted and simply dressed with olive oil, salt and pepper.  A squirt of lemon juice and a dab of tahini elevate the flavor without much additional effort.  

‘Tempest” yellow squash and ‘Tigress’ zucchini squash seeds were just poking up in a few plots:

zuke seedlings Tempest crookneck squash is reported to have a nutty flavor and a firm texture.  Tigress zuchini is high yielding and particularly virus resistant.

The dedicated weekly watering team was careful to ensure the petunias were planted correctly to produce dramatic blooms like the perimeter bed.  On Saturday the plants were carefully watered by hand and fertilized with Hasta-Gro:

watering petunias petunias‘Carpet Mix’ petunias planted between the end of the bed and the irrigation line need extra attention for proper watering.  Petunias in the perimeter bed were a shocking pink display interspersed with bluebonnets.

‘Sweet Slice’ cucumbers were planted two inches away from each trellis after fertilizing with Espoma fertilizer:

cuke plant prep sweet slice cukesCucumbers are particularly good sliced thin with onion and a plain dressing of oil, vinegar, salt, pepper and a pinch of sugar. 

An abundant swath of Indian blanket flowers waved the gardeners goodbye at the end of the day:

Indian blankets Gaillardia pulchella aka Indian Blanket, Firewheel, Girasol Rojo.

Until next week……….


Best wishes,

Anne Marie S.

Children’s Vegetable Garden Program (CVGP) Week 4, March 23rd 2019

Hello all!

Announcement!!: Want to know if Saturday’s session is cancelled? Cancellation notifications will now be posted/updated here on the Children’s Vegetable Garden Program Blog!

This past Saturday at the Children’s Garden was another beautiful day. We were blessed with cool weather and sun, even though rain was in the forecast all morning. What a great day!

As soon as the families arrived, we were on to our garden chores. David requested that we make sure that our plots and section walkways were free of any weeds, trash, or rocks.

We also checked our plants for any damaged leaves, insects, and tied up stems and leaves.

We scratched up the soil to a depth of 4 inches inside our plots and the area between your irrigation on/off valve with a four tine cultivator as well as a minimum of six inches away from anything that has been planted. This will help minimize the caking of the soil and help with soil drainage and watering. Remember, we are not tilling or digging deep into the soil. Plots should look nice and leveled with no craters.


We flagged any fire ant activity throughout the garden and our Section Leaders will treat them at the end of today’s session.

How Do Your Plants Look?


‘Green Magic’ Broccoli:

  • This is the last day to replace any of your plants.
  • Make sure your plant is nice and straight.
  • Water your plant in real good, but do not get the foliage wet.
  • Fertilize each plant with a quarter-gallon of liquid Hasta Gro fertilizer.
  • Gently drench all your plants leaves with Spinosad. This is an expensive product, so let’s use it wisely.

HM 8849’ and ‘Ruby Crush’ Tomatoes:

  • Does your tomato cage shake a lot? If so, anchor it down correctly.
  • Open up the cloth on your cages and see how your plants are growing.
  • Do any of your plants need to be replaced? If so, this is the last week to do so.
  • Cut off any stems/leaves that might be touching the soil.
  • If your top snapped off any of your plants, cut it off.
  • Is your plant nice and straight? Does it need another anchor stake?
  • Water your plant in real good, but do not get the foliage wet.
  • Fertilize each plant with a half-gallon of liquid Hasta Gro fertilizer.
  • Make sure to properly re-wrap your clothes on their cages nice and tight.

Today’s Plantings!


We handled the plants carefully not to disturb the root system and used the irrigation on/off valve located at the front of our plots as a guideline.We do not want to disturb or damage their root system.

Fun fact from Mr. David Rodriguez: Did you know that petunias and tomatoes are in the same family of plants?

Carefully, we pre-soaked the entire 6–pack of petunia transplants in a bucket of water, filled to the lip of their root ball, until all the air bubbles came out.

Next, we scratched up the planting zonses, applied compost and a cup of Espoma granulated organic fertilizer to it.

Two plants were evenly spaced and planted on each side of the irrigation line and about 4 inches away from the top and bottom of the plot.

Plant your petunia plants a little bit above the soil line. DO NOT remove the peat pot. Firm the plants well, but take caution not to breaking any of their runners or damage any leaves.

Looks like these need to be replanted. Since the peat pots were exposed, they are starting to dry out a lot faster. 

The challenge in planting here is the irrigation lines cannot water these plants. We have to keep a good eye on them and water with the water can.


Yellow Squash and Zucchini

Three seeds squash were sown to the right of the tomato plant and  4 zucchini seeds next to the cucumber trellis.

We evenly spaced out the seeds starting from the top to the bottom of the plot. We used bamboo stakes as guide references.

Each seed was gently planted just below the soil surface with its point barely below the soil surface.

*Make sure that these are not planted too deep; the soil is firmed in well on the top and that they are lightly watered in.*

No seeds should be visible after a real light watering and of couse we put out your plant tags.

Next, we applied one full cup of Espoma granulated fertilizer to this allocated planting area and very lightly scratch it in.

Homework Assignment: Study up on purple martins.

This was all our chores we had for the day. What fun 🙂


Extra Pics

Just wanted to throw in some additional pics from our research plots and large container bins.

The Maroon Poppies are looking great!

Check out all the swallow tail caterpillars we have on our dill!!

And our Bluebonnets! We didn’t intentionally plant them this season. They keep reseeding every year and look at all the pretty colors they come in!! Have you ever seen a pink Bluebonnet? How about a purple Bluebonnet?

See you for Week 5 post!!!

Children’s Vegetable Garden Program (CVGP) Week 3, March 16, 2019

Gardens are not made by singing “Oh, How beautiful,” and sitting in the shade.                                                                                                                               

Rudyard Kipling

There was no shade in sight except a gorgeous steel gray cloud embankment the morning of March 16th:

clouds week 3 Blanketed tomatoes stood sentry under the watchful eyes of the purple martin house.

Ruby crush tomatoes were ready and waiting in the Sunday House:

2nd tomatoA rose by any other name is a Ruby Crush.

A few errant gardeners discovered that the mysterious “winter greens” in one of the example plots were actually poppies ready to burst into bloom!  The maroon “Aggie” poppy was isolated by Greg Grant and is known as “Grant’s Garnet”.

poppy Don’t be lulled to sleep like Dorothy……. Grant’s Garnet 

Two tender “Green Magic” broccoli plants were also ready for each plot.  This variety was first marketed in 2004 as a replacement for “Green Comet” broccoli.  Hopefully the new plants will remain harlequin beetle-free unlike the plants from the fall session:

broccoli copy Harlequin beetles are public enemy number 1 for broccoli Harlequin bugs

Unlike poppy leaves, broccoli leaves (and cabbage leaves) are imminently edible.  Use as you would any leafy winter vegetable green (i.e. kale, cabbage leaves, brussel sprout leaves).  The winter vegetables are also particularly delicious in almost any St. Patrick’s Day guise.  I enjoyed a steamed head of cabbage interspersed with chile pequin and a fabulous sunset on Cash Mountain Road:

st pat's sky

Happy Spring 2019!


Best wishes,

Anne Marie S.




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

Gardening is a matter of  your enthusiasm holding up until your back gets used to it.                                                                                                                               


Week Two was actually the groundbreaking (back breaking) day with plant material.  Every plot was provided with one of this year’s Rodeo Tomatoes “Harris-Moran 8849”.

rodeo tomatoHarris-Moran-8849 Rodeo Tomato.

Prior to planting each plot was fertilized with 8 cups of Espoma Garden-Tone fertilizer plus one cup inside each tomato cage.  The plots were also thoroughly trolled for invasive/destructive insects:

grubbingGrubbing was unfortunately productive for this novice gardener. TX Spring Grubs

Planting demonstrations took place throughout the garden to insure the tomatoes were deep enough, level and well-watered:

tomato demoAfter planting the tomatoes were watered in with Hasta-Gro fertilizer Hasta-Gro video.

Finally the plants were caged and blanketed with N-Sulate wrap to protect them from early spring winds and cold temperatures.  The Children’s Vegetable Garden Program at Phil Hardberger Park took similar protective measures the following Tuesday:

Hardberger tomatoesGardeners at the Hardberger Park CVG consult over recently planted tomatoes. 

Elsewhere in the garden an abundance of Tango Celery was harvested from the example plots:

celery Celery leaves make an especially good salad when tossed with black olives, lemon juice, olive oil and salt….. Tango Celery

As always, some of the youngest gardeners found amusement with action on the sidelines:

cvg sidelineClosed toed shoes are a must!

Best wishes,

Anne Marie S.



Children’s Vegetable Garden Program (CVGP) Week 1, March 2, 2019

A weed is a plant that has mastered every survival skill except for learning how to grow in rows.                                                                                                                               

Doug Larson

The first morning of the 2019 Session of the Children’s Vegetable Garden Program opened with an Orientation meeting led by Master Gardeners Mary Fernandez and John Mayer:

Mary and JohnThe only stupid question is the one that goes unasked.

Following the meeting Master Gardener Sandra Woodall led the way to the dormant but expectant garden plots:

SandraHope springs eternal. Alexander Pope

Eager gardeners were standing at attention and ready for action!southside

The early bird gets the worm……

Some lucky new gardeners on the South end of the Children’s Vegetable Garden were greeted with an abundance of “weeds” in their plots in the form of lettuce and cilantro.

lettuce weedA beautiful mixed lettuce spray and Cruiser Cilantro in Section 1.

I was fortunate enough to rescue a large bunch of  Crawford lettuce  which found it’s way into a delicious salad that evening.

The weekly work party crew had maintained an impressive variety of plant material in the perimeter plots.  This included  several spectacular beds of Louisiana Bunching Shallots.  Saturday morning two volunteers were busy pinching blooms from the sprouting shallots.

Louisianna shallotsThe blooms are especially tasty when quickly sautéed in a little olive oil and used as a garnish in place of onions or garlic in your favorite dish.  Some growing tips from our neighbors in Louisiana:  Alliums

Junior Volunteers harvested an abundance of Ashley Spinach.

Ashley Spinach -2 Best of all in a quiche….. Ashley growing tips.

Despite the cold and the (mostly) barren plots the spring session started with joy and enthusiasm!

Best wishes,

Anne Marie S.




Children’s Vegetable Garden Program – Spring 2019 Registration now open!

About the Program:

CVG Girl with entries resizedThe Garden is proud to present one of the nation’s oldest youth gardening programs. Children ages 7-16 get their hands-on horticulture with the help of our partner organizations, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and Bexar County Master Gardeners.

The Children’s Vegetable Garden Program at the San Antonio Botanical Garden is an opportunity for children to grow their own vegetables and ornamental plants with the help of instructors from the Texas A&M AgriLIFE Extension Service and Bexar County Master Gardeners, as well as other volunteer organizations. Each child is allotted a 3.5’x28’ garden plot. Children will have fun growing different types of seeds, vegetables, and ornamental annual flowers. Children can also earn their Junior Master Gardener certification by participating in fun, hands-on activities each week after they have tended their garden. In order to gain the most from the learning experience and to help ensure successful growing, participants are required to attend all sessions (two absences are allowed). Families are welcome to share the gardening experience with their child. A parent or guardian must stay with their child.

Fee: Thanks to a generous donation from our friends at Milberger’s Landscaping and Nursery, the Spring Vegetable Garden Program will be $40 per child or $60 for two children to share a plot (non-refundable). Expanded to include ages 7-16.!

Donations welcome.

Questions? Please contact Timothy Roan at 210-536-1412 or


Child   must   be   able   to   attend   the   Children’s   Vegetable   Garden   Program   every
Saturday,  March 2nd through June 15th from 8:00 am – 12:00 pm (only two absences will be allowed).

Will child:  (1) be on time every Saturday by 8 a.m. (unless told otherwise); (2) do their daily
chores; (3) attend the daily presentation; and (4) participate in the daily Junior Master Gardener (JMG) activity?

Will child: be able to attend the first four-weeks of planting (very important)?

Will a parent/guardian be in attendance with their child, each and every Saturday?

Will child and family be able to attend the Vegetable Show, Picnic and
Recognition Ceremony on June 1st which ends around 1 pm?

Will child and family participate on cleanup day Saturday, June 15th for their plot and the garden?


The Spring 2019 Children’s Vegetable Garden Program

Saturday mornings, March 2nd through June 15th from 8:00 am – 12:00 pm

Register here for Spring 2019 Session