Week 12 – Happy Thanksgiving

We are thankful for our harvest of tasty greens and radishes. They will be great additions to our Thanksgiving meal. Anyone who wanted got to take home bagfuls of: lettuce, spinach, arugula, beets greens, swiss chard, mizuna, tatsoi, mustard, pak choi, cilantro and radishes.
Beet Greens

Cilantro

Asian Greens (pak choi, mizuna, mustard, tat soi, and kale)

Spinach

Swiss chard

School Garden News – California

School Gardening Hits its Stride

“Studies commissioned by the California Department of Education cite a direct correlation between school garden programs and positive impacts on children’s health and academic achievement.”

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Week 11 – Mulching

Mulching is one of the simplest and most beneficial practices you can use in the garden. Mulch is simply a protective layer of a material that is spread on top of the soil. Mulches can either be organic — such as grass clippings, straw, bark chips, and similar materials — or inorganic — such as stones, brick chips, and plastic.
Both organic and inorganic mulches have numerous benefits:
Protects the soil from erosion;
Reduces compaction from the impact of heavy rains;
Conserves moisture, reducing the need for frequent waterings;
Maintains a more even soil temperature;
Prevents weed growth;
Keeps fruits and vegetables clean;
Keeps feet clean, allowing access to garden even when damp;
Provides a “finished” look to the garden.

Organic mulches also improve the condition of the soil. As these mulches slowly decompose, they provide organic matter which helps keep the soil loose. This improves root growth, increases the infiltration of water, and also improves the water-holding capacity of the soil. Organic matter is a source of plant nutrients and provides an ideal environment for earthworms and other beneficial soil organisms.

One method of mulching is to lay down a layer of newspaper and then cover with compost. One can do this on pathways as well as between rows in our vegetable beds. Compost can then be turned under for our spring planting providing an excellent source of plant nutrients.

Week 10 – Pests (The Dreaded Cabbage Worm)

It had to happen sooner or later, though I was hoping it would be later. A pest has found our broccoli and cabbage. This is what the damage looks like

cabbage worm damage

This is the culprit, the dreaded cabbage worm

cabbage worm

And this is the cure-
BT, short for Bacillus thuringiensis, is a beneficial bacteria that can also be found under the trade names, Dipel and Thuricide. BTcan be used as an organic pesticide by mixing with water and applied to the underside of the plant leaves. Several applications are advised. The following diagram courtesy of Abbott Laboratories shows BT in action.

School Garden News – Malta

Typical Maltese Garden Opened

…Seeks to nurture increased environmental awareness amongst children…Minister Pullicino praised the children who helped during the construction of this garden.

He lauded the success of the Eko-skola, that aims at mobilising schools to empower students to adopt an active role in environmental in their school and community. This project sees the participation of 25,000 primary school students from 54 schools. He added that discussions are underway to include secondary school children in this project.

Complete article click title above

Week 9 – Weeds, First Harvest

First the good news, we’ve begun harvesting our radishes. See how they pop out of the soil We’re also getting the first first of our mixed greens (arugula, tat soi, mizuna and mustard). When harvesting greens pick the outer leaves and let the inner ones continue growing. This way we can harvest over a longer period. If any one is keeping score it took five weeks from seed to harvest.

Weeding
The bane of any garden are the plants that grow where we don’t want them to. That is the definition of a weed. Some so called weeds like purslane, mint and fennel are actually edibles that without careful attention become quite invasive.

The best method for weeding is to get them while they’re young. Pull out the entire plant including roots so they won’t be able to grow back. A mild watering beforehand will make the task a little easier.

School Garden News – California

School Gardens Take Root in L.A.
California School Garden Network and Network for a Healthy California – Los Angeles Unified School District, in partnership with Western Growers, the California Instructional School Garden Program and the UC Cooperative Extension’s Common Ground Program hosted a “Growing Healthy with School Gardens” – a school garden resource fair in Los Angeles.

The Oct. 6 resource fair was at Harmony Elementary School in Los Angeles from 8 a.m. to noon. Western Growers provided free, fresh fruit and vegetable snacks at the event. Additionally, more than 30,000 seedlings were available for teachers who are interested in launching or enhancing their own school garden.

California Secretary of Agriculture, A.G. Kawamura, addressed the teachers and principals in attendance, speaking about the important role school gardens play on campus as “learning laboratories.”

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