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.”

Click above for complete article

Week 8 – Transplanting (video)

Transplanting involves moving a plant from one place to another as well as planting seedlings that were started from seed at a different locale. The secret of successful transplanting is not to disturb the roots. Use a trowel (or hand shovel) for small plants and seedlings and a regular sized shovel for larger plants.

First thing you want to do is to dig a hole where the plant will grow, then dig up the plant to be moved trying to get as much soil around the roots of the plant as your tool will allow. Lastly, water well and often till the plant is established.

School Garden News – Oregon

Hamlin Garden Keeps on Growing

Jared Pruch, director of the School Garden Project, visited Hamlin’s garden this summer and said the site is “a great example” of what can be accomplished.

Hamlin is one of four Springfield schools that belong to the School Garden Project, a grassroots nonprofit group that provides training and support to member schools.

“We really think being able to connect kids to the food they eat is an important part of their education,” Pruch says.

Week 7 – Seedlings, Trellis

Everything we planted with the exception of potatoes have germinated. As we observe our seedlings bursting forth notice how certain family members look similar. The following are from the Amaranthaceae family, the red seedling is a beet the other is swiss chard.

Beet Seedling

Beet Seedling

chard-seedling

Swiss Chard Seedling

For those growing peas be sure to set a trellis in place before they germinate. A trellis is any structure that supports a climbing plant. It can be as simple as a stick in the ground or as elaborate as an artistic sculpture.

School Garden News – Wisconsin

Garden of Earthly Delights at Midvale

About 80 kindergarten through second-grade students at Midvale used pint-sized shovels Monday to help finish a tree-planting project begun during the weekend. It’s part of a brand-new community orchard at their school, the final step in developing a garden for the community at the west side school.

“The last part of the landscape plan for the garden called for an edible border, so I checked out what might be available on the Internet,” said Nancy Gutknecht, one of the organizers of the community garden at Midvale.

She learned that a California-based nonprofit organization called the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation provides grants for planting orchards all over the world where there is a need.
Those orchards provide fresh fruit as part of a healthy diet and lessons in environmental sustainability.

“I sent the foundation an e-mail, and they were interested in our school project. It seemed too good to be true, but it’s gone so smoothly,” Gutknecht said.

Read more about The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation

Week 6 – Thinning

Now that our seeds have begun to germinate (yeah!) it is time to discuss thinning. Thinning is the term we use to mean the removal of some plants to make room for others to grow. If plants are overcrowded they will compete for light and moisture and appear spindly and weak. To demonstrate, place two students back to back and ask if they would like to live the rest of their lives like that. Plants, like people, need ample room to develop.

To properly thin seedlings first select the largest and healthiest looking seedlings to keep, then grasp the seedlings next to it as close to the ground as possible and slowly and gently pull the plant out of the soil trying your best not to disturb the roots of the remaining plants. For small seedlings, use a scissor and snip the seedling off at ground level. This works very well with seedlings like carrots and lettuce. The back of the seed packet will tell you how far to space your seedlings apart, however with many vegetable plants like lettuce, arugula, spinach, and beets, thin your plants gradually and eat your thinnings as you go.