Anyone who has time for drama is not gardening enough.
Despite the rain the first session of the Fall 2018 Children’s Vegetable Garden took off without a hitch! The eagerness and enthusiasm were contagious in both the volunteers and families. I was especially happy to return as a volunteer after spending the last few gardening seasons bringing my own garden up to snuff.
My cat Opie was pleased to reclaim his spot under the artichoke.
As usual the inaugural day began with a review of the agenda (and necessary modifications to accommodate the mud after the abundant rain). The volunteers were dispatched to their sections just as the children started to pour through the gate. Tools, fertilizer, water and plant material were all in place.
Tools at the ready in Section 1.
The plant material had been delivered prior to the start of the session. David Rodriguez our County Extension Agent selected beautiful “Dwarf Cherry Suprise’ BHN968 tomato plants. Pre-planting chores included weeding (purslane and pigweed were abundant in the paths after the rain) and fertilizing with 8 cups of Milbergers Organic Fertilizer throughout the each plot. Soil from the hole was mixed with an additional 2 cups of fertilizer prior to planting the tomato.
Before the fall session started our dedicated work party crew had fortified the beds by dividing them into smaller plots that measure 6’10”.
After planting, the tomato was reinforced with a burm and watered in with one quarter of a gallon Hasta-Gro liquid soluble starter mix.
Special attention is needed to avoid wetting the tomato leaves with fertilizer.
The second plant was a sturdy ‘Sweet Slice’ Cucumber. Soil for this planting was mixed with one cup fertilizer. After planting, the cucumber was also watered in with liquid fertilizer.
Master Gardener Karen Gardner explains the finer points of directing a cucumber to the trellis.
After scrubbing up the tools and returning them to the shed the gardeners spent time chronicling the day in their journals.
Journals were generously donated by Master Gardener Layla Quiroz.
Although it was a relatively short day everyone left happy and hopeful for a new productive season in the garden. Later in the session we have this bounty to look forward to taking home from our BHN968 tomatoes:
Photo courtesy of AgriLife TODAY
One easy way to preserve an excess of tomatoes is to place cut halves on a cookie sheet/sprinkle them with olive oil, salt and pepper/bake them in a 200 degree oven until they look gelatinous and finally freeze them with just enough additional olive oil to cover the surface. In this manner they can be stored for several months and are excellent on pasta or pizza.