Children’s Vegetable Garden Program (CVGP) Week 10, November 9, 2019

One kind word can warm three winter months.
           

-Japanese proverb

Apparently many kind words have been spoken this fall session!

Snapdragons planted at the end of each plot were ready for morning salutations:

snap dragonsSnapdragons are also called toad’s mouth, lion’s mouth and dog’s mouth.

The abundance of produce never ceases to delight and challenge even the most veteran vegetable gardeners and adventurous eaters.  Tucked under the large leaves and close to the soil the Gold Star yellow summer squash were safe from last weekend’s cold overnight temperatures:

crookneck squashSquash, corn and beans are often grown together according to a Native American planting technique known as Three Sisters

Yellow squash along with corn and beans are often prepared as classic stew called succotash.  Since the weather was warm on Saturday I was inspired to try a new dish:

grilled squashGrilled squash with capers, garlic, parsley and lemon juice……delicious hot, cold or at ambient temperature 😋

The upcoming fall vegetable contest, picnic and recognition ceremony on Saturday, November 16th had gardeners eyeing potential contest entries.  Contest vegetables are selected for uniformity:

contest cukeUnfortunately this prize specimen needed to be harvested immediately.

The contest also features a “silly vegetable” contest which encourages atypical vegetables:

cuke 2Hmmmm 🤔 a possible entry………

Young gardeners also hunted down damaging cabbage loopers on the cole crops:

looper eggsLooper eggs were nipped in the bud.  Adult cabbage loopers turn into brown moths with sucking mouths.

Controlling looper eggs amounts to squishing the eggs gently on the back of the leaves.  More squeamish gardeners gloved up prior to smashing:

bug prepEmerging larvae can also be controlled with BT sprays.

Baby lettuces were carefully weeded and if necessary reseeded:

baby lettucesBy next week these tender leaves will form a delicious composed salad…..

The salads of tomorrow are the seeds of today…………

,

Anne Marie S.

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

You have to get up and plant the seed and see if it grows, but you can’t just wait around, you have to water it and take care of it.
           

-Bootsy Collins

Therein lies the rub. The vigilant scarecrows took care of the chore of waiting around.  But tending seedlings and young plants struggling in the erratic fall weather is challenging work for even the most determined young gardener:

determinedScarecrows are a fixture in the Texas fall garden.  Our Master Gardener friends in Cherokee county even hold an annual Scarecrow Trail every October.

The emerging carrots were gingerly weeded to avoid pulling up the tiny roots:

carrot seedlings
Did you know the carrot tops are edible as well?  A favorite way to eat them is emulsified with olive oil, salt and a small amount of cheese to make a delicious pesto.

Larger leaves of Chinese cabbage were harvested from the outsides of the plants for a trip to the soup pot.  These spectacular cold-loving plants are a boon to any kitchen garden.  Tiny cilantro planted in week five was just poking up in the foreground:

Chinese cabbageVarieties of Chinese cabbage include Brisk Green, Jade Pagoda, Michihili and Monument. More information on cultivating these cole crops can be found on the Texas Agrilife website.  

Although the temperatures were cooler, the cold dry air really dried out the plots.  Thorough watering remained a priority:

water valveThe science of irrigation is so important to successful agriculture it ranks an entire school at Texas A&M !

Under the big tent the JMG class was briefed on the benefits of vermicomposting:

vermicompostingWorm composting is an excellent method to turn a languishing compost pile into rich dark humus, improving the soil structure and assisting in root growth which prevents erosion.

What other beneficial bugs have you seen in your compost pile at home?

 

Enjoy the creature comforts,

Anne Marie S.

Children’s Vegetable Garden Program (CVGP) Week 8, October 26, 2019

Hi Friends!

It’s the spookiest time of year in the Children’s Vegetable Garden! Today was a beautiful (and CHILLY day) in the garden. One of the most popular JMG presentations was scheduled for today – keeping honeybees with James Bills! Take a look at some pictures from the presentation:

Our garden is looking amazing – these young gardeners have done an excellent job in seeding, transplanting, feeding and generally nurturing their plots. Take a look at our families in action…

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We’ve got a lot of very important tasks for our young gardeners to take care of today:

  • Snapdragons: Hand water and fertilize all four of the plants with one cup of granular fertilizer.

  • Broccoli/Kale/Cabbage/Cauliflower: Fertilize each of these plants with one cup of granular fertilizer. Pour the fertilizer in a circle around the stem. Pay attention where the outermost leaves of each plant are in relation to the stem – pour the fertilizer directly under the outermost leaves, without actually getting fertilizer on the leaves. We do this so that we are feeding the spot where the roots are growing, not feeding the roots at the stem. CHECK FOR BAD BUGS – caterpillars etc. Remove them with the help and direction of your garden leaders. Take a look: Screen Shot 2018-12-11 at 10.52.11 AM
  • Beans: Snip/pinch off discolored leaves, it’s time to tie up the beans like a little garden corral. Hand water your beans and be careful not to knock over any of your beans stems!!
  • Beets: Hand water your beets, be very careful not to knock over any sprouts. This is the last week to reseed any beets!
  • Chinese Cabbage: One thing we need to make sure is to not let these plants get overgrown! Each week we need to cut the bottom leaves off. Hand water this area as well, and smash any flea beetles you see – check one out below:Screen Shot 2019-11-17 at 5.11.02 PM
  • Cilantro: This is the last week to reseed!
  • Tomatoes: Fertilize each tomato plant with one cup of granular fertilizer – pour in a circle around plant out to where the leaves of the plant extend. Tie down any limbs with fruit – they’ll get heavy and can possibly break the limb.
  • Cucumber: Check your plants for fruit that is ready for harvest. Check out this goofball cucumber this week:IMG_8640 2
  • Radish: This is the last week to reseed – also check to make sure there is no root coming out of the soil. If so, please gently cover it up.
  • Yellow Squash: Pinch/snip off any brown or dead leaves. Also harvest any fruit ready for harvest. Hand water this area. Here is one growing fast! IMG_8634
  • Carrots: This is the last week to reseed!

We also took some time to have the kids release ladybugs in the plots. Gardeners love ladybugs, and not just because they’re adorable. It’s because ladybugs eat aphids!

That’s all for this week y’all. 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 7, October 19th, 2019

 

Agenda 7: Gardening Session #7

This is perfect weather to grow vegetables this week with some well needed rain!

Do you know all the life cycles of a Lady Bug?  Do you see different life stages on your cucumber plants?  Why are they helpful in the garden?  Each section will have two bags of Lady Bugs to release throughout their plots?  Simply open the bag and gently shake a few out here and there.  DO NOT shake any on your broccoli, Chinese cabbage, kale, cauliflower or cabbage plants.

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  • Your plot and walkways should be 100% weed free (especially spurge) before you leaving this morning. This includes removing weeds from underneath your plants, irrigation lines and the plots corners.  Some plots still have too many weeds visible?  Make sure you are pulling weeds and not your vegetable seedlings that have germinated.

Euphorbia maculata,	Prostrate Spurge

Applying a thin layer of mulch on your plots walkways will help reduce weed pressure.

  • Remove all bamboo stakes from your plots that are not needed.
  • Keep bringing material for our compost pile. Please make sure that the material that is brought this morning is covered.   Mary will assign someone close to the end of the day to address this need.
  • Most of all your seeds should be up by this morning? We will wait till next week to spot sow any vegetables that have not come up including cilantro, beets, lettuce, carrots and radishes.  This will be the last week to do so.

 

  • Broccoli/Kale/Head cabbage/Cauliflower: Check plants for caterpillars and properly relocate them with the help of your garden mentors. Remove any leaves from the bottom part of the plant that look yellow or brown.  Hand water this area real good. Plants will be treated at the end of today’s session with liquid Bt at the correct dilution rates per gallon of water.
  • Beans: Hand water this area real good, but take caution not to knock your plants over. Some plants look burnt?
  • Beets: Hand water this area real good, but take caution not to knock your plants over.
  • Chinese cabbage: Check plants for caterpillars and properly relocate them with the help of your garden mentors. Remove any leaves from the bottom part of the plant that look yellow or brown.  DO NOT let these plants get overgrown.  Harvest/cut some of the bottom leaves to use in soups or a salad.   Hand water this area real good. Hand water this area real good. Plants will be treated at the end of today’s session with liquid Bt at the correct dilution rates per gallon of water.
  • Tomato plants: Gently tuck your plants to the inside of your cages; otherwise tie the branches to the cages with strips of plastic shopping bags. Gently remove any yellow leaves off your plants and any leaves touching the soil.  Hand water this area real good.
  • Cucumber: Some plants look burnt? Any cucumbers to harvest today?  Gently remove any yellow/brown leaves off your plants and any leaves touching the soil or blocking your radish plants.
  • Yellow squash: Hand water this area real good. Without damaging your plants, harvest all sizes of squash this morning as not to let them get overgrown by next week.
  • Carrots: Mini-Plot #2 and Lettuce: Mini-Plot #3

How does the area look?

  • Make sure that your irrigation lines in your plot are 100% unclogged. Correctly water your plot real well before leaving today.
  • Treat all ants before leaving today and DO NOT leave any flags throughout the garden.

 

  • Please do not return any dirty tools to the Tool Shed. It’s everyone’s responsibility to keep that area clean!

 

 

Children’s Vegetable Garden Program (CVGP) Week 6, October 12th, 2019

 

Agenda 6: Gardening Session #6

A special thanks goes out to our dedicated watering team in keeping our garden growing

and alive throughout the season from one Saturday to the next.  I hope everyone can agree on this as we all can see how beautiful everything looks this morning.

header-vegetable-garden

  • Your plot and walkways should be 100% free of weeds before leaving today. No spurge or any other weeds….
  • Remove all bamboo stakes from your plots that are not needed.
  • Keep bringing material for the compost pile. Discard any rocks or coarse material into the adjacent grassy area when screening the compost/soil too.
  • Have all your seeds germinated to date? If they haven’t, it’s because they were probably planted too deep.
  • Snapdragons: Cut all your plants back by about 20% if this was not done last week.  Make sure that all the plants are firmed in real well. Hand water this area real good. Fertilize around the four plants with one cup of organic granulated fertilizer.
  • Broccoli: Check plants for caterpillars and properly relocate them with the help of your Garden Mentors. Remove any leaves from the bottom part of the plant that look yellow or brown.  Fertilize around both plants with one cup of organic granulated fertilizer.  Do not get any fertilizer on the plants leaves or close to their crowns. Hand water this area real good.
  • Beans: Properly reseed any plants that have not emerged. Hand water this area real good, but take caution not to knock your plants over.
  • Beets: Some plots have many of their beets up already. If you do not see visible leaves up, then you probably planted them too deep.  Properly reseed any plants that have not emerged (plant them barely below the soil surface). Hand water this area real good, but take caution not to knock your plants over.
  • Chinese cabbage: Check plants for caterpillars and properly relocate them with the help of your Garden Mentors. Remove any leaves from the bottom part of the plant that look yellow or brown.  Start harvesting/cutting some of the bottom leaves to use in soups or a salad. Hand water this area real good.
  • Tomato plants: Gently tuck your plants to the inside of your cages; otherwise tie the branches to the cages with strips of plastic shopping bags. Fertilize the outer ring of your tomato cages as you did last week with one full cup of organic fertilizer per plant.  Keep a watchful eye for any bad insects on your plants. Gently remove any yellow leaves off your plants and any leaves touching the soil.  Hand water this area real good.
  • Cucumber: Any to harvest today? Gently remove any yellow leaves off your plants and any leaves touching the soil.
  • Yellow squash: After weeding this planted zone, fertilize around your four plants with one cup of organic fertilizer. Hand water this area real good.

Carrots

Three rows of carrot seeds will be sown in mini plot #2.

Before planting, apply one full cup of organic granulated fertilizer to this allocated planting area and scratch it in real well with the native existing soil.  Make sure that the area is nice and leveled after this first step.

Water the area in real, real good.

Proceed six inches away toward the tomato cage.

This will be the first row to direct seed the first group of 15 seeds.  Each seed should be planted 2-3 inches apart and barely below the soil surface.  The other two rows should be spaced 6 inches apart from one another and planted the same as the first row.

It’s best to lay out all the seeds before planting.

Gently push each seed barely below the soil.

Don’t forget your one plant tag.

Lettuce

Three rows of lettuce seeds will be sown in mini plot #3.

Before planting, apply one full cup of organic granulated fertilizer to this allocated planting area and scratch it in real well with the existing native soil.  Make sure that the area is nice and leveled after this first step.

Water the area in real, real good.

Proceed six inches away toward the tomato cage.

This will be the first row to direct seed the first group of 15 seeds.  Each seed should be planted 2-3 inches apart and at the soil surface.  The other two rows should be spaced 6 inches apart from one another and planted the same as the first row.

It’s best to lay out all the seeds before planting.

Gently push each seed in to have contact with the soil.

Don’t forget your one plant tag.

  • Make sure that your irrigation lines in your plot are 100% unclogged and that your plot is watered real well and correctly before leaving today.
  • All plants that are growing in your plots should have a light application of liquid Spinosad applied to them at the correct dilution rate after they have been fertilized and watered in real well.
  • Treat all ants before leaving today and DO NOT leave any flags throughout the garden

 

  • Please do not return any dirty tools to the Tool Shed. It’s everyone’s responsibility to keep that area clean!

 

 

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

Hello Friends!

We’re still struggling with the heat wave over here, but we can see the end! Any day now we’ll get cooler weather – we hope! 😉 This week we’re still meeting a bit early than the usual start time to stay as cool as possible.  IMG_4696

We had a busy workday today! Today was the last day to replace many of the plants if they didn’t take or thrive – snapdragons, kale, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower – and reseed the area with yellow squash or green beans if needed.

Another thing to remember is that we need to be on the lookout for BAD BUGS. One way to keep the bugs in check is to keep your eyes open for any evidence of cucumber beetles or any caterpillar damage. This could appear as holes in the leaves of your plants. Gently lift up the leaves of your plants – do you see anything on the backside? Carefully brush off the backside of the leaves – this will help control the hatching and feeding of any caterpillars. Take a look at what that could look like:

IMG_3758

This may look like dirt, but it’s probably aphids. Our awesome volunteers will be treating the plants with liquid spinosad.

Today our main goal is to get our cilantro and radish seeds measured and planted properly – we are seeding twenty cilantro seeds with 10 seeds each in 2 different areas as well as direct seeding ten radish seeds.

Pro tip – Don’t forget to tag your plants first!!

Cilantro Seeds: Plant seeds a minimum of six inches away from any other plants AND
six inches away from the edge of your beds. Water the area well before planting and gently push the seed barely below the soil surface. Boom, you’re done.

 

Radish:
Plant seeds six to eight inches away from the base boards of the plot and plant ten radish seeds just below the soil surface every two or three inches apart. Make sure the area is weed free and loosened up and leveled before sowing the seeds.

That’s it! That’s all you have to do to plant seeds. Easy peasy, my friends.

Another fun thing about the CVG is that you get to harvest what you’ve grown! All your hard work pays off in the end. Check out this young gardener and his awesome cucumber. Well done.

That’s all for today friends, remember to check back next week for more pictures and planting instructions!

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Children’s Vegetable Garden Program (CVGP) Week 4, September 28th, 2019

Friendly Reminders for Children, Parents and Volunteers:

  • If it is necessary to be absent, please send a family representative to help with these plot chores; especially if your child is unable to attend on a Saturday.
  • Start collecting material for the Junior Master Gardener Scarecrow Activity (October 12th). A list of materials will be attached to “Agenda 4” email.
  • Many of the plots are starting to get weedy inside them with spurge weed as well as their walk-ways. So please stay up on weeding as well as picking up any rocks, trash and other debris. Please continue to pull out any weeds such as palm trees when you are walking here and there throughout the garden.
  • Keep bringing your coffee grounds, disposable coffee filters, tea bags, egg shells, vegetable scraps to add to the compost pile.
  • Discard any rocks from the compost pile

Continue to cultivate the soil inside your plot that has nothing planted in it to a minimum depth of 4 inches with a 3/4 tine long-handled cultivator. This process does not only loosen up the soil, but also keeps weeds down. Make sure to break up any soil clogs and that your plot upon completion is nice and leveled by using an inverted garden rake. If extra soil is needed in your plot bring some from the backside of our pile after it has been sieved.

Today’s Plantings

Snapdragons

  • Use the irrigation on/off valve as a guideline. Your snapdragon plants will be planted in the first mini-plot between the front of the plot and the on/off irrigation valve.
  • Apply one cup of organic fertilizer to this area and make sure that the area is topped off with well blended soil.
  • Do not remove the transplants from the 6-pack until they have been thoroughly soaked.
  • All 6-pack transplants (tray and all) should be carefully pre-soaked in a bucket of water just above the soil line of the plants/cell pack, until all air bubbles stop coming out from the soil line.
  • Two plants should be evenly spaced and planted on each side of the irrigation line and about 4 inches away from the top and bottom of the plot. (A total of four plants will be planted.)
  • DO NOT remove the peat pot. Firm the plants in very well, but take caution not to break the main stem or damage any leaves.
  • Proceed by slowly watering your plant in with the water can a couple of times and don’t forget your plant tag.

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‘Baby’ Beet

  • Three rows of beet seeds will be sown in mini plot #1.
  • Proceed six inches away toward the tomato cage from the last row of bean seeds planted last week.
  • This will be the first row to direct seed the first group of 15 seeds. Each seed should be planted 2-3 inches apart and about a half an inch below the soil surface.
  • The other two rows should be spaced 6 inches apart from one another and planted the same as the first row.
  • Before planting, apply one full cup of organic granulated fertilizer to this allocated planting area and scratch it in real well with the native existing soil. Make sure that the area is nice and leveled after this first step.
  • It’s best to lay out all the seeds into their pre-made planting rows for proper spacing before any seeds get covered, planted and firmed in.
  • Water the area in after they have been planted and lightly press in any seeds that might be visible after watering.
  • Don’t forget your one plant tag.

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Chinese cabbage

  • 6-packs in there holding trays should be pre-soaked before planting
  • Do not remove the peat pot.
  • Plant plants at soil level and not any deeper and water in real well.
  • None of the peat pot should be visible after planting and watering as quite a few cabbage and cauliflower where last week.
  • Don’t forget your plant tag.

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‘Toscano’ Kale

  • 6-packs in there holding trays should be pre-soaked before planting
  • Space your plants out 12 inches away from the top and bottom inside of the plot and about 18 inches from each other.
  • Do not remove the peat pot.
  • Firm the plants in very well, but take caution not to break the main stem or damage any leaves.
  • None of the peat pot should be visible after planting and watering.
  • Don’t forget to put out your plant tag.

Fertilizer

Fertilize all your new and established plants with Hasta-Gro starter mix. Instructors will mix 1 oz. of Hasta-Gro with half of the water can, about 1 gallon of water (not full water can). Do not let any of the fertilizer get on the leaves, just on the soil around the plants.
Water Management
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Children’s Vegetable Garden Program (CVGP) Week 3, September 21st, 2019

Friendly Reminders for Children, Parents and Volunteers:

  • Make sure you are receiving the agenda
  • DO NOT walk on the garden beds
  • Pick up any trash or debris in walkways
  • Keep bringing your coffee grounds, disposable coffee filters, tea bags, egg shells, vegetable scraps to add to the compost pile.
  • Discard any rocks from the compost pile

How are your plants doing this morning?

Make sure you cultivate the soil in and around your plot that has nothing planted in it to a minimum depth of 4 inches with a four tine long-handled cultivator. This process will not only loosen up the soil, but also helps with weed control, and water, nutrition and oxygen uptake by the plants.

Slowly add and thoroughly mix into your existing native plot soil some screened soil/compost from our pile in the back of the browned fenced area at the planting area located at the very front of your plot where the on/off irrigation valve.

Is your cucumber properly trained and attached to its trellis?

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Are all your squash plants up this morning? If so, are they nice and healthy looking? Is any reseeding needed?
Gently rub the backside of your broccoli plants to control the hatching and feeding of any cabbage looper caterpillars. These plants and your newly planted cabbage and broccoli plants after they are watered real well today will be treated with liquid Spinosad.

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Pinch off any leaves of your tomato plants that are touching the ground.
Spread a fresh layer of mulch around each of your tomato plants as seen in the example plot. Do not put any excess soil or mulch up on the crown of your plants. The mulch is located outside of the front entrance of the garden. This process will tremendously help out are tomato plants with this heat.
Water all your plants in real well and lightly feed them with some liquid fertilizer before leaving today.

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Today’s Plantings

‘Cosmos’ Bush Beans

  • First apply one cup of organic granulated fertilizer and mix in with a cultivator
  • Next, wet the soil
  • Then, place each seed with proper spacing.
  • Beans will be planted in three rows each 6 inches apart.
  • Each seed should be planted 2-3 inches apart and about 1/2 inch below the soil surface
  • After, seed spacing is measured and seeds are placed, lightly press in the seeds.

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‘Snow Crown’ Cauliflower

  • 6-packs in there holding trays should be pre-soaked before planting
  • Do not remove the peat pot.
  • If the plants are too top heavy, plant your plants a little bit below the soil line or as deep as the first set of leaves (Mr. Mayer will confirm).
  • Firm the plants in very well, but take caution not to break the main stem or damage any leaves as we did with last week’s broccoli plants.
  • None of the peat pot should be visible after planting and watering.
  • Don’t forget your plant tag.

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‘Cheers’ Head Cabbage

  • 6-packs in there holding trays should be pre-soaked before planting
  • Space your plants about 18 inches from each other.
  • Do not remove the peat pot.
  • If the plants are too top heavy, plant your plants a little bit below the soil line or as deep as the first set of leaves (Mr. Mayer will confirm). Firm the plants in very well, but take caution not to break the main stem or damage any leaves.
  • None of the peat pot should be visible after planting and watering.
  • Don’t forget to put out your plant tag.

Fertilizing

Starter Solution: Fertilize all your new and established plants with Hasta-Gro starter mix. Instructors will mix 1 oz. of Hasta-Gro with half of the water can, about 1 gallon of water (not full water can). Do not let any of the fertilizer get on the leaves, just on the soil around the plants.

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Children’s Vegetable Garden Program (CVGP) Week 2, September 14, 2019

“The greatest fine art of the future will be the making of a comfortable living from a small piece of land.”                

– Abraham Lincoln

The second session took off with a bang as the (now seasoned) gardeners got an early jump on the heat.  Vital to gardening success in the high temperatures was cultivating the soil in each plot to alleviate the compacted earth.  This served to loosen up the soil as well as help with weed control, water, nutrition and better oxygen uptake by the roots of the plants:

replacement tomatoesValley Cat and BHN968 tomato plants stood waiting to serve as replacements where needed.

Cucumber plantings for week two were quite delicate but careful handling and attention promoted excellent chances of success.  This tender cucumber plant had a head start in the example plot on week 1:

example cukeSweet slice cucumbers have proven themselves a gardening favorite in South Texas.

Green Magic Broccoli is always a garden star.  Young plants were positioned 18 inches apart and firmed in well:

broccoli plantingAs the fall season progresses the broccoli stems will be “dirted up” with additional soil.

Higher math was required for planting ‘Gold Star’ Yellow Summer Squash!  Gardeners carefully measured the seed spacing and used bamboo stakes to mark the placement of each seed prior to planting.  The first seed was spaced 18” from the inside middle of the plot toward the cucumber trellis. Then two seeds were designated for planting 12” apart high and low from the first seed. The fourth seed was to be planted 18” away from the first seed:

planting squashEach squash seed was gently planted just below the surface with its point facing up.  Soil was firmed on the top and seeds were lightly watered in. 

Yellow squash are a versatile mainstay of the South Texas kitchen.  This simple salad recipe is perfect as a side dish or a main course in the heat of the summer.

Elsewhere in the garden our valiant veterans of the compost pile carried on unperturbed:

compost vetereansKitchen scraps, grass clippings, dry leaves, manure and saw dust are all excellent additions to a compost pile.

The photographer found a little respite from the heat in the shade with these spectacular petunias:

petuniasBachelor buttons at the far end of the plot were still relishing the sunshine.

 

A comfortable living from a small piece of land does not come without some sweat equity……. no false advertising about the labors of gardening but they are infinitely rewarding.

Scrub under your nails,

Anne Marie S.

 

 

Children’s Vegetable Garden Program (CVGP) Week 1, September 7, 2019

Hi Friends!

Well, our fall garden is underway, and lemme tell you – it’s HOT. We’re looking forward to cooler weather hopefully very soon, but for now, we sweat!

Time for tomatoes!! Tomatoes are a great fall plant – they do well here in South Central Texas during the fall. This week we planted BHN 968 Tomatoes (AKA “Dwarf Cherry Surprise” and Valley Cat Tomatoes.

First off, let’s make sure we have what we need:

  • It’s important to make sure that each tomato has a nice, sturdy cage (see demo pic above)
  • It’s also important to fertilize the soil before you plant with granular fertilizer. One cup in the center of each tomato cage.

Once you have all the prep done, dig a wide and deep planting hole in the middle of the tomato cage. Fill the pre-dug hole with water a few time, and carefully remove the tomato from it’s container. The plant’s root system should be even with the soil grade or slightly higher. Backfill the hole but take care to not get any soil on the leaves – especially the lower leaves. Once you fill the hole and make sure none of the roots are visible, pinch off any leaves that are touching the ground. Make a water ring around the plant (see pic above) and water it thoroughly twice or so to help the soil settle in. Easy peasy!

 

Once your newly planted tomatoes are in, make sure to fertilize AGAIN with liquid Hasta-Gro – 1oz of liquid Hasta-Gro to one gallon of water. One thing you should remember though: make sure you’re watering your plants during the week too. We have a dedicated group of amazing volunteers that come out to the garden during the week to water. The best way to figure out if you need to water? Put your finger in the soil around the plant. If the soil feels dry, then you should water. This heat will eat up your plant if you let it.

That’s all we planted in the garden this week! Make sure you check back next week for more awesome Fall South Texas planting directions!!